Parasites should not be ignored as they are a great threat to our lives and a cause of many problems. Let’s take a look at the top ten parasites that can damage the brain:
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Toxoplasma gondii is the most famous neurological parasite. More than two billion people have Toxoplama gondii silently present in their brains, giving them no clue as it stays quiet until it attacks. It causes changes in the performance level, reaction time to things and risky behaviours. Sometimes, it leads to a psychological problem called schizophrenia.
Naegleria fowleri is a dangerous amoeba found in water which stays as a cyst until it forms into trophozoite upon meeting its host. Trophozoite goes to the brain where it attaches itself to the brain tissues and gives birth to amoebostome which starts chewing onto the brain matter.
This amoeba multiplies and divides in the brain, taking over the brain completely and starting the symptoms. Mostly, the patients survive for two weeks in which they start losing their senses, getting confused, having fever, stiffness and hallucinating before they meet their end.
Trypanosoma is a parasite carried by tsetse fly which often has an attraction towards the human brain. It disturbs the host’s moods, sleeping cycle and behaviour. It makes the host sleep and wake up at odd timings, causing itching, strange talks, depression, leading to coma and then finally to death.
Pork tapeworm: Taenia solium
Taenia solium is also called pork tapeworm, transmitted mostly from pork. Its eggs containing infective larvae travel from intestine to the blood of the host. They settle themselves in different tissues, especially going towards the central nervous system. It causes neurocysticercosis in the brain, resulting in seizures and other neurological problems.
Cryptostrongylus pulmoni is found in the blood of its host in the form of a microscopic roundworm. It produces molecules that start damaging the brain and its functions. It also affects other organs which makes it difficult to diagnose it.
Spirometra erinaceieuropae is a parasite which does not commonly occur. It has a record of affecting 300 people worldwide in the past half century. It’s infection spreads through drinking infected crustaceans containing water, causing headaches, seizures and memory loss in its host. It also swells the muscles of the eye and appears large nodules under the skin.
Eating undercooked crab or crayfish can cost you a hard time, as it enters a flatworm with parasitic infection in the host, called Paragonimiasis. Travelling through the bloodstream, it makes its way towards the brain where it infects the tissues and causes headaches, seizures and strokes.
Cerebral malaria enters the body by an infected mosquito, destructing the brain tissues and mostly causing death. Even if someone survives they, suffer from deafness, blindness, seizures, changes in consciousness and other problems.
A tapeworm called hydatidosis or echinococcus develops cysts in the brain and spinal cord of its host, damaging the brain and its functions. This parasite is transmitted into the body by eating contaminated food.
Halicephalobus gingivalis is a nematode transmitted through contaminated food and skin. It heads towards the central nervous system and then to the blood-brain barrier. It affects people suffering from cancer or HIV/AIDS, causing inflammation in their brain, spinal cord and membranes, leading them to death.
Are you aware of any other parasites that can be a threat to humans? Enlighten us with your answers in the comment box below.
Until Next Time,
Team Doctor ASKY!