Worms found in a common food can go in your brain

Worms found in a common food can go in your brain

Worms found in a common food can go in your brain

News media outlet CNN recently reported a story related about “worms found in a common food can go in your brain”, and a patient who was infected by the worms.

These tapeworms are found in pork. Once you consume infected pork, the worms can invade all parts of the body, including the brain. U.K. doctors found one of these tapeworms in a man’s brain in 2013.

It had moved from one side of the brain to the other … very few things move in the brain,” said Dr. Effrossyni Gkrania-Klotsas about the worm in the man’s brain.

The patient had recently taken a trip to China, where the parasite Spirometra erinaceieuropaei is more common.

He had experienced headaches and other symptoms four years earlier, and was treated at Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge for these symptoms. He then had to come back to the hospital because of added symptoms.

When he reappeared, he had new symptoms,” said Gkrania-Klotsas. The worm was disturbing a different part of the brain, causing seizures and weak legs. The doctors found that his condition was Sparganosis, and had to remove the worm immediately.

These worms are pretty mysterious,” said geneticist Hayley Bennett from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, in Cambridge. Bennett and her team had recently studied and broken down the genome of the worm. “We know it has a very complicated life cycle.”

The patient was believed to have accidentally consumed water with the parasite in it, while swimming in a lake.

Which food to be extra careful with?

There are many types of tapeworms, but one main one to watch out for. “It’s mainly the pork tapeworm that’s the main brain one,” said Helena Helmby from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

The pork tapeworm is known as Taenia Solium. Humans can be infected by this worm through the consumption of undercooked pork, or through contact with feces of an infected pig or human. Infections can cause epilepsy.

Infections can be treated with antihelminthic drugs that target the worm.

Both Helmby and Gkrania-Klotsas believe that increased international travel and global food trade are causes for concern.

Food import and export is increasing and increasing risks of consuming infected goods,” said Helmby. She believes that food inspection needs to be more thorough in order to catch these worms and other infected foods.

“I’m confident there will be more of this in the future,” said Gkrania-Klotsas, who has seen patients infected without having traveled abroad. “People are getting infections without going anywhere.”

If health workers are ready for these infections, then the rise in these infections can be controlled. “We need to be able to treat these infections,” says Helmby. “That’s the challenge at the moment.”

Note: None of the information in our website is intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. The content on our website is for educational purposes only.

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1. “The Worms That Invade Your Brain.” CNN. Cable News Network, 20 Jan. 2015. Web. 09 Feb. 2015.
2. “Breaking: CNN- Worms Can Invade Your Brain from Eating This Common Food.” Health Nut News. Health Nut News, 20 Jan. 2015. Web. 09 Feb. 2015.
3. “The Genome of the Sparganosis Tapeworm Spirometra Erinaceieuropaei Isolated from the Biopsy of a Migrating Brain Lesion.” Genome Biology. Genome Biology, 21 Nov. 2014. Web. 09 Feb. 2015.
4. “Surgeons Remove Rare Tapeworm from Man’s Brain 4 Years after Infestation.” Fox News. FOX News Network, 20 Jan. 2015. Web. 09 Feb. 2015.

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