Doctor's Note

Check out these videos for more about other food-borne illnesses:
Superbugs in Conventional vs. Organic Chicken
Norovirus Food Poisoning from Pesticides
Foster Farms Responds to Chicken Salmonella Outbreaks
Is Meat Glue Safe?
MRSA Superbugs in Meat
Ciguatera Poisoning & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
C. difficile Superbugs in Meat

This continues the brain theme from Avoiding Cholesterol is a No Brainer. See also Avoiding Epilepsy Through Diet, which highlights how even those who abstain from pork may be at risk (i.e., if Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn can get pork tapeworms, anyone can get pork tapeworms).

For more context, also check out my associated blog posts: the first month, and Contagion: bad timing for CDC report of new swine flu strain.

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  • Michael Greger M.D.

    This continues the brain theme from Thursday’s Avoiding Cholesterol is a No Brainer. Tomorrow’s video will highlight how even those who abstain from pork may be at risk (i.e. if Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn can get pork tapeworms, anyone can get pork tapeworms).

  • So you tell us about it but not how to get rid of them!!

    • Michael Greger M.D.

      Elaine: All you need is Dr. Greger’s Patented Worm-Away® for 3 easy installments of $19.95.

      Just kidding! :)

      I will address medical and surgical options in tomorrow’s video. Sorry I’m keeping you in suspense! I’ve been told by my web guru friends that I should never make a video longer than 2 minutes because people evidently won’t watch it? So that’s why sometimes I split a single topic into multiple videos.

      Of course the best answer to your question is by not getting it in the first place. 28 grams of prevention is worth 0.45 kilograms of cure :) More on this tomorrow–thank you so much for tuning in. Watch more videos on foodborne parasites here.

      • JJ

        re: “…I should never make a video longer than 2 minutes because people evidently won’t watch it?”

        That’s just silly!! I forwarded one of the longer videos (I think it was 5 minutes) to a friend and she watched it without it being an issue. Your videos are so fascinating that people get hooked quickly. You may have to hook people very quickly, but after that, the length of the video is irrelevant. Well, maybe 1 hour is too long for the web…

        Please don’t skimp on information based on the 2 minute advice. If you make people have to click onto several different pages to watch multiple videos on the same topic, that is going to be much more of a detriment to getting the information out there than having a single longer video.

        That’s my 2 cents. No scientific studies to back it up though. :-)

        • Michael Greger M.D.

          I found mention of this “study” which suggests 90 seconds–yikes!

  • ladeevee

    I’m with you, Elaine. Tell us now how to get rid of them, please.

    • Michael Greger M.D.

      Thank you for your question ladeevee–please see my response to Elaine above.

  • ladeevee

    Please tell us what are other potential sources for the tapeworms?

    • Michael Greger M.D.

      I believe the three most common tapeworms are from pork (Taenia solium), fish (Diphyllobothrium species), and beef (Taenia saginata).

  • Shake your head vigorously for several minutes 1-2 times a day :-D

  • trinex3

    you have a computer… research this condition and educate yourself on how to eliminate this condition

    start here:

    • Michael Greger M.D.

      There is a 2010 update but unfortunately it’s not free (open access).

  • sylvia

    Tapeworms happen only when the meat is not well cooked or is there still a risk even well cooked?

    • Michael Greger M.D.

      There are two primary methods of transmission, sylvia: 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.

  • tara

    The other white meat indeed!

  • Scott

    Wow, this is incredible scary! Is there any evidence that eating a vegetarian diet can inhibit the growth of these tapeworms?

    Thanks for this website! It is a huge helpful daily reminder to kept on track with the vegetarian lifestyle!

  • Eduardo Prada

    A question: how to get cysticercosis? From vegetables that received pork wast OR eating pork meat?

  • Southlander

    I’m rather confused – happens more often lately – but I thought that (1) pork tapeworms, for the most part were gone from our food supply and (2) tapeworms lived in the stomach rather than in the brain. :-))

    • Akiko

      A majority of worms migrate thowards all other organs once they have reached a community of a large number. One simple reason is that they don’t have enough space in the intestine, and because they need more “food”. That is why they are called parasites, they eventually eat the host alive, or killed it through organ failure, if the host cannot keep up with their food demand. Another reason why some people eat like crazy.

  • Elley77

    I quit eating pork years ago when I found how nasty it truly is. I still ate beef chicken and eggs. Now im more into the vegetarian life style. but after watching this I don’t think I want to eat at food places any more. I don’t want worms in my brain yuck

  • Malin Bratvold Amsrud

    I am a 26 year old woman from Norway.
    you please give me some advice on how to proceed in testing for
    Neurocysticercosis, and also treating it. Can it come from other sources
    as well?

    I suffer from the symptoms you mentioned in an article I read.
    I also have MCS and severe chronic fatigue. Could this all be related?

    Hoping for your very soon reply

    Kind Regards
    Malin B.A.