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NYT: RFK Jr. says worm ‘got into my brain and ate a portion of it’



NYT: RFK Jr. says worm ‘got into my brain and ate a portion of it’


Impartial presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. skilled a sequence of well being points in recent times, together with an abnormality that he stated was brought on by a worm that entered his mind after which died, The New York Occasions reported on Wednesday.

In 2010, Kennedy, now 70, skilled extreme reminiscence loss and psychological fog, he stated in a deposition two years later. In accordance with the Occasions, he consulted prime neurologists conversant in the medical historical past of his uncle, the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, who had died of mind most cancers in 2009. A New York physician, after reviewing a scan of his mind, advised him that his well being points might be “brought on by a worm that acquired into my mind and ate a portion of it after which died,” Kennedy stated within the 2012 deposition, which involved a divorce from his second spouse, Mary Richardson Kennedy. Robert Kennedy stated on the time that his incomes energy had been negatively affected by the cognitive points, the Occasions reported.

Across the identical time, the Occasions stated, he suffered from mercury poisoning, which may result in neurological points equivalent to lack of peripheral imaginative and prescient, muscle weak spot and points with motion, listening to and speech, in addition to reminiscence loss. Kennedy advised the paper he has recovered from the reminiscence loss and mind fogginess and that the parasite didn’t require therapy.

As well as, he has grappled for many years with atrial fibrillation, or A-fib, an irregular heartbeat. He advised the Occasions it has been greater than a decade since he skilled the situation and stated he believes he not suffers from it.

Kennedy’s marketing campaign declined to supply his medical data to the Occasions. In a press release to CNN, Stefanie Spear, a spokesperson for Kennedy’s marketing campaign, stated he had “traveled extensively in Africa, South America and Asia” as a part of his work as an environmental advocate and stated he contracted a parasite in a kind of journeys.

“The difficulty was resolved greater than 10 years in the past and he’s in sturdy bodily and psychological well being. Questioning Mr. Kennedy’s well being is a hilarious suggestion, given his competitors,” the marketing campaign stated, referring to the superior ages of the 81-year-old President Joe Biden and 77-year-old former President Donald Trump.

In his first public feedback after the report printed, Kennedy in a social media post provided “to eat 5 extra mind worms and nonetheless beat President Trump and President Biden in a debate.”

“I really feel assured of the consequence even with a six-worm handicap,” he joked.

Dr. Peter Hotez, an infectious illness professional and Dean for the Nationwide Faculty of Tropical Drugs on the Baylor School of Drugs in Houston, advised CNN that it’s troublesome to totally assessment Kennedy’s declare with out wanting on the scans. “It’s an incomplete story,” as he put it.

However, talking typically, Hotez stated individuals with pork tapeworm infections of their brains — a situation often known as neurocysticercosis — extra generally expertise seizures and typically should be on anti-seizure medicine for a very long time as a result of when the worms die, they kind a calcified cyst within the mind that may trigger the mind to launch inflammatory chemical substances referred to as cytokines.

The connection to reminiscence issues and dementia is beneath research, Hotez stated. These signs are additionally related to mercury poisoning, and Kennedy advised the Occasions that on the time he was identified with that ailment, he was consuming excessive portions of tuna and perch.

“Yeah, the worms will not be feeding the mind. They’re residing within the mind,” Dr. Hotez stated. The worms get vitamins from the physique, however they don’t seem to be consuming the mind tissue, he stated.

Pork tapeworm infections may be troublesome to diagnose as a result of when the worm is alive it masks itself from detection and doesn’t present up on scans. It’s extra frequent to search out the worm after it has died and left behind a calcified cyst within the mind, Hotez stated.

Kennedy stated he modified his way of life following these well being episodes, together with getting extra sleep, touring much less, decreasing his fish consumption and present process chelation remedy that seeks to expel metals within the physique.

On the marketing campaign path, Kennedy has portrayed himself as vibrant and youthful in comparison with Biden and Trump, participating in strenuous actions like snowboarding and weightlifting. Biden’s doctor, Dr. Kevin O’Connor, stated in February that there have been “no new considerations” with the president’s well being revealed in a bodily and the White Home has stated no cognitive take a look at was administered as O’Connor didn’t discover it needed. Trump’s marketing campaign late final 12 months launched a letter that made broad statements about his well being — together with claims that the previous president is in “glorious” well being and that his cognitive exams “had been distinctive” — however didn’t embody details about the forms of assessments that Trump took or what the outcomes had been.

Kennedy’s views on private well being, together with his long-held skepticism of sure vaccines, have been a particular function of his public picture. He has disputed solutions that he’s “anti-vaccine,” although he’s the founding father of the Youngsters’s Well being Protection, a gaggle that has been accused of spreading falsehoods about vaccines.

This story has been up to date with further particulars and response.

CNN’s Brenda Goodman and Aaron Pellish contributed to this report.

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