Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Color Me Wrong

Recently eaten: angel hair pasta, grilled chicken, spinach, feta
Recent annoyance: runny nose

So my old housemate Lisa used to always worry about getting brain worms. I mean, really, really worry about actually getting brain worms. And to be honest, I poo-pooed her. I watched the X-Files, I clean out my ears regularly with Q-tips. The only ways I had ever seen someone contract brainworms were:

  1. Government conspiracy
  2. Stumble upon alien crash site
  3. Mother said to keep ears clean or else brain worms would infest skull
  4. Government cover-up
So imagine my surprise when I found this article on brain worms in San Antonio, Texas.
"There was a time when Renaldo Ramirez, of Houston, didn't like to cook.

The 50-year-old ate most of his meals at mobile kitchens until he found out food contaminated with tapeworm eggs almost killed him.

Ramirez is a tile worker who immigrated to the U.S. from El Salvador 20 years ago.

"It was a mild headache, but it wouldn't go away," he said. "It was just there and it wouldn't go away with Tylenol."

Doctors at a clinic gave him medicine for high blood pressure. A few days later he passed out and didn't wake up for eight days.

Dr. Aaron Mohanty found a cyst of tapeworm larvae living in Ramirez's brain. If it hadn't been found, the doctor said, Ramirez could have been dead within hours from the disease called cysticercosis. The disease is usually found in rural parts of developing countries with poor hygiene habits. However, Ramirez was the fourth patient Mohanty treated within a few months.

The best way to avoid the disease, doctors say, is to wash your hands, cook meats thoroughly, especially pork, and to wash fruits and vegetables."

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