United States: man lived for 20 years with dead worm in his brain

the essential A 38 year old man had suffered frequent epileptic seizures for many years in the United States. Doctors have finally found the cause of the illness. He had lived for twenty years with a dead tapeworm in his brain.

The story is both frightening and incredible. For twenty years an American has suffered from frequent epileptic seizures. An umpteenth crisis leads him to the Boston hospital where the doctors make him undergo a battery of examinations. The verdict is in: they diagnose neurocysticercosis. In other words, an infection of the central nervous system caused by … the larvae of a tapeworm.

The CT scan establishes that the patient suffers from three brain lesions and larval cysts of a tapeworm. The tapeworm in many parts of the brain was long dead but it was still responsible for triggering the seizures, said Massachusetts general hospital director of global infectious diseases Edward T. Ryan. “The infection was long gone but part of the brain was scarred and it was this scarred area that led to seizures,” he explained in the Washington Post . This man’s case was detailed this week in the New England Journal of medicine .

How did the worm get into the brain?

The origin of the identified evil then arises the question: how could a tapeworm enter the brain? According to doctors, the man likely ate a meal prepared by someone who already had a tapeworm. The tapeworm was subsequently able to pass through muscles and tissues to reach the central nervous system. Symptoms for the patient: headache, pain or convulsions.

This disease is found mainly in Guatemala where the patient has lived. In this part of the world, diseases linked to parasites are endemic.

The patient is cured

Today, the patient is finally cured. Doctors prescribed anti-epileptic drugs, antiparasitic drugs, and inflammatory medication. He was in the hospital for five days.

As the site Pourquoidocteur.fr reminds us, neurocysticercosis can seriously damage organs of the human body such as the eye, heart or spinal cord.

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