Pot plant turned man’s brain to ‘liquid’
A man has died just days after being exposed to contaminated soil while he was potting plants, causing his brain to turn to "liquid".
The 82-year-old had caught a rare infection caused by free-living amoebas (FLA) which is commonly found in soil.
He was feeling weak for two weeks before going to a hospital emergency department.
He also had a history of B-cell lymphoma, a type of blood cancer, but had been in remission for more than a decade.
A day after admission, the patient then became weak on his right side, and developed an "altered mental status", researchers from Emory University in Atlanta wrote in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Despite receiving treatment for bacterial, fungal and viral meningitis, the patient's condition worsened where he began to have seizures and experienced drowsiness.
It came after an MRI scan had revealed he also had an abnormality in his left frontal lobe which helps control language related movement.
Two days later, a second scan showed he had a large lesion in the temporal lobe.
The elderly man died nine days after being admitted to a hospital, the report read, however it did not disclose which hospital or where the man lived.
An autopsy revealed he died from "liquefactive necrosis" in part of his brain. It's when the tissue transforms into a thick liquid mass.
It also identified an acanthamoeba species, which allowed doctors to diagnose him with granulomatous amoebic encephalitis - a rare, and usually fatal, central nervous system disease caused by free-living amoebas.
"The amoeba is transmitted through contact with soil or fresh water," doctors wrote in the report.
"Discussion with the patient's wife revealed only an exposure to soil from potted-plant maintenance."
Originally published as Pot plant turned man's brain to 'liquid'