Livin' on the MDedge

Air-conditioned cognition, brain worm, and six-fingered success


Cooking up controversy

Women signing the Opioid Project's spoon sculpture Domenic Esposito

Women signing the Opioid Project's spoon sculpture

If you had a giant spoon, what would you do with it?

Boston artist Domenic Esposito has just such a spoon – being an artist, he made it himself – and he’s been using it to draw attention to the opioid use disorder crisis by placing it “on the doorsteps of corporations and individuals whose recklessness and irresponsibility have fueled the epidemic,” according to the spoon’s website, The Opioid Spoon Project.

Since its creation, the 800-lb, 10.5-foot-long steel heroin spoon has visited Purdue Pharma headquarters in Stamford, Conn. – the spoon was hauled off by the city and taken to a police evidence lot – and Rhodes Pharmaceuticals in Coventry, R.I.

More recently, Mr. Esposito has taken the spoon on a 14-city “Honor Tour.” At each stop, individuals have the opportunity to sign the spoon in memory of “those who have lost their opioid addiction battles.”

The tour, which began in Marlborough, Mass., on May 11 and has been to such cities as Providence, R.I., and Boston, ends on June 7 in Rockville, Md., which happens to be the home of LOTME world headquarters. So, who doesn’t want to see a spoon over 10 feet long?

Worms on (or in) my mind

A colorful illustration of the brain MarkRyanDesigns/Getty Images

It sounds like a bad riddle: What looks like a brain tumor, acts like a brain tumor, but isn’t a brain tumor?

Rachel Palma, a 42-year-old woman from Middletown, N.Y., had the joy of finding out the answer.

For months, she’d been having strange symptoms: hallucinations, nightmares, trouble remembering words, memory blackouts, occasional loss of motor control. Her doctors were stumped, until they performed an MRI of her brain, discovering a marble-sized lesion in her brain. Another MRI, performed with contrast, caused the lesion to light up, a surefire sign of a malignant brain tumor. Treatment would require surgery, then chemo and radiation therapy.

But when the surgeons opened her head, they were greeted not with a tumor, but with something they described as looking “like a quail egg.” The object was removed and opened up, and to the delight of the doctors, a tapeworm popped out.

The condition – neurocysticercosis – is common in developing countries but rare in the United States. We won’t share all the details on how tapeworms end up in the brain, but needless to say, poor washing of hands is involved.

On the one hand, Mrs. Palma has made a full recovery with no need for chemo or radiation. On the other hand, she had a tapeworm in her brain. Somehow, she’s managed to make the brain tumor seem like the less unpleasant option. And for that, we salute her.

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