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  • Michael Greger M.D.

    Check out the prequel to today’s video-of-the-day, Pork tapeworms on the brain, and please leave a comment if you have any questions for me about this important public health issue.

  • Hi Michael,

    Thanks for bringing up this important topic.
    Is it any easier way to check if you’re infected, like a blood-test?

    • Michael Greger M.D.

      Unfortunately the only ways to absolutely diagnose these brainworms is by taking a brain biopsy, actually seeing the head (scolex) of the tapeworm on CT scan or MRI , or direct visualization of the parasites behind your retina in the back of your eye with a fundoscopic examination (where we doctors shine a bright light in your eye).

      Now there are lesions as I showed in yesterday’s video-of-the-day highly suggestive of this disease, but neuroimaging studies are not without significant cost and risk. Bottom line is that if you’re experiencing neurological symptoms of any kind you should see your physician (or a neurologist) for a neurological exam and evaluation for further diagnostic testing.

      • Mark

        Dr. Greger. What’s the best way to drive them out? Epazote, wormwood, mullein?

  • Dante

    How does the parasite get onto the hands? From touching raw pork meat, or cooked meat also?

    Or do they eat infected pork meat and it some how oozes out into the hands? :)

    • Michael Greger M.D.

      There are two primary methods of transmission: eating the tapeworm eggs in undercooked meat or exposure to an infected person’s fecal matter (one of the reasons we should all wash our hands after using the restroom!). You don’t want to know how well food service workers wash their hands.

      • Dante

        WOW o_O

        That is disgustingly shocking! I’m going to be much more discerning as to where I go out to eat… hehe

  • Toxins

    After watching many of your videos i want to be tested for every ailment and contamination there is!

  • Elley77

    how would I be able to get tested for tape worm? would insurance cover it?

  • Yuri

    Does that mean that if the meat is well cooked you won’t get infected?

    • Susan

      Growing up in an Orthodox Judaism household taught my mother that even well cooked pork was dangerous and forbidden. Passed down was simply not to eat pork. Period.

  • My family and I have been living the plant-based lifestyle for two years. Occasionally, my kids (13 & 10 yrs.) come home from their friend’s houses talking about how they miss eating ham and bacon. I just showed this video as part of their health lesson. It’s official, they will never complain about not eating pork, again.

    THANK YOU!!!

  • sammie

    I had a seizure in Aug and another one in March. I have had an EEG, MRI and CT scan. They have not been able to find anything wrong with me … but I have been told that I need to take meds (with many side effects). I have also had my drivers licence taken away for at least 6 months because of the seizure, making me unemployable. I do not eat meat and try not to eat any animal products, although my family members do not do the same. Suggestions? What can I do? What can I ask the neurologist to have checked?

    • joeboosauce

      Hey Sammie, I don’t have any experience with this but happened to come across this video of a guy who had seizures a lot and switched to a fruitarian diet and says he is practically cured. Worht a look and good luck! Let me know if this helps and how it pans out if you try it.

  • Paullloski

    Hi Michael, I have a dilemer in that my mother is suffering from some form of photo sensitive epilepsy which no one seems to be able to sort out as the doctors she speaks to seem to know very little about it themselves. She can have a seizure from anything shiny or water sparkling or anything flickering making it almost impossible to use a computer or go out on a sunny day. She only started getting these after being prescribed drugs for her palpitations but the doctors are overlooking this fact and not really helping her. I keep trying to get her on to a completely plant based vegan diet as i think this will help but although she doesn’t eat much meat she does eat fish and eggs etc. Do you have any advice at all that might be able to help? Thank you so much. Paul

    • Jen Drost, PA-C, NF Volunteer

      Hi Paul, hope you don’t mind if I jump in. I think our good doc is up to his ears writing his new annual talk! Anyway, that is super disturbing to hear that these symptoms appear to be a side effect of a new medication :( Can you get a second opinion for your mom, perhaps with an Electrophysiologist (a special kind of Cardiologist who has expertise in palpitations and various treatments?) And YES, you are right on track that it might be helpful for your mom to increase her plant intake and decrease her fish intake. Diet can improve palpitations and irregular heart rhythms in general. Here’s one of my favorite Dr. G. pieces about diet and atrial fibrillation Hope this helps your mom!

  • DianneMower

    It appears the primary researched nutritional approach to supporting existing epilepsy sufferers is ketogenic diet. Clearly this would be healthier via a plant based diet but is it as effective or achievable at minimising fits?

  • maryjanebox

    Hi Dr.Greger!

    I really appreciate your videos and wanted to first say thank you. I love that they are science based and to the point. How convenient that they also support veganism!!

    I am dealing with generalized epilepsy, having mostly myoclonic jerks. I am right now taking medecines (topamax) and they seem to be not that bad compared to others (LOL). But I really really don’t want to rely on them long term because of the side effects and they also affect my energy levels a lot. I am pretty sure I don’t have tapeworms because I’ve had an MRI.

    I would really appreciate if you could help me with this, to be honest I’m not so sure where to look next, my doctor does not recommend me the ketogenic diet. I am looking into CBD oil but not sure yet. Is there anything I am missing to heal or at least control my epilepsy (through diet, lifestyle change)? I would be so thankful for any tips, videos and alternatives to conventional medicine regarding epilepsy.