Louisiana’s state health department has issued a warning about the dangers of improperly using nasal-irrigation devices called neti pots, responding to two recent deaths in the state that are thought to have resulted from “brain-eating amoebas” entering people’s brains through their sinuses while they were using the devices.
Obviously the phrase “brain-eating amoebas” stands out. Anyway, what happens when you improperly pour water up your sinuses?
[R]apidly progressive dementia, leading to memory loss, personality changes and hallucinations. This is accompanied by physical problems such as speech impairment, jerky movements (myoclonus), balance and coordination dysfunction (ataxia), changes in gait, rigid posture, and seizures. The duration of the disease varies greatly, but sporadic (non-inherited) CJD can be fatal within months or even weeks (Johnson, 1998). In some people, the symptoms can continue for years. In most patients, these symptoms are followed by involuntary movements and the appearance of an atypical diagnostic electroencephalogram tracing. Most victims die 6 months after initial symptoms appear, often of pneumonia due to impaired coughing reflexes. About 15% of patients survive 2 or more years.