Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Says Doctors Found a Dead Worm in His Brain

In a 2012 deposition, the 70-year-old revealed that a parasitic worm “got into my brain and ate a portion of it and then died”

<p>John Lamparski/Getty </p> Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

John Lamparski/Getty

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the son of the late Robert F. Kennedy and a controversial anti-vaccine activist, says doctors suspected a worm ate part of his brain, according to a new report from The New York Times.

In a 2012 deposition, the 70-year-old detailed a number of his past health issues, including some of the neurological symptoms he started experiencing in 2010.

After struggling with severe memory loss and brain fog, doctors became concerned when one of his brain scans showed a dark spot, which neurologists believed was a brain tumor.

However, before a scheduled surgery to remove the suspected tumor, another doctor at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital told Kennedy that they believed the mass was actually the remains of a dead parasite.

Kennedy said in the deposition that the dark spot on his brain scans were “caused by a worm that got into my brain and ate a portion of it and then died,” per the The Times. He noted that he isn’t positive how he contracted the worm but believes it happened during a trip to Southeast Asia at the time.

Related: Surgeon Finds Live 3-Inch Worm in Woman’s Brain After She Becomes ‘Accidental Host’

Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

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Kennedy — who is known for spouting debunked misinformation about COVID-19 and vaccinations — said the effects of the parasite didn’t require treatment.

Although he was able to recover, he said his cognitive symptoms may have been caused by elevated mercury levels, perhaps from his diet and an overconsumption of seafood. Blood tests showed his mercury levels were 10 times higher than what the Environmental Protection Agency considers safe.

According to the Center for Disease Control, large amounts of methylmercury (organic mercury largely linked to eating seafood, but mainly fish) eaten over weeks to months can cause damage to the nervous system.

Symptoms of mercury poisoning, which often builds up over time, include depression, anxiety, tremors, irritability, memory issues, muscle weakness, vision changes, and trouble with speech or hearing, according to Healthline. It can also cause permanent brain damage.

While all fish contain some mercury, larger fish tend to have higher levels of the toxic metal.

In the interview with The Times, he said he had recovered from the memory loss and fogginess and had no aftereffects from the parasite, which he said had not required treatment. Asked last week if any of Mr. Kennedy’s health issues could compromise his fitness for the presidency, Stefanie Spear, a spokeswoman for the Kennedy campaign, told The Times, “That is a hilarious suggestion, given the competition.”

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