1. Health
Peter Pressman, M.D.

Your Brain Isn't Safe...

By October 30, 2012

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For the Halloween season, I've been writing about the relationship between brains and zombies. Just because zombies aren't real, though, doesn't mean your brain is actually safe. There are many different types of infectious diseases that can affect your nervous system.

An aseptic meningitis is one of the most common neurological infections. While these are usually due to viruses, other agents such as fungi can also cause meningitis.

A meningitis involves inflammation of the tissues surrounding the brain. If the brain itself gets involved, the result is an encephalitis, which can cause seizures, confusion, and other neurological deficits. These kinds of problems can be caused by almost any kind of infectious agent, including parasites like neurocysticercosis .

In addition to viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites, certain proteins called prions can cause infectious diseases as well. Examples include Creutzfeldt-Jakob and more exotic diseases such as kuru.

After watching a scary movie, you may be afraid to enter a dark room. After reading these articles, you may not want to go anywhere outside of a protective plastic bubble. For the most part, you needn't worry-- our immune system has adapted to handle most of these threats to our central nervous system. On the other hand, washing your hands certainly doesn't hurt...

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