The rarest and most terrible cause of headache in humans

A headache can strike a person at any time. In most cases, it is caused by prolonged tension and stress, as well as lack of sleep at night. Also, headaches are often associated with alcohol consumption, high blood pressure and a reaction to weather changes. Usually, when any unpleasant sensations arise in the head, people take painkillers. They either prevent the brain from receiving information about pain or affect the blood vessels. However, sometimes the pills do not help – a 52-year-old resident of the American state of Florida recently encountered this problem. His headache gradually worsened, and the medications had no effect. At the hospital it became clear that the cause of the pain was not stress and lack of sleep…

The rarest and most terrible cause of headaches in humans. Sometimes a headache occurs if something extra appears in the brain. Photo.

Sometimes a headache occurs if something extra appears in the brain

< p class="toc_title">Contents

  • 1 A terrible cause of headaches
  • 2 How pork tapeworm infects humans
  • 3 Pork tapeworm in the human brain
  • 4 Treatment for pork tapeworm

A terrible cause of headaches

John Worthington, senior lecturer in infection biology from Lancaster University (UK), spoke about another unusual and frightening case from medical practice. One day, a 52-year-old man began to suffer from a headache, which became worse over time. The painkillers that had relieved his pain in the past no longer helped, so he decided to see a doctor.

A terrible cause of headache. The patient complained that not a single medicine helps him. Photo.

The patient complained that not a single medicine helps him

B At the hospital, the patient was sent for a CT scan – doctors suspected that something was wrong with his brain. This turned out to be the case, because traces of pork tapeworm (Taenia solium) were seen in the photographs.

How pork tapeworm infects humans

The pork tapeworm, also known as the pork tapeworm or armed tapeworm, is a tapeworm that leads a parasitic life. Initially, it lives in the bodies of pigs, dogs, hares and a number of other animals. But the ultimate goal of this creation is man. Typically, pork tapeworm enters the human body along with undercooked pork and affects the gastric tract. When the tiny parasite gets inside, it senses digestive juices and clings to the walls of the small intestine. Subsequently, the parasite absorbs nutrients and grows up to two meters in length.

How pork tapeworm infects humans. Pork tapeworm tapeworm. Photo.

Porcine tapeworm

In some cases, pork tapeworm lives in the human body for up to five years. During this time, it not only steals some of the nutrients, but also releases thousands of eggs. They emerge from humans naturally and look for new owners. Pork tapeworm infection is usually asymptomatic and can be treated with anti-parasite medications. The pork tapeworm should not be confused with the bovine tapeworm, which we talked about in the article “What animals feed on blood?” In contrast, the pork tapeworm has additional hooks that help it hold onto the digestive organs more tightly. And in general there are many small but important differences between them.

Read also: How do you know that parasitic worms have settled in the body?

Pork tapeworm in human brain

During a medical examination, the patient admitted that he sometimes ate undercooked bacon. So it's possible there was a parasite in his digestive tract. But doctors did not immediately understand how it entered the brain.

Pork tapeworm in the human brain. Pork tapeworm has the ability to penetrate the human brain. Photo.

Pork tapeworm has the ability to penetrate the human brain

Only later did they make a realistic assumption that the parasite could have entered the human brain due to poor hygiene. Pork tapeworm eggs may have been left on the man’s hands after visiting the toilet. If he did not wash his hands with soap, the parasites could easily enter the bloodstream in one of dozens of different ways and penetrate the brain.

Everyone should know this:Another danger of raw or poorly cooked meat

Treatment for pork tapeworm

Fortunately, brain damage from pork tapeworm is treatable. Only in addition to drugs against parasites, doctors also used drugs for inflammation. According to Science Alert, the patient is already recovering with minimal possible brain damage. Without treatment, the parasite could damage vital parts of the brain, which could lead to complications. For example, tapeworms often cause acquired epilepsy.

Treatment for pork tapeworm. Even the slightest damage to the brain can lead to terrible problems. Photo.

Even the slightest damage to the brain can lead to terrible problems

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In 2011, an article was already published on our website that parasitic worms can live in the brain of a healthy person and cause seizures. In the case described at the time, a 38-year-old man slept peacefully next to his wife until he fell to the floor in convulsions in the middle of the night. He uttered completely meaningless words and did not understand what was happening to him. The culprit of this frightening case once again turned out to be a pork tapeworm that penetrated into the brain.