RFK Jr.: About That Worm That Ate My Brain...

Candidate denies lasting effects as 'NYT' exposes various previously unknown health issues
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted May 8, 2024 9:08 AM CDT
RFK Jr.: About That Worm That Ate My Brain...
Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. speaks to supporters during a campaign event, Sunday, April 21, 2024, in Royal Oak, Mich.   (AP Photo/Jose Juarez)

At age 70, independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has touted himself as "the model of virility" up against older, less robust rivals, per MSNBC. All the while, he's been keeping mum on his claim that, as the New York Times reports, a worm ate part of his brain. Kennedy was experiencing mental fog and memory loss in 2010 when he underwent brain scans. Several top neurologists believed he had a brain tumor. But as Kennedy explained in a 2012 deposition, one doctor told him the abnormality "was caused by a worm that got into my brain and ate a portion of it and then died."

Around the same time, Kennedy was diagnosed with mercury poisoning, a condition linked to serious neurological issues, likely as a result of eating too much fish, the Times reports. "I have cognitive problems, clearly," Kennedy said in the deposition as part of divorce proceedings, in which he argued his earnings power was negatively affected by his health problems. "I have short-term memory loss, and I have longer-term memory loss," he said. He also described contracting hepatitis C through intravenous drug use as a young person, but said there were no lingering effects.

Kennedy tells the Times he didn't require treatment for the worm in his brain, possibly acquired during a trip to Asia, cut back on eating tuna and perch, and has now recovered from his memory issues. Though he previously suffered from atrial fibrillation for decades, and was hospitalized four times between 2001 and 2012, he also claims that condition has resolved. Asked if his health problems compromised his fitness for the presidency, a rep said it was "a hilarious suggestion, given the competition." But the candidate's critiques of his rivals—and demand that Biden prove he has the "mental acuity" for another term—are now viewed in a new light. (More Robert F. Kennedy Jr. stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.