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RFK Jr. reveals he had a dead worm in his brain: Learn about parasites and their prevalence

Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. claimed a worm died in his brain over a decade ago, sparking health debate.

Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has a history of making bold claims about his health, but none more startling than the revelation that he once believed a worm had died in his brain over a decade ago. This shocking assertion came to light during his divorce proceedings from his second wife, Mary Richardson Kennedy, where he used it to bolster his argument that health issues had impacted his earning potential.

Kennedy shared in a court deposition that in 2010, he was struggling with memory loss and severe mental fogginess. After consulting with multiple neurologists who suspected a brain tumor, he was preparing for surgery when a doctor at New York-Presbyterian Hospital suggested that the scans showed a dead parasite in his brain.

Describing the abnormality seen on his scans as a worm that had entered his brain, eaten a portion of it, and then died, Kennedy's claims have sparked discussions about the existence of brain worms and his fitness for office. While there is no medical evidence to support his assertions, experts suggest that the condition he described resembles neurocysticercosis, a disease caused by pork tapeworm larvae forming cysts in the brain.

Pork tapeworms, such as Taenia solium, are common in the Americas and can enter the human body through contaminated food or water. Once ingested, the eggs can develop into cysts in the brain, leading to symptoms like seizures, headache, stroke, and cognitive issues. While cases of neurocysticercosis are rare in the United States, they are more prevalent in underdeveloped countries where pigs come in contact with human feces.

Dr. Charles Bailey, an expert in infection prevention, explains that the parasite can migrate from the GI tract to the brain, causing symptoms when it dies and triggers inflammation. While Kennedy's case did not require treatment, Bailey notes that surgical removal may be necessary if the parasite is causing issues in the brain. Treatment typically involves oral anti-parasitic medications and steroids to manage symptoms.

Kennedy's campaign press secretary, Stefanie Spear, asserts that his health issues were resolved over a decade ago and that he is currently in robust physical and mental health. Despite facing criticism for his controversial views on vaccines and COVID-19 restrictions, Kennedy remains steadfast in his beliefs and continues to advocate for his positions.

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