Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. claimed that a doctor found a dead worm in his brain over a decade ago, according to a deposition reviewed by The New York Times. But Kennedy’s campaign rejected claims that he is suffering any long-term effects on his mental clarity.

In a 2012 deposition given by Kennedy during divorce proceedings from his second wife, Kennedy claimed that doctors found a dark spot on Kennedy’s brain scans that they suspected was a tumor.

Kennedy said at the time that he suffered from memory loss and fogginess.

“I have cognitive problems, clearly,” he said in 2012, according to The Times. “I have short-term memory loss, and I have longer-term memory loss that affects me.”

He was scheduled for a surgery at Duke University Medical Center to remove what doctors thought was a tumor — by the same doctor who had performed brain surgery for his uncle, Senator Edward M. Kennedy — when he received a call from another doctor, who claimed that the dark sport was not a tumor; it was a worm.

A doctor at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, Kennedy says, told him that the spot on his brain scans “was caused by a worm that got into my brain and ate a portion of it and then died.”

In an interview with The New York Times, the now-70-year-old said that the parasite did not require any treatment and that he no longer suffers from memory loss or fogginess.

Kennedy’s press team said that he “traveled extensively in Africa, South America, and Asia in his work as an environmental advocate, and in one of those locations contracted a parasite,” according to a statement to USA Today. “The issue was resolved more than 10 years ago, and he is in robust physical and mental health.”

Other health issues

Kennedy has suffered from a variety of health issues including atrial fibrillation, which is an is an irregular heart beat, or an arrhythmia.

In the same 2012 deposition in which Kennedy revealed that he had a parasite in his brain, he also claimed that he was diagnosed with mercury poisoning, which he believes was a result of a diet that was heavy on fish, according to Politico.

Kennedy told The Times that he started eating less fish and underwent chelation therapy, a procedure to remove metals from the body. Kennedy says he no longer suffers from brain fog, which he believes was caused, in part, by the mercury poisoning.


The presidential candidate also has spasmodic dysphonia, a rare neurological disorder that produces muscle spasms in the voice box, the Deseret News previously reported.

RFK Jr.’s big gamble

When The Times asked if any of his health issues would affect his ability to perform well as a president, a spokesperson for the Kennedy campaign responded: “That is a hilarious suggestion, given the competition.”

Kennedy on the ballot

Kennedy is officially on the ballot in five states: California, Delaware, Hawaii, Michigan and Utah.

According to CNN, Kennedy’s campaign says it has gathered enough signatures to put him on the ballot in five more states: Idaho, Iowa, Nebraska, Nevada and North Carolina.

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