Tuesday, January 25, 2011

What is (neuro)cysticercosis?

Though including multiple inconsistencies, much can be found on the internet about (neuro)cysticercosis. One of the most accessible articles out there is a detailed overview entitled, Brain Worms and Brain Amoebas: They Do Exist. Here, I quote other sources to describe a subset of the basics as well as characteristics of particular relevance to my situation.

“Cysticercosis is an infection caused by the pork tapeworm, Taenia solium. Infection occurs when the tapeworm larvae enter the body and form cysticerci (SIS-tuh-sir-KEY) (cysts). When cysticerci are found in the brain, the condition is called neurocysticercosis (NEW-row SIS-tuh-sir-KO-sis).”
According to some writings, pork tapeworm larvae are considered to be the the only worm larvae that can penetrate the protective barrier between the bloodstream and brain fluid.

Here is one of several lifecycle diagrams on the web – this one from the U.S. Center for Disease Control appears in the Cysticercosis entry on Wikipedia:

Notice that the diagram -- click on it to enlarge it -- states that humans are infected by ingesting infected pork. However:
“Contrary to popular belief neurocystericosis is not exclusive to pork eaters and the incidence among vegetarians is high, especially salad eaters.” (from Neurocysticercosis)
And there are other ways humans ingest the parasite. I have a couple of theories of how I ingested them, but I’ll leave that to a later posting.

Here is a dramatic video from Animal Planet’s Monsters Inside Me with related and additional info:

Of great importance is that, on the basis of my experience, the idea of having parasites in the brain is next to impossible for people to believe. People are more likely to think you are crazy -- literally -- to suggest this than they are to being open to the possibility. People try to explain away symptoms based on their own personal experience.

Also, from Parasites? Not Me!:
"It would seem that this would be an easy problem to find and treat, but just the opposite is true. Parasites come in all shapes and sizes and stages of development, and are very hard to diagnose -- most lab tests miss them. Frankly, most American doctors are not trained to look for them or even know the symptoms."
Interestingly, a full episode of the television show House was devoted to the frustration experienced by multiple doctors of diagnosing just the presence of a tapeworm in a patient's intestines. Here is a clip from the end of the show after the main character -- named House -- figured out what was wrong:

From The Overlooked Relationship Between Infectious Diseases and Mental Symptoms:

"Conventional medical practice in the United States largely ignores the possibility of parasitic disease. There are several reasons for this:

  • When a disease is never diagnosed it is easy to assume that it does not exist. Parasites are often overlooked in the U.S.
  • There is a shortage of technicians who are skilled in identifying parasitic organisms.
  • Spending one's day studying microscopic sample of stool specimens probably does not attract very many laboratory personnel.
  • There is a common misconception that parasitic problems are primarily found in tropical countries and are rare in countries like the U.S.A"
In my experience, even American doctors with some experience with the infection know very little and don’t welcome the suggestion that what relevant knowledge or experience they have is limited. These medical personnel are also quick to poo-poo information obtained via the internet.

And most unfortunately, of particular relevance to my situation (again from The Overlooked Relationship Between Infectious Diseases and Mental Symptoms):
"Psychiatric disease should be diagnosed only after careful exclusion of medical conditions that could produce the patients symptoms. Unfortunately very few mental health care providers are aware of the multitude of circumstances in which mental symptoms are precipitated by an infectious illness. A valuable clue that a mental problem may be infectious rather than psychiatric is sudden onset in a previously stable individual."
And from Brain Parasites:
“…a lot of modern day medicine prescribed for Mental Health ... is anti-parasitic by nature when you break it down in Medical Engineering principles. However, it is not marketed, and relatively unknown unless you look at the manufacturing and molecular structure of certain treatments.

Seems interesting that some Medications used in Psychiatry have similar molecular structure to Anti-Parasitic herbs or compounds discovered previously in nature or science...”
The relevance of the above references to mental health will become all too clear in upcoming postings.


  1. Richard, Gene again. . . Just dropped Dr Belmares at Loyola U Chicago Med Ctr a line via FB. I will keep you posted. . . wish I knew how to reach you otherwise. . .

  2. Hi Richard, Dolly here. I just found out about this blog. Wish I had known earlier.

    I have Lyme and have gone through similar issues but luckily found a doctor that could work with me. She is based in Los Altos - Dr. Deborah Metzger. I would say she saved me. My contact information is 408-242-3670. If you get this message, let me know how I can contact you.

    Wishing you my best wishes and would love to support you.


  3. One of the biggest problems is our compartmentalization of brain medicine from body medicine as if they're different.

    Cartesian madness.