Doctors found tapeworm egg in New York woman’s brain — and cheered
NEW YORK — A New York woman was super pumped to learn she had a “gross” tapeworm egg in her brain because it meant the lump wasn’t a cancerous tumor as doctors had suspected.
“What we saw in surgery was not at all what we were expecting,” Dr. Jonathan Rasouli, a neurosurgeon at Mount Sinai Hospital, tells Live Science.
Rachel Palma, 42, had gone to the doctor in January 2018 describing some bizarre symptoms.
She’d suddenly drop items with her right hand, fail to remember certain words, even try to call dead relatives, according to WABC.
She also suffered hallucinations and “horrific nightmares,” reports “Today.”
An MRI then revealed a lesion on the left hemisphere of her brain — the part that controls language and speech in right-handed people — that Rasouli thought “could potentially be cancerous,” according to Live Science.
With Palma under the knife in September, however, Rasouli saw not soft tissue, but what looked like a marble-sized quail egg.
The discovery that it was a pork tapeworm egg brought cheers from doctors, according to WABC.
“It was one of those rare situations where you see a parasite and you’re like, ‘Wow, this is great!'” Rasouli tells “Today.”
There’s still the mystery of how the egg got into brain of the woman, who might’ve been fine with antibiotics instead of a three-hour brain surgery.
The pork tapeworm is “super rare” in the U.S., “like once in a blue moon,” according to Rasouli, and Palma has never traveled outside of the country.
She also didn’t recall consuming undercooked meat. Still, she tries not to focus on the source.
“I stopped asking questions and started celebrating and making the most out of life,” she tells WABC.
(A teen just died of the same condition.)
More From Newser:
- 3 Species Were Known to Go Through Menopause. Now It’s 5
- New Python Hybrid May Spell Future Trouble in Everglades
- Entire Arctic Expedition Perished, but Not Because of Lead