Magnetic resonance image of a patient with neurocysticercosis demonstrating multiple cysticerci within the brain.

Neurocysticercosis is a specific form of the infectious parasitic disease cysticercosis which is caused by infection with Taenia solium, a tapeworm found in pigs. Neurocysticercosis occurs when cysts formed by the infection grow within the brain causing neurologic syndromes such as epileptic seizures. It has been called a "hidden epidemic"[1] and "arguably the most common parasitic disease of the human nervous system".[2]

Cysticercosis in the United States, which commonly presents in the form of neurocysticercosis, has been classified as a "neglected tropical disease"[3] which commonly affects the poor and homeless. Neurocysticercosis most commonly involves the cerebral cortex followed by cerebellum. Pituitary is very rarely involved in neurocysticercosis. The cysts may rarely coalesce and form a tree like pattern which is known as racemose neurocysticercosis, which when involving the pituitary may result in multiple pituitary hormone deficiency.[4]


  1. ^ Zimmer, Carl (2012-05-15). "Hidden Epidemic: Tapeworms Living Inside People's Brains". Discover Magazine. 
  2. ^ White, A. C. (1997). "Neurocysticercosis: A Major Cause of Neurological Disease Worldwide". Clinical Infectious Diseases 24 (2): 101–13; quiz 114–5. PMID 9114131. doi:10.1093/clinids/24.2.101. 
  3. ^ Hotez, Peter J. (2014). "Neglected Parasitic Infections and Poverty in the United States". PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 8 (9): e3012. PMC 4154650. PMID 25188455. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0003012. 
  4. ^ Dutta, Deep; Kumar, Manoj; Ghosh, Sujoy; Mukhopadhyay, Satinath; Chowdhury, Subhankar (2013). "Pituitary hormone deficiency due to racemose neurocysticercosis". The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology 1 (2): e13. PMID 24622323. doi:10.1016/S2213-8587(13)70026-3.