Presidential Candidate Says Doctors Found a Worm in His Brain

Despite going to lengths to prove his physical edge over the presidential frontrunners, third-party candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has had some bizarre health conditions — including, as he claims, a dead brain worm.

As the New York Times reports, based on divorce deposition documents it acquired, RFK Jr. began seeking medical attention from multiple practitioners in 2010 after he developed cognitive issues so severe he feared he had a brain tumor.

While preparing for a procedure at Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina — from the same brain surgeon who operated on his late uncle, Edward "Ted" Kennedy, no less — the younger political scion got a call from one of his neurologists at NewYork-Presbyterian.

According to that doctor, the dark spot on his brain scans was less likely a tumor than a "worm that got into my brain and ate a portion of it and then died," the conspiracist candidate said when being deposed during his divorce from his second wife, Mary Richardson Kennedy. During those 2012 proceedings, the political scion claimed that his ex was owed less alimony because his earning potential had been impacted by his health issues.

Around the time he was told he had a dead parasite posted up in his brain, Kennedy was also diagnosed with mercury poisoning, which is known to cause significant neurological damage, including memory loss and cognitive issues.

"I have cognitive problems, clearly," Kennedy said in the 2012 divorce deposition. "I have short-term memory loss, and I have longer-term memory loss that affects me."

During his 2010 health scare, Kennedy was, as he admitted to the NYT in a recent interview, eating a lot of tuna and perch, which are both known to be high in mercury. Once he began experiencing "severe brain fog," as he put it, he got his blood tested for mercury and found that his levels were 10 times the Environmental Protection Agency's safety threshold.

An environmental lawyer by trade, Kennedy has long raged against thimerosal, a preservative that contains mercury that's present in some vaccines. In early 2013, he also began to campaign against fish mercury contamination from coal-fired plants as well.

As he told the newspaper, the brain problems subsided after he stopped eating so much fish and underwent chelation therapy, which expels heavy metals like mercury, arsenic, lead, and zinc from the body. He also told the NYT that he had no side effects from the parasite, the specific type of which he claims not to know, and that it did not require treatment.

According to experts who spoke to the Times, it's unlikely that a tapeworm or other parasitic worm would eat part of the brain and that Kennedy would no longer have had cognitive problems if it stayed in his head without treatment.

Scott Gardner of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Manter Laboratory for Parasitology explained that once a parasite is inside the brain, cells calcify around and, essentially, make it "almost like a tumor that’s there forever."

The parasitologist said that although it's possible a parasite in the brain could cause memory loss, that side effect is much more common with mercury poisoning.

When the NYT asked Kennedy's campaign if his health problems might make him unfit for the presidency, his spokesperson Stefanie Spear quipped that the suggestion was "hilarious... given the competition."

More on brain worms: Neuralink Cofounder Says He Quit Because Of Safety Concerns