Brain Tapeworms: More Common Than You Might Think

    May 26, 2012
    WebProNews Staff
    Comments are off for this post.

Brain tapeworms sound disgusting. Well, that’s because they are. In a recent article published by Discover Magazine, the parasites are discussed at-length, so much so that you may find yourself second-guessing every single piece of food that enters your mouth. In this day and age where cockroaches and severed fingers are unknowingly served to us by major restaurant chains, it’s not surprisingly that brain tapeworms are becoming an issue.

How does one come into contact with such an organism? It’s essentially no different than contracting a tapeworm that lives, feeds, and grows inside your intestines. Brain tapeworms are larvae that work their way through your bloodstream to your tasty little brain, where they effectively dig in their heels and set up shop in the form of large white cysts. So when you chow down on an undercooked piece of pork, you may, in fact, be consuming some of the larvae. When you stop to consider that a single tapeworm can produce 50,000 eggs, the bigger picture becomes shockingly clear. Your lunch suddenly seems intimidating.

Side effects from brain tapeworms include violent seizures, brain damage, blindness, loss of motor functions, and, in some extreme cases, the individual suffering from the affliction may fall into a coma. Although there are treatments available to combat the infestation, they can often cause the person’s brain to swell.

Dr. Theodore Nash, who discussed the problem with Discover Magazine, said that it’s difficult to track just how many people are carrying tapeworms around inside their skulls. However, he estimates that nearly 2,000 people in the United States are playing host to these parasites. In an even more alarming revelation, Nash suspects that almost 29 million people in Latin America could have them in their craniums right now. Very scary, indeed.

So how does one go about avoiding brain tapeworms? It’s pretty simple: Wash your hands thoroughly after you’ve handled raw meat and, of course, make sure that your food is cooked thoroughly. Otherwise, you might find yourself with dozens of tiny tenants living off the tender noodle inside your skull.

  • Kosh

    So that’s where the voices are coming from.

    • laura

      That, my friend, is funny.

      • http://yahoo Kevin

        Why? I find nothing funny about this.

    • jill johnson

      LOL !!!

    • willy


    • jennifer

      Kosh… lmao… good one

  • vettech88

    be careful of being around raccoons. They are cute but the raccoon tapeworm is transmitted through them and that is another one that goes to your brain.

    • jen

      @vettech88, you are sooo wrong! I am also a vet tech and the only tapeworm that invades the brain is the Taenia solium, which hosts are humans and pigs…not raccoons. It is also very rare for this particular tapeworm to invade the brain and people generally get it from eating undercooked pork since the larvae can invade the muscles of the pig. Raccoons do indeed get tapeworms but they are strictly the intestinal tapeworms and if I was worried about catching anything from a coon I would worry more about rabies from a bite or leptospirosis. And as far as intestinal parasites in coons I would worry more about the large roundworm, which is easier to catch than tapes.

      • dave pennebaker

        thanks Jen for setting the record straight. I was a parasitologist in a large medical laboratory in San Diego some years ago. What you stated is fact.

        • Suzanne

          He is probably referring to Baylisascaris, not a tape worm, but just as dangerous, and definately carried by raccoons and transmittable to humans.

        • Ken

          I think vettech88 might be talking about the Echinococcosis infection from various types of Echinococcus tapeworms. These are carried in raccoons, foxes, coyotes, bears, sometimes even domestic dogs, and can go through a life cycle in humans (the human isn’t their preferred host, but they can still infect us). These critters form cysts, primarily in the liver and lungs, but occasionally in the human brain, as well. The infection usually isn’t nearly as dramatic as the Neurocysticerosis, but it can be very unpleasant and occasional highly dangerous — occasionally fatal, as well. But it’s rare, and again, this type of tapeworm doesn’t readily make the jump to humans, so don’t be that concerned.

        • http://www.facebook.com Philip SpottedEagle

          Yeahright!! Thank god for Google!!! Bung!!!

      • really?

        Everyone, move out of the way, we got a vet TECH here!

      • BT

        Hi Jen,
        Are tapeworms contagious from human to human?

      • http://yahoo eva

        I hate to sound terribly ignorant here, but what is leptospirosis?

        • http://scottster.com Scatterbrain

          I could be totally wrong, but I think it is similar to the supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

          • Carina

            That is soooo funny,lol!

