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Friday, July 19, 2024

RFK Jr. Says Docs Discovered a Lifeless Worm in His Mind

In 2010, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. was experiencing reminiscence loss and psychological fogginess so extreme {that a} pal grew involved he may need a mind tumor. Mr. Kennedy mentioned he consulted a number of of the nation’s high neurologists, lots of whom had both handled or spoken to his uncle, Senator Edward M. Kennedy, earlier than his dying the earlier yr of mind most cancers.

A number of docs observed a darkish spot on the youthful Mr. Kennedy’s mind scans and concluded that he had a tumor, he mentioned in a 2012 deposition reviewed by The New York Occasions. Mr. Kennedy was instantly scheduled for a process at Duke College Medical Heart by the identical surgeon who had operated on his uncle, he mentioned.

Whereas packing for the journey, he mentioned, he obtained a name from a physician at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital who had a special opinion: Mr. Kennedy, he believed, had a lifeless parasite in his head.

The physician believed that the abnormality seen on his scans “was brought on by a worm that bought into my mind and ate a portion of it after which died,” Mr. Kennedy mentioned within the deposition.

Now an impartial presidential candidate, the 70-year-old Mr. Kennedy has portrayed his athleticism and relative youth as a bonus over the 2 oldest folks to ever search the White Home: President Biden, 81, and former President Donald J. Trump, 77. Mr. Kennedy has secured a spot on the ballots in Utah, Michigan, Hawaii and, his marketing campaign says, California and Delaware. His intensive efforts to achieve entry in additional states might put him ready to tip the election.

He has gone to lengths to look hale, snowboarding with a skilled snowboarder and with an Olympic gold medalist who referred to as him a “ripper” as they raced down the mountain. A digicam crew was at his aspect whereas he lifted weights, shirtless, at an outside gymnasium in Venice Seaside.

Mr. Kennedy hit the slopes in Jackson Gap, Wyo., this yr with the skilled snowboarder Travis Rice.Credit score…by way of Fb

Nonetheless, over time, he has confronted critical well being points, some beforehand undisclosed, together with the obvious parasite.

For many years, Mr. Kennedy suffered from atrial fibrillation, a standard heartbeat abnormality that will increase the chance of stroke or coronary heart failure. He has been hospitalized a minimum of 4 occasions for episodes, though in an interview with The Occasions this winter, he mentioned he had not had an incident in additional than a decade and believed the situation had disappeared.

About the identical time he realized of the parasite, he mentioned, he was additionally recognized with mercury poisoning, most probably from ingesting an excessive amount of fish containing the harmful heavy steel, which might trigger critical neurological points.

“I’ve cognitive issues, clearly,” he mentioned within the 2012 deposition. “I’ve short-term reminiscence loss, and I’ve longer-term reminiscence loss that impacts me.”

Within the interview with The Occasions, he mentioned he had recovered from the reminiscence loss and fogginess and had no aftereffects from the parasite, which he mentioned had not required remedy. Requested final week if any of Mr. Kennedy’s well being points might compromise his health for the presidency, Stefanie Spear, a spokeswoman for the Kennedy marketing campaign, informed The Occasions, “That could be a hilarious suggestion, given the competitors.”

The marketing campaign declined to offer his medical data to The Occasions. Neither President Biden nor Mr. Trump has launched medical data on this election cycle. Nevertheless, the White Home put out a six-page well being abstract for President Biden in February. Mr. Trump launched a three-paragraph assertion from his physician in November.

On Wednesday afternoon, hours after this text was revealed, Mr. Kennedy posted a remark on his X profile. “I supply to eat 5 extra mind worms and nonetheless beat President Trump and President Biden in a debate,” the submit learn. “I really feel assured within the end result even with a six-worm handicap.”

Docs who’ve handled parasitic infections and mercury poisoning mentioned each circumstances can generally completely harm mind operate, however sufferers can also have momentary signs and mount a full restoration.

A few of Mr. Kennedy’s well being points have been revealed within the 2012 deposition, which he gave throughout divorce proceedings from his second spouse, Mary Richardson Kennedy. On the time, Mr. Kennedy was arguing that his incomes energy had been diminished by his cognitive struggles.

Mr. Kennedy supplied extra particulars, together with concerning the obvious parasite, within the cellphone interview with The Occasions, carried out when he was on the cusp of getting on his first state poll. His marketing campaign declined to reply follow-up questions.

Within the days after the 2010 name from NewYork-Presbyterian, Mr. Kennedy mentioned within the interview, he underwent a battery of exams. Scans over many weeks confirmed no change within the spot on his mind, he mentioned.

Docs finally concluded that the cyst they noticed on scans contained the stays of a parasite. Mr. Kennedy mentioned that he didn’t know the kind of parasite or the place he may need contracted it, although he suspected it may need been throughout a visit via South Asia.

