Brain Parasites

Author: Brander Sattler

From: East Meadow, NY, USA

Did you ever think that your dog can kill you? What about the meat you are eating? More than 30 million Americans are infected with brain parasites, and these infections are often caused by your cat or by eating contaminated meat. Since your brain is your most important organ, I recommend learning more about brain parasites below.


Neurocysticercosis


Cysticercosis is a parasitic brain infection that is caused by the ingestion of the eggs of the tapeworm Taenia solium. These eggs can be ingested through contaminated meat and the feces of people who already have a Taenia solium tapeworm. When the tapeworm eggs enter the body, secretions in the stomach cause the eggs to hatch into larvae. These larvae enter the bloodstream and are distributed to all parts of the body, causing cysticercosis. When the larvae infect the brain and spinal cord specifically, that causes neurocysticercosis. The symptoms of neurocysticercosis can be pretty scary, with the most common symptoms being headaches and seizures. In addition to those, lack of balance, confusion, and even excess fluid around the brain (hydrocephalus) can result from this disorder. If this disorder is not treated, it can be lethal.


Neurocysticercosis is the most common parasitic brain infection in the Western Hemisphere. People that live in developing countries specifically in Asia, Africa, and Latin America are more prone to this infection due to poor sanitary conditions. This should teach us all a lesson on basic sanitation.


Echinococcosis (Dog Tapeworm Infection)


Remember to all clean up your dog’s feces! This is because the consumption of soil, water, and food that has been contaminated with dog stool often causes echinococcosis. Echinococcus granulosus and Echinococcus multilocularis live in the intestines of dogs and often lay eggs while there. These eggs are often transferred in dog stool, which is how humans pig them up. Just like the Taenia solium tapeworm, these eggs hatch in the human intestines, and the larvae from the eggs are transported throughout the body, including the brain. These larvae cause Echinococcosis, which is often diagnosed using X-rays and blood tests and treated using a salt solution.


Please, Do More Research!

I am not a medical professional and will not pretend to be. If you are unsure whether you have a parasitic infection or if you are unsure about the appropriate treatment, please find out more information from a medical professional. However, I hope you enjoyed this introduction on the subject of brain parasites!

 

Author: Branden Sattler


Branden is a senior at East Meadow High School. He has a passion for psychology and wants to understand how different aspects of life affect a person’s emotional well-being.

 
  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019, December 12). CDC - cysticercosis - general information - faqs. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved February 21, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/cysticercosis/gen_info/faqs.html#:~:text=Cysticercosis%20is%20an%20infection%20caused,(these%20are%20called%20cysticerci).

  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020, September 22). CDC - cysticercosis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved February 21, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/cysticercosis/index.html

  3. Greenlee, J. E. (2022, February 7). Parasitic brain infections - brain, spinal cord, and nerve disorders. Merck Manuals Consumer Version. Retrieved February 21, 2022, from https://www.merckmanuals.com/home/brain,-spinal-cord,-and-nerve-disorders/brain-infections/parasitic-brain-infections

  4. Pearson, R. D. (2022, February 7). Echinococcosis (dog tapeworm infection) - infections. Merck Manuals Consumer Version. Retrieved February 21, 2022, from https://www.merckmanuals.com/home/infections/parasitic-infections-cestodes-tapeworms/echinococcosis-dog-tapeworm-infection

  5. Your brain parasite isn't making you sick – here's why. UVA Health Newsroom. (2020, July 30). Retrieved February 21, 2022, from https://newsroom.uvahealth.com/2020/07/30/your-brain-parasite-isnt-making-you-sick-heres-why/


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