Suffering from chronic migraines, he actually had worms in his brain

Suffering from chronic migraines, he actually had worms in his brain

Suffering from migraine for four months, a 52-year-old American man underwent medical imaging tests, which revealed the presence of larvae in his brain. The origin would be linked to the consumption of undercooked pork. Explanations from Dr Gérald Kierzek, emergency doctor and medical director of TipsForWomens.

Persistent migraines that turn out to be due to worms in the brain! This singular case is reported in an American scientific journal, American Journal of case reports.

White spots, visible on medical imaging

Victim of repeated migraines, a 52-year-old American consulted his doctor, who prescribed medical imaging tests. The man has a history of migraines, but also suffers from obesity and type 2 diabetes.

In the images, doctors were able to note the presence of white spots which turned out to be cysts, caused by tapeworm larvae, which is also called “tapeworm” or “beef tapeworm”.

This parasitic infection in the brain is what we call neurocysticercosis. explains Dr. Gérald Kierzek, emergency physician and medical director of TipsForWomens.

The patient received antiparasitic treatment for 14 days and saw his symptoms and lesions regress.

Consumption of undercooked pork

It remains to be understood how this infection could have taken place… The man assures that he has not traveled abroad, so doctors rule out contamination through this means. On the other hand, when asked about his diet, the man explains that he does not eat raw foods, but that he has “used to eating undercooked bacon for most of his life”. He therefore developed this neurocysticercosis through autoinfection, by eating this poorly cooked meat.

Neurocysticercosis can actually be transmitted by pork but also beef, when it is not well cooked.” confirms Dr. Gérald Kierzek, emergency physician and medical director of TipsForWomens. “To avoid contamination, it is essential to cook the meat thoroughlyat 60 degrees at least, for a few minutes” underlines the expert. “Contamination can also be avoided by freezing the meat for at least 10 days or by salting..

The authors wished to report this case, judging that “neurocysticercosis must be considered when an existing neuropathological condition presents a change in presentation or requires a change in therapeutic management, even in the absence of obvious risk factors“.

Neurocysticercosis is the infestation of muscle tissue by tapeworm larvae, a tapeworm, which instead lodges in muscles and skin tissue. However, rare but very serious complications occur when the larvae localize in the eye or the central nervous system.

In humans, this disease is almost always caused by eating poorly cooked pork. The animal is also affected by this disease. Indeed, cysticercosis in pigs appears when the animal ingests tapeworm eggs. By eating poorly cooked pork, humans by extension ingest the eggs that have become larvae, which will nestle mainly in the muscles of the body. We speak of human neurocysticercosis when the larvae, having invaded the central nervous system, trigger various symptoms including epileptic seizures.

Note that the disease is mainly present in developing countries or in regions where hygiene is in a precarious situation.