Doctors at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda have discovered that tapeworms could be living inside people’s brains. These could lead to the appearance of various diseases, the most dangerous being the neurocysticercosis.
Doctor Theodore Nash has captured that attention of scientists all over the world due to the recent discovery he has made in his office at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda. Nash has few patients to treat and yet, he never gets bored because the cases he sees are usually very difficult. Patients suffer from intense and very different symptoms. Some of them get one side of their bodies paralyzed; others end up partially blind, whereas others fall into comas.
Given the diversity of the symptoms, Nash performed numerous tests to determine the cause that might have led to all these affections. After repeated MRI scans the doctor observed that his patients presented blobs on their brains. Normally, these blobs would be interpreted as tumors, but Nash has discovered that they are not made out of the patient’s brain, that is, they are tapeworms.
Although people think that tapeworms live only in humans’ intestines, the researchers at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda have discovered that they can reside in the brain, as well. They explained that tapeworms live as larvae in large cysts in the beginning and they later on, develop into the ribbon-shaped parasites we know. While they are still in the form of larvae, tapeworms can travel to people’s brains leading to neurocysticercosis.
Theodore Nash told the press that they do not know how many people in the United States could be affected by this disease. Nevertheless, they estimate that around 1,500 to 2,000 people might have it. Researchers have performed tests around the world and they observed that the highest number of patients suffering from neurocysticercosis is in Latin America. There are cases in Africa and Asia, as well, but in Latin America figures show that between 11 million and 29 million have been infected with this disease.
Neurocysticercosis usually appears in people who live in poor places and lack good public-health systems. In order to prevent tapeworm larvae from getting into your brain, it is recommended that you go to regular medical checkups and take medication against internal parasites at least once a year.