Transcript: Pork Tapeworms on the Brain
The most common cause of adult-onset epilepsy in the world is called neurocysticercosis, which literally means pork tapeworms curled up inside our brain.
A review last year out of the Mayo Clinic describes the problem. “Cysticerci [meaning the pork tapeworm larvae] create cavities in the human brain and other body tissue where their tiny bodies grow sometimes into tapeworms two to seven meters in length and can live up to 25 years in the human body.” Seven meters means 23 feet long.
On MRI, so called “wormholes” appear.
On CT scan, there can be so many in the brain at one time, it can appear “similar to a starry sky…Each star is a fluid filled cyst with the beginning of a living, growing tapeworm inside.”
This is what they look like on autopsy.
This is what their face looks like. They have these rings of hooks to grab onto our brain tissue.
Earlier this year, a review was published by the CDC on the public health implications of cysticercosis acquired in the United States. “[Pork tapeworms on the brain] has emerged as a cause of severe neurologic disease in the United States.”
Even after pork tapeworm larvae infect our brain, “some people…remain asymptomatic their entire lives…, while others [can go for years without symptoms, and] then suddenly become very ill with seizures, headaches, and other focal neurological deficits as the larvae multiply within the nervous system…and other tissue[s],” and “can cause sudden death” just due to the pressure buildup in the brain.
To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Dianne Moore.
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