Watch a tapeworm squirm through a living man's brain

 作者:官堵     |      日期:2019-03-05 01:06:04
A TAPEWORM that usually infects dogs, frogs and cats has made its home inside a man’s brain. The Chinese man was admitted to a UK hospital with headaches, seizures and an altered sense of smell. An MRI scan showed an abnormal region in the right side of his brain, but no tumour. Over four years, this region moved across the man’s brain, until surgery pulled out a 1 centimetre-long ribbon-shaped worm. Genetic sequencing identified it as Spirometra erinaceieuropaei, a rare tapeworm found in east Asia. Just 300 human infections have been reported since 1953, not all of them in the brain. “Humans aren’t the natural host for the worm so when it enters a human, it doesn’t migrate to the gut as it usually would,” says Hayley Bennett at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Cambridge, UK. When the worm does get to the brain, it triggers inflammation, which causes headaches and seizures. Its genome was 10 times larger than any tapeworm’s sequenced so far, partly due to an expansion of gene families that help the parasite invade its host. This may be why it can infect many animals (Genome Biology, This article appeared in print under the headline “Tapeworm squirms across man’s brain” More on these topics: