Tapeworms on the brain


35 Responses to “Tapeworms on the brain”

  1. Mantissa128 says:

    Gah… argh… eeeewwww.

    [looks at cereal]

  2. Maverick says:

    Maggie, if that’s a fun fact, I’m really dreading the bummer ones.

  3. zpss says:

    Maggie, we know very well why ingested tape worm eggs never turn into full adults.  Tapeworm eggs hatch into juveniles, which invade muscle tissue.  Later, when the host is eaten, the encysted juveniles mature into adult tapeworms which occupy the intestines.  This is their normal life cycle, not some unknowable quirk.  Can I recommend that you listen to This Week in Parasitism, hosted by the inventor of vertical farms, Dickson Despommier? It is easily the best podcast in all existence, and will have you falling in love with tapeworms by the end of if.

  4. So… scratch that one off the diet list.

    • CH says:

      Yeah… not that it ever was on my list, but yeah… scratch it off… no, burn it off!!!

      “The National Institutes of Health classifies neurocysticercosis as the leading cause of epilepsy worldwide, and the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that tapeworms infect 50 million people globally. The CDC says an estimated 1,900 people are diagnosed with neurocysticercosis within the United States yearly.”

      Say whaaaaat???? Leading cause of epilepsy worldwide??? 1,900 cases of neurocysticercosis a YEAR in the US???? Ewwwww… but as a leading cause of epilepsy, how isn’t there more noise about this? (I assume because it is in non-first-world-countries mostly.)

  5. jkonrath says:

    Well, this certainly made me stop thinking about 9/11 and start freaking the fuck out about something else.

  6. Paul Coleman says:

    This is not a wonderful thing.

  7. pebird says:

    I can’t use my neti pot, and now I can’t eat my breakfast.

  8. colin says:

    Where’s my !@$#ing unicorn? 

  9. Jorpho says:

    To be clear: the picture above is of post-op stitching and not of a worm bulging beneath the skin, right?

  10. chaopoiesis says:

    During the course of a natural lifecycle, the proglottids are discarded through their host’s anus. A family member, friend or restaurant cook infected with an adult tapeworm can secrete tens of thousands of tapeworm eggs daily, which can be easily ingested by others.

    I’m having trouble seeing the “easily”.

    • snowmentality says:

      The infected person doesn’t wash their hands properly after using the bathroom, so the eggs are still on their hands when they do something like make you a sandwich. Same way GI viruses are easily transmitted.

      (And yet, probably 90% of people I see in public restrooms don’t wash their hands with soap. Most people just run their hands under the water for a second and go.)

  11. angusm says:

    As FDR put it, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. Also, tapeworms laying eggs in our brains.”

    I’d like to believe that this is as bad as it gets, but if I say anything to that effect Maggie will discover some kind of parasite that hatches in your sinuses, emerges from your eyeball, climbs down your face and eats your tongue before laying its eggs in your lungs. And I don’t want to hear anything about that one, understand? 

  12. James Penrose says:

    Apparently whoever is in charge of “intelligent design” is a right bastard to create stuff like this.

  13. millie fink says:

    So vegetarians can’t get tapeworms?

    • Not that I’ve ever regretted it, but now I’m REALLY glad to be a vegetarian…

    • CH says:

      You can get the eggs through somebody who has an infection (for instance, doesn’t clean their hands properly after going to the bathroom and then prepares the food you eat). But these would only become larvae (the ones discussed here in the article).

      You would probably be protected from eating the larvae cysts, which would then grow into an adult tapeworm (the long thingy you usually see pictured).

  14. Halloween_Jack says:

    Look up Nightmare Fuel at tvtropes.org sometime. You’re welcome.

  15. fiatrn says:

    Ahh neurocysticercosis… a somewhat common finding at my old ER when we would CT scan trauma patients.  Maybe not once per weekend, but once per month seems a reasonable memory.  It was much much more common in the Mexican immigrant population, which always made us wonder about diet & cooking habits in people’s home towns.  Most anitbiotics kill the larvae, but as the article notes, the scarring seems just as or more causal to the seizures (what a terrible sentence, but I can’t seem to finesse the grammar tonight).  One friend always claimed it was mostly from undercooked pork, but I never saw research that honed in on a particular food vector.

    The FiatRN
    Denver, CO  

  16. benher says:

    Remember when this used to be a blog of “wonderful things?”

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