Doctor's stomach-churning find in man's brain after mystery 4am seizure

·News Reporter
·2-min read

An otherwise healthy man had been suffering from unexplained seizures before doctors found a stomach-churning explanation in his brain.

The man, 38, fell out of bed at 4am “shaking” and “speaking gibberish” at his home in Boston, US, before his wife called the emergency services. 

She revealed her husband was “combative and disoriented, and actively resisted being placed in the ambulance”.

The patient was given two doses of lorazepam which is used to treat seizures, according to the New England Journal of Medicine.

A CT scan and MRI of a 38-year-old man's brain are pictured showing lesions.  Source: New England Journal of Medicine
A CT scan an an MRI of the man's head showed lesions in his brain. Source: New England Journal of Medicine

His medical history showed no history of seizures or any other issues such as respiratory or cardiovascular and there was no evidence of an adverse reaction to specific medication.

Dr Andrew Cole wrote on the day before his seizures the man had taken care of his children and had dinner with his brother.

“There was no report of unusual or altered behaviour at dinner. Furthermore, there was no history of recent sleep deprivation,” Dr Cole wrote.

Dr Cole noted while family history didn’t determine a possible hereditary cause he did note the man had moved from Guatemala about 20 years before.

Doctors discover disturbing cause of man's seizures

An MRI, CT scan and electroencephalography were conducted.

Doctors believed the cause could have been from cysticercosis which is one of the most common causes of seizures worldwide.

It is caused by the tapeworm Taenia solium, also known as the pork tapeworm.

The tapeworm can emerge in a host if the eggs are ingested and the disease is endemic in Asia and Central America. The disease can also take years to emerge.

Dr Michael Lev wrote that the CT scan and MRI confirmed this diagnosis.

“The MRI study showed focal enhancing lesions in the right frontal lobe, left occipital lobe, and right temporal lobe that corresponded to the coarse calcifications seen on CT,” he wrote.

The man underwent several weeks of treatment after five days in hospital. He was given medications including the steroid prednisone to treat his ailment.

He remains on medication to treat epilepsy but three years after his seizure he had no recurrences.

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