A number of infectious illness consultants and neurosurgeons mentioned in separate interviews with The Occasions that, primarily based on what Mr. Kennedy described, they believed it was doubtless a pork tapeworm larva. The docs haven’t handled Mr. Kennedy and have been talking typically.

Dr. Clinton White, a professor of infectious ailments on the College of Texas Medical Department in Galveston, mentioned microscopic tapeworm eggs are sticky and simply transferred from one particular person to a different. As soon as hatched, the larvae can journey within the bloodstream, he mentioned, “and find yourself in every kind of tissues.”

Although it’s unattainable to know, he added that it’s unlikely {that a} parasite would eat part of the mind, as Mr. Kennedy described. Relatively, Dr. White mentioned, it survives on vitamins from the physique. In contrast to tapeworm larvae within the intestines, these within the mind stay comparatively small, a couple of third of an inch.

Some tapeworm larvae can dwell in a human mind for years with out inflicting issues. Others can wreak havoc, typically once they begin to die, which causes irritation. The commonest signs are seizures, complications and dizziness.

There are roughly 2,000 hospitalizations for the situation, referred to as neurocysticercosis, annually in the USA, in line with the journal Rising Infectious Ailments.

Scott Gardner, curator of the Manter Laboratory for Parasitology on the College of Nebraska-Lincoln, mentioned that after any worm is in a mind, cells calcify round it. “And also you’re going to mainly have nearly like a tumor that’s there without end. It’s not going to go anyplace.”

Dr. Gardner mentioned it was attainable a worm would trigger reminiscence loss. Nevertheless, extreme reminiscence loss is extra typically related to one other well being scare Mr. Kennedy mentioned he had on the time: mercury poisoning.

Mr. Kennedy mentioned he was then subsisting on a eating regimen heavy on predatory fish, notably tuna and perch, each identified to have elevated mercury ranges. Within the interview with The Occasions, he mentioned that he had skilled “extreme mind fog” and had bother retrieving phrases. Mr. Kennedy, an environmental lawyer who has railed towards the risks of mercury contamination in fish from coal-fired energy vegetation, had his blood examined.

He mentioned the exams confirmed his mercury ranges have been 10 occasions what the Environmental Safety Company considers protected.

On the time, Mr. Kennedy additionally was just a few years into his campaign towards thimerosal, a mercury-containing preservative utilized in some vaccines. He’s a longtime vaccine skeptic who has falsely linked childhood inoculations to an increase in autism, in addition to to different medical circumstances.

Within the interview, Mr. Kennedy mentioned he was sure his eating regimen had prompted the poisoning. I cherished tuna fish sandwiches. I ate them on a regular basis,” he mentioned.

The Occasions described Mr. Kennedy’s signs to Elsie Sunderland, an environmental chemist at Harvard who has not spoken to Mr. Kennedy and responded typically concerning the situation.

She mentioned the mercury ranges that Mr. Kennedy described have been excessive, however not shocking for somebody consuming that amount and kind of seafood.

Mr. Kennedy mentioned he made adjustments after these two well being scares, together with getting extra sleep, touring much less and lowering his fish consumption.

He additionally underwent chelation remedy, a remedy that binds to metals within the physique to allow them to be expelled. It’s typically given to folks contaminated by metals, similar to lead and zinc, in industrial accidents. Dr. Sunderland mentioned that when mercury poisoning is clearly diet-related, she would merely suggest that the particular person cease consuming fish. However one other physician who spoke to The Occasions mentioned she would advise chelation remedy for the degrees Mr. Kennedy mentioned he had.

Mr. Kennedy’s coronary heart concern started in faculty, he mentioned, when it began beating out of sync.

In 2001 he was admitted to a hospital in Seattle whereas on the town to present a speech, in line with information reviews. He was handled, and launched the following day. He was hospitalized a minimum of three further occasions between September 2011 and early 2012, together with as soon as in Los Angeles, he mentioned within the deposition. On that go to, he mentioned, docs used a defibrillator to shock his coronary heart to reset the rhythm.

He mentioned within the deposition that stress, caffeine and a scarcity of sleep triggered the situation. “It seems like there’s a bag of worms in my chest. I can really feel instantly when it goes out,” he mentioned.

He additionally mentioned within the deposition and the interview that he had contracted hepatitis C via intravenous drug use in his youth. He mentioned he had been handled and had no lingering results from the an infection.

Mr. Kennedy has spoken publicly about one different main well being situation — spasmodic dysphonia, a neurological dysfunction that causes his vocal cords to squeeze too shut collectively and explains his hoarse, generally strained voice.

He first observed it when he was 42 years previous, he mentioned within the deposition. Mr. Kennedy for years made a big amount of cash giving speeches, and that enterprise fell off because the situation worsened, he mentioned.

He informed an interviewer final yr that he had lately undergone a process out there in Japan to implant titanium between his vocal cords to maintain them from involuntarily constricting.

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