          • http://Yahoo Virginia Swann

            An infectious bacterial disease that occurs in rodents, dogs, and other mammals and can be transmitted to humans. This is and can become very serious if not taken care of by a doctor and let get out of control. Hope this helps…

        • Scott

          Not to sound like a smartazz but aren’t you using some type of computer=worlds best library for finding information. I am about to research that myself,not a clue.

        • Scott
        • http://Yahoo Virginia Swann

          An infectious bacterial disease that occurs in rodents, dogs, and other mammals and can be transmitted to humans.

      • http://Yahoo.com Natalie


        Thanks for setting the reoord straight. Your post was infomative, relevant and interesting. It is nice to see that we have some intelligent people out there to offset the sensationalist journalism from journalists that thrive on inciting fear in the lives of their readers.

      • T

        Oh my. Suddenly going kosher sounds like a really good idea!

      • http://yahoo Kevin

        yeah, I agree

      • DouglasYancyFunny

        I’m sorry Jen but I believe Vettech88. She IS a vet tech after all. I know you claim to be one as well but… I don’t know…

    • TicKer

      you saw that on House. not that that makes it any less scary to be sure.

  • Carlos

    “Hey, where’s my cookie!?”

    • http://WebProNews Marcus

      LOL, I was thinking of the same joke, except I heard it with lemon drops instead of cookies.

  • Jessi

    Maybe that’s why lots of people are so mean and crazy these days lol :)

  • http://yahoo.com acdc2

    It’s an epidemic in D.C. The breakout started about 10 years ago and has gotten progressively worse. Probably started in china.

    • http://WebProNews Marcus

      Not a real problem in D.C. except the brain eating worms got into congress and are starving to death.

      • David

        Now that’s funny.

      • http://yahoo eva

        Well, to be fair, you do need a brain to begin with. I’m not sure if we could find one in Washington. We may need to go further afield.

  • John

    There was a woman locally who had passed out a few years back on Mother’s Day. She was rushed to the hospital where they removed a three foot long tapeworm from her brain. They traced it to her eating
    a considerable amount of raw sushi.

  • Johnny DoNothing

    Cool we have finally figured out whats wrong with Joe Biden

  • freddy cestodia

    So if a football running back tries to score and he is carrying the ball at his waist but his pig skin helmet goes pass the goal line is he given credit for a touchdown because the helminth crossed into the end zone? I need to know right away, thank you.

    • Mike Faraday

      No Touchdown

    • David

      Amongst the other morons

  • http://yahoo Evelyn Little

    It’s no good worrying about it now. What’s done is done. Just make sure of what you eat, and make sure you eat well cooked food. No raw sushi. Yuk.

  • jimbo ken`

    Freddy, the ball has to cross the goal line. Often they have to review the play because it is so close that you can’t squeeze a tapeworm between the ball and the goal.

  • http://yahoo c.h.

    Focus, Freddy, focus!!!! We’re talking about something serious, and you, being a guy, have scoring on your mind!!! Imagine that!!

  • Victor Martinez

    29 million people in Latin America carry this parasite? Well, it’s certainly possible, but I think you need more than a renowned scientist throwing out a number off the top of his head. He suspects, but he doesn’t know, does he? Parasites are not a bit medical topic in the US, but in fact they’re quite common. Doctors are not trained in that. It’s not a big money maker for Big Pharma. It’s always been big in Scandinavian countries and Latin America. We all have all kinds of parasites.

  • mimmzy

    I still love pork!!

  • WillowTree6811

    Stay away from DemonCrap Socialists. They spread their brain tapeworms like a pandemic virus.

    • http://yahoo.com linjaynes

      Its rude to insult the Tea Party that way.

  • BobKaye

    Sushi anyone?

  • krotz mctavish

    Who is this Brian and why does he have Tapeworms?

  • Quisia Battley

    It is very interesting that Alzheimer’s disease couldn’t be traced back to some parasite in certain cases. I just finished the Master Cleanse Detox and from my colon, I saw parasites and a worm or two. I didn’t like the idea that I was the host to those critters! But after doing the cleanse for approximately 59 days, it was well worth it!

  • Davekp

    I’m still wondering about the football question. Would it count if the tapeworm crawled out the ear, grabbed the ball, and took it over the goal line?

  • Heather

    Why did I read this? Now I’m going to think I have brain tapeworms whenever I get a raging headache.

