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Cystercosis is a rare and recently recognized disease that affects the human nervous system.



Cystercosis is caused by consuming the larval form of the parasitic tapeworm Taenia solium. The larvae eventually affect the muscles and brain, and moving larvae can be detected in the affected person's eyes. In the brain, the larvae can severely damage the frontal lobe and cause personality changes.

The disease has been found in a small number of patients in Mexico. It is not directly contagious between humans; it apparently spreads when people eat fruit and vegetables that have been contaminated with pig feces.

However, it is extremely rare in First World countries like the U.S., which have strict laws that forbid farmers from allowing pigs to graze in fields where food is grown.


The period of incubation for cystercosis is unclear. It can take from two weeks to ten years for a person to fully develop the disease.


The most common symptom among patients of this disease is mood swings. These might lead people who suffer cystercosis to act strange during certain days. It is recommended that one visit a doctor if one, or a close friend or relative, has visited Mexico and eaten fruits or vegetables there and begin to act in an improper or out of place manner.

On 8 December 2004, Kevin Keogh, the chief financial officer of the city of Phoenix, Arizona, died from a bizarre stunt thought to have been induced by cystercosis (he had contracted it while traveling in Mexico two years earlier). He climbed onto the roof of his moving car after setting the cruise control to around 50 miles per hour. He then "surfed" on the top of his car, then jumped and fell to his death.


As with all serious brain damage, there is no direct treatment available for cystercosis. Patients are sometimes given antidepressants to help with the mood swings and psychotherapy to help them resist irrational impulses.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Cystercosis". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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