The New England Journal of Medicine yesterday published a case study about a HIV-positive Colombian man who had tumours that yielded puzzling biopsy results: the cells were definitely cancer-like, but the cells were not human.
Three years of tests finally revealed the man had been infected by a tapeworm that had contracted cancer, which had then spread around the man’s body.
The man’s weakened immune system made him particularly susceptible to the tapeworm’s cancer cells, according to scientists and the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which helped diagnose the man ::::
“We were amazed when we found this new type of disease — tapeworms growing inside a person essentially getting cancer that spreads to the person, causing tumours,” study lead author Dr Atis Muehlenbachs said. “We think this type of event is rare. However, this tapeworm is found worldwide and millions of people globally suffer from conditions like HIV that weaken their immune system. So there may be more cases that are unrecognised. It’s definitely an area that deserves more study.”
Unfortunately, the man died just 72 hours after the doctors reached their diagnosis.
The tapeworm in question, Hymenolepis nana, or the dwarf tapeworm, is the most common tapeworm in humans, infecting up to 75 million people at any given time, according to the CDC.
People get the tapeworm by eating food contaminated with mouse droppings or insects or by ingesting faeces from someone else who is infected.
Children are most often affected and most people show no symptoms. However, in people whose immune systems are weak, including people who have HIV or are taking steroids, the tapeworm can thrive.
Pain From Tapeworm Drives Man Close to Suicide
It’s not the only recent case of a tapeworm wreaking havoc on a man’s health. A California man suffering from violent headaches learned just in time what was making him ill: a tapeworm larva that had lodged in his brain.
Doctors told local media that the parasite burrowed in the brain of Luis Ortiz, 26, a student in Sacramento, came close to taking his life, news reports said on Thursday.
The worm was forming in a cyst that blocked the flow of water to chambers in Mr Ortiz’s brain, “like a cork in a bottle,” his neurosurgeon Dr Soren Singel told the Napa Valley Register newspaper.
Mr Ortiz, who had gone to the hospital emergency room complaining of terrible headaches and nausea, eventually slipped into a coma, and required emergency surgery to remove the larvae.
“I was shocked,” he later told CBS television as he continued to recover from the ordeal. I just couldn’t believe something like that would happen to me.”Mr Ortiz said.” I didn’t know there was a parasite in my head trying to ruin my life.”
He said that during his convalescence, he has had to drop out of school, move back home, and that for now he can’t drive or work.
“My memory is like a work in progress,” Mr Ortiz said, adding that his overall brain function is slowly improving thanks to therapy.
unRELATED! Chook Evolution Rate Questions Domestication Rate and Human Migration
The findings, published in journal Biology Letters, are based on a genetic analysis of a chicken population that can be traced back over 50 generations.
The international team of researchers sequenced 12 mitochondrial genomes – DNA generally thought to be passed down from the mother to their offspring – in a well-known population of White Plymouth Rock chickens.
Previous chicken research – March 2014 – has been used to gauge human events in history, notably that Christopher Columbus beat Polynesians to South America :: Read the full article »»»»
unRELATED! UK Team Levitates Small Objects Using Sound
A team of UK scientists have cleverly used sound waves to levitate tiny objects, the breakthrough, published in Nature Communications, could lead to applications as out-there as Star Trek style tractor beams :: Read the full article »»»»
unRELATED! BACON as BAD as Smoking!?
According to a new report by the World Health Organisation, Bacon is BAD! More accurately, the study says that processed meats like hot dogs, sausages and bacon can cause colon cancer and red meat is also a likely cause of the disease, World Health Organisation experts say, in a potentially heavy blow for the global meat industry.
The analysis of 800 studies from around the world by the International Agency for Research on Cancer – IARC – found “sufficient evidence in humans that the consumption of processed meat causes colorectal cancer”.
“Each 50-gram portion of processed meat eaten daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18 per cent,” it said in a statement.
The category includes meat that has been salted, cured, fermented or smoked, hot dogs, sausages, corned beef, dried meat like beef jerky or South African biltong, canned meat or meat-based sauces.
The finding supports “recommendations to limit intake of meat” particularly in processed forms, the IARC said :: Read the full article »»»»
CHRONIC! Australia to Legalise Cannabis
Health Minister Sussan Ley says the Government wants to give people suffering from debilitating illnesses access to all of the most effective medical treatments, including medical cannabis.
The minister said she had been moved by stories of people who get relief from the currently restricted drug, sometimes legally imported but not always. However, Ms Ley said the legalisation was only about medicinal cannabis, not recreational use.
“This is not a debate about legalisation of cannabis. This is not about illicit drugs. This is not a product you smoke. This has nothing to do with that,” Ms Ley said. “Most commonly the product is an oil or a tincture that you put on your skin.”
A progressive government in Victoria looks to have that state as the nation’s first onboard, the state Government plans to embark on a cannabis cultivation trial, based on the recommendations of a report by the Victorian Law Reform Commission :: Read the full article »»»»
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