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The presence of a dead tapeworm in a man's brain caused him to speak gibberish and experience seizures.

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  • Tip Bones

The parasite had most certainly been living in his head for decades.

A 38-year-old guy from Boston was admitted to the hospital after experiencing inexplicable seizures. According to a new case report, he had been living with a dead tapeworm in his brain for years.

After her husband slipped out of bed, began shaking, and "spoke gibberish" in the middle of the night, the man's wife called the police. According to the complaint, when the rescue arrived, the man was "combative" and "disoriented," and he refused to get into an ambulance.

He suffered another mysterious seizure when he arrived at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. It was unclear what was causing the seizures because he had no prior history of them or any linked diseases.

Doctors at the hospital administered medication to treat the man's seizures and performed different tests on him. Brain scans found swelling and three lesions in his brain, both of which are symptoms of neurocysticercosis, a parasite illness that can cause seizures, migraines, and even death.

Ingesting the eggs of pig tapeworms (Taenia solium) in undercooked or diseased pork infects people with the parasite. These eggs can then hatch in the body, transform into larvae, and migrate throughout the body, including to the brain, where they create cysts.

 According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an infected person might spread the tapeworm if they do not properly wash their hands after using the restroom; if that person contaminates food or surfaces with their hands, others may contract the parasitic infection (CDC).

According to the CDC, pork tapeworm infections are more common in rural parts of underdeveloped countries where pigs roam freely and eat human faeces. However, over 1,000 persons are hospitalised in the United States each year for neurocysticercosis, the majority of whom have travelled to places where these tapeworms are more widespread.

According to the research, the patient in the case report relocated to Boston around 20 years ago from a remote part of Guatemala, where the condition is common.

"This gentleman was a little unusual, but not incredibly rare, in that his parasites were dead and calcified, and there had been no living parasite in his brain for one or two decades," study co-author Dr Edward Ryan, director of global infectious diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital, told The Washington Post.

 "The illness had long since passed, but part of his brain was injured – and that scarred portion was causing the seizures."

According to the Post, the parasites normally die in the body within five to ten years, but they can continue to produce inflammation, resulting in headaches, pain, and convulsions.

According to the report, the doctors treated the man with antiparasitic and anti-inflammatory medications and released him from the hospital five days later.

 According to the Post, the doctors followed up with the patient for the next three years, and the greatest lesion in his brain has shrunk. "He appears to be doing well," Ryan said to the Post. "The good news is that he is still doing well and is seizure-free."