Speed Reads


Here's how a worm survived burrowed in a man's head for 4 years

New research from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute found that a tapeworm lived inside a man's head — near his brain — for four years.

The centimeter-long tapeworm was removed via surgery, but not before it traveled two inches into the man's head. The patient, who is Chinese but was living in the U.K., said he suffered from headaches, memory loss, and seizure. Doctors were unable to diagnose him until a final biopsy revealed the tapeworm.

After removing the worm from the man (the man is now in good health), the researchers were able to sequence its genome, giving them more insight into how the worm could survive inside a human head. They discovered that this species, originally from the Far East, causes inflammation of the body's tissues. More crucially, this type of worm absorbs fats through its skin — and since the brain has plenty of fatty acids, the man's head was a nice home for the parasite.