  • Magick

    OH MY GODS!!! How does one find out if a person has tapeworms in their brain?

  • ken stem

    Sounds like something we would see on House

  • Mickey

    Once, when I was ordering pork at a restaurant, I asked the waitress if the pork they had on the menu was “pulled pork”. She said, “Well, yeah, I guess. It did take some pulling to get her into the slaughter bin… And some pushing, too. But after we hit her square in the head with that sledge hammer, she pretty much gave it up.”

  • Paula Freeman

    That explains alot, actually!

    • Deb

      I’m sure there must be something wrong with my brain!! That would explain a lot… cause a lot has a space in between A and lot…lol

  • ak

    Well, good thing I don’t eat pork then may be smart animals, but they’re filthy.

  • Deb

    AK, Your so right their Scavengers dirty things..but they sure taste good.. I stopped eating pork when I found that out..lol

  • Tim Wallace

    I’m going to go eat some raw bacon and pork chops. The little buggers can’t make me any worse. maybe they will eat the looney part of my brain

  • Steve

    This is how the Zombie Apocalypse begins.

  • Anthony

    i think i have them.

  • Joe

    29 million people in Latin America may carry the parasite

    The tape worms must be starving!

  • willy

    I Farted and it smells like roses

  • hawk


    • none of your business

      Is your brain in your pants? Because I am not catching your brain and then have another one of you hit on me as an RN and see you get a woody in your pants as I am trying not to panic about having your cracked skull in the palm of my hand again. I QUIT!

  • Joe

    You know people, everyday I see more and more stories like this. Honestly, do yourselves a favor and go veg. It’s really not as hard as you think. There are so many meat substitutes out there that taste EXACTLY like meat. Plus you won’t have to worry about all this wacky s&%t. Do yourself a favor and look into it.

  • robert

    POOR Kermit! No more pork for him.

  • David

    amongst the rest of the morons

    • none of your business

      David, are they now called the Demon Morons of the Planet of the Apeshits?

  • Me

    Ohhhhhh.. No wonder people in Miami act the way they do. It’s the parasite controlling their brains when they drive like animals and don’t speak English.

  • albomac

    A retired pediatric RN here. About 15 years ago we admitted a child to our hospital that was diagnosed with a tapeworm in the brain. She had been to Mexico.

  • Laurie

    If someone had a brain tapeworm infestation, I wonder if it would be possible to drown these parasites via alcohol consumption….

    • none of your business

      their ideologies are to use Crystal Meth and then call themselves wannabe rappers. Where the music industry just uses them to destroy who ever they want with a license to kill.

      • none of your business

        And to think my Mom liked the President of MTV when she would take care of him and his family at her job.

        • none of your business

          Tell them I put them on suspension.

          • none of your business

            For being dirtbag pigs.

          • none of your business

            My apparent Dad, satan will love that!

  • Amelia

    If it’s not one thing it’s another.They’re always giving us something to worry about.Most articles are toward the frightening or negative.Information overload.

    • none of your business

      Amelia, it brings in the Caching! Ofcourse, they use threats in order for their gain.

      • none of your business

        Mass terrorism, apparently gives them all a big woody.

  • none of your business

    Is that what those satanists are all talking about as far as the new Supervirus, PERHAPS? They cannot wait till it apparently kills and destroys everyone, EVEN THEM!

  • Melissa

    Why does he think millions of people in Latin America are carrying this parasite? How did he come up with the estimates? Details please!

  • D Moore

    There are worse things in your food then tapeworms… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOBzPxd3t98

  • Butchboy

    Parasites in food are of no concern to me. I have found that I consume enough 80 proof alcohol to kill any critter still living when it enters my digestive system. This is factual as there have been instances in which others consuming the same food as myself have grown extremely ill and I have not. However, on occasion when my BAC has fallen below about .14, I have grown extremely ill…

  • http://www.hdvalley.com HDvalley

    @BT … uh, should we worry about human to human? 😛 lol scary man. and lol krotz mctavish with the Brian comment.

  • http://www.LAokay.com Steve G

    I’m so glad I already ate before I read this article. I don’t know if I’m ever going to eat again after reading it. LOL.

  • John

    The video was very unsatisfactory. It jumped far too fast from one obscure little scene to another instead of staying on a subject long enough for a viewer to make sense of it. I thought we might get to see microscopic shots of worms in action too, or clinical pictures of the type of damage they do.