Tapeworm In Brain: A ‘4-Inch Ribbon-Shaped’ Tapeworm Lived In Man’s Brain For 4 Years

A man had a tapeworm in his brain for four years, and doctors just discovered it. According to the New York Post, a 50-year-old Chinese man living in the U.K. went to the doctor back in 2008, and complained about nasty headaches. He also was suffering from more alarming symptoms like seizures and memory loss, but doctors didn’t see much on the MRI’s straight away. In fact, it took years for them to notice something that appeared to be a lesion kept moving around, as evidenced by the photo above. Over the course of four years, the man was tested for almost everything from HIV to Lyme disease to syphilis, but nothing checked out.

“Multiple tests and scans were inconclusive, but a series of MRI images over the course of four years showed that brain lesions had migrated at least two inches. A biopsy caught the culprit,” reported the Los Angeles Times.

The tapeworm in the man’s brain was removed and has been studied by physicians.

“During a biopsy they actually pulled out a small globular object and the pathology department identified it as a worm. It was inside his brain, and the MRI scans showed lesions where the worm was. They actually moved from one hemisphere of the brain to the other, over four years,” explained the study’s lead author, Hayley Bennett of the Sanger Institute.

The man is said to be doing better, but is still having symptoms from the infection. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, the tapeworm grew from one centimeter to five centimeters over the course of time. In regard to how the man might have contracted the tapeworm infection, there are a few possibilities.

“Some means of coming into contact with the parasite are eating crustaceans that are infected, ingesting raw meat form an amphibian or reptile, or using a frog poultice to cure sore eyes, a popular Chinese remedy,” the Inquisitr reported.

Tapeworms in the brain or other parts of the body are still a pretty rare occurrence.

“Taeniasis is under-reported in a significant portion of the world because diagnosis is difficult in resource-poor settings. The number of new cases in the U.S. each year is probably less than 1000, but an exact number is not known,” reports the CDC. There have been less than 300 cases in the U.K. since the 1950s.

[Photo courtesy of Nagui Antoun / Addenbrooke Hospital, NHS via the Los Angeles Times]