Living worm found in woman's brain… what does it have to do with your diet?

Anisakis. The tip of a surgical forceps holding parasitic fish worms.
Anisakis. The tip of a surgical forceps holding parasitic fish worms. Photo credit Getty Images

As she pulled a wiggling, 3-inch worm from her patient’s brain, Australian neurosurgeon Hari Priya Bandi could hardly believe the sight before her.

“It’s like something out of a sci-fi movie,” said Dr. Adler R. Dillman – a professor of Parasitology and chair of the Department of Nematology at University of California, Riverside – referencing news stories about the parasite. He joined the “Something Offbeat” podcast this week to talk about the shocking discovery and what it has to do without diet.

Although the thought of a live worm hanging out in any of our brains is likely enough to make anyone shudder, Dillman explained that there are ways to avoid getting most dangerous parasites. The professor also helped us gain some new appreciation for the parasite world.

“I think that it can be scary when you just think about what they’re capable of doing,” Dillman said. “But… when you start to spend time really looking at what they can teach us about evolution, about biology, about how life finds a way to do a variety of different things, you get past that scary part and it just becomes fascinating.”

Each week, “Something Offbeat” takes a deeper look at an unusual headline. If you have suggestions for stories the podcast should cover, send them to us at

Featured Image Photo Credit: Getty Images