Avoiding Epilepsy Through Diet

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Avoiding pork tapeworm parasites (cysticercosis) is not as easy as just avoiding pork.

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Another review last year confirmed that pork tapeworms taking residence inside our brains “is a significant public health issue within the United States.” At first, though, clinical diagnosis can be challenging. Initial presentations of the disease are often vague complaints like headaches, weakness, dizziness, high blood pressure.

In terms of treatment, in a series of more than a hundred cases published this year, although antiparasitic deworming drugs were found to be effective, about 10% of victims require brain surgery—what’s called an open craniotomy, where you have to go in and basically just dig ‘em out.

They can get into our muscles, too. This is an X-ray of someone’s leg, and you can see how infested the muscle is. And that’s why we can get it from pork—because it gets into muscles.

But what if you don’t eat pig muscles? Well, to all the smug non-pork-eaters out there, if we can find pork tapeworms in the brains of Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn, we can find pork tapeworms in anyone.

They weren’t sneaking off for schnitzel. It was their pork-eating domestic houseworkers preparing their food. When 1,700 members of the local synagogue were tested, 1% tested positive. The researchers suggested that those “to be employed as domestic workers or food handlers should be screened for tapeworm infection via examination of three stool samples for [tapeworm] eggs.”

So to avoid the #1 cause of adult-onset epilepsy, we may want to not eat pork, and not eat anything made by anyone who eats pork.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to Drs. J. Moskowitz & G. Mendelsohn, and Nick Oldnall

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Another review last year confirmed that pork tapeworms taking residence inside our brains “is a significant public health issue within the United States.” At first, though, clinical diagnosis can be challenging. Initial presentations of the disease are often vague complaints like headaches, weakness, dizziness, high blood pressure.

In terms of treatment, in a series of more than a hundred cases published this year, although antiparasitic deworming drugs were found to be effective, about 10% of victims require brain surgery—what’s called an open craniotomy, where you have to go in and basically just dig ‘em out.

They can get into our muscles, too. This is an X-ray of someone’s leg, and you can see how infested the muscle is. And that’s why we can get it from pork—because it gets into muscles.

But what if you don’t eat pig muscles? Well, to all the smug non-pork-eaters out there, if we can find pork tapeworms in the brains of Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn, we can find pork tapeworms in anyone.

They weren’t sneaking off for schnitzel. It was their pork-eating domestic houseworkers preparing their food. When 1,700 members of the local synagogue were tested, 1% tested positive. The researchers suggested that those “to be employed as domestic workers or food handlers should be screened for tapeworm infection via examination of three stool samples for [tapeworm] eggs.”

So to avoid the #1 cause of adult-onset epilepsy, we may want to not eat pork, and not eat anything made by anyone who eats pork.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to Drs. J. Moskowitz & G. Mendelsohn, and Nick Oldnall

Doctor's Note

Also check out these related videos:
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C. difficile Superbugs in Meat

Also check out today’s prequel video: Pork tapeworms on the brain.

For more context, also check out my associated blog post: Contagion: bad timing for CDC report of new swine flu strain.

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