Tajie Harris, PhD, Featured in The New York Times and Time Discussing Brain Parasites

May 21, 2024 by

Tajie Harris, PhD

Tajie Harris, PhD

Tajie Harris, PhD, an associate professor in the Department of Neuroscience, was recently featured in The New York Times and Time discussing the effects of parasites on the human brain.

Surprisingly, brain parasites don’t always cause serious issues, says Dr. Harris, an associate professor of neuroscience at the University of Virginia School of Medicine who has studied brain parasites. “We acquire a lot of infections that we never really notice or attribute to these viruses or parasites that do end up in our brains for the long-term,” she says. “Most of them go into this dormant state and cause us no problems in our lifetime.”

When people do experience symptoms, which can be treated with antiparasitic medications in combination with antibiotics, they may develop flu-like muscle aches and swollen glands. Severe toxoplasmosis, which is most common among infants and people who are seriously immunocompromised, can result in damage to the brain, eyes, and other organs.

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