Wednesday, December 15, 2010

"I have worms in my brain"

You have no idea how many times in my career I have seen complaints like this. And usually the culprit is the same- the crazy. So imagine my surprise last night when my friend hands me the chart for my new patient and just says "brain worms". Shut up. I have had enough psych patients to last me a lifetime, thanks a lot. No. For real real. This lady had MFin' worms in her brain, y'all. Neurocysticercosis, which until I met this woman, I had no idea existed. This is just a little bit worse than her CT.

I DID NOT learn about this is nursing school, because I would have remembered and had nightmares about brain worms. Apparently, it's not uncommon in less developed nations- most people get it through undercooked infected pork or food that's been exposed to infected meat or people. This poor lady had just come in for headaches from hell and- surprise!- at one time or currently, was hosting these delightful creatures in her brain tissue. Eeee. Another addition to my list of phobias.


  1. We learned about this in veterinary school. And worse. Parasitology is disturbing, especially the zoonoses.

  2. Yeah, we see those quite a bit. They usually present with first-time seizure. I call em Mexican worm-balls.
    -whitecap nurse

  3. Oh wow... that is just... EWW!!!

    Actually it's usually from undercooked pork and originated in the middle east. Which is the reason behind the ban on eating pork products in some Religons.

    But still. Terrifying!

    Oh and hello!! New to this Blogsphere, blog hopping and found you :D!

    C. RN

  4. Yeah, almost all infected meats, but I did hear of a couple of cases in the good old USA where people with active infections spread it through other foods via fecal oral route. Hence me and the produce department at the mexican grocery store being finished. Irrational but still. Parasites scare the shit out of me.

  5. How on earth do you treat that? That is terrifying!

  6. Fortunately there are antibiotics, but the scary part is the headaches pretty much suck and stay with you for life, and you end up with all these crazy calcifications in your brain. Bad times.

  7. Eeeee!!! Indeed!

    Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!!

  8. Saw our fair share of that while I worked at hood hospital in Houston. Scary, scary stuff. My Mexican "grandpa" (patriarch of the home we stayed in while studying in Mexico during college) was afflicted and would curse at his grandkids in a Tourettes-like fashion. Funny and sad at the same time. I think the only thing that is more terrifying is the guinea worm. For your viewing pleasure:

  9. Hi NNitH

    Can you email at One of your posts has been nominated for little contest I'm having and i'd like to explain it all.



  10. my unit gets a case of this about once every year or two.