Medical Worms can cure allergies?


    There is plenty of evidence that hook worms in the gut have a profound effect on the immune system.

    Would it be safe to infect oneself with such a worm, if you have allergies?
  2. jcsd
  3. I would advise against it.
    And the guy who's pioneering this "treatment?"
    A bit of sniffling in the springtime is far preferable to hookworm infection. They are parasites, and do not involve themselves in a mutualistic relationship with their human hosts. Sensible people do not deliberately allow parasites to infest their digestive tracts. Especially since the immunosuppressive activity of these worms would leave you wide open to all types of other infections.
  4. Evo

    Staff: Mentor

    I have really bad allergies all year long, but I would rather take allergy medication than infect myself with worms. :uhh:
  5. Monique

    Monique 4,445
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    The worms are really small, I think not more than 1 mm in size. It is hypothesized that in the past we used to share our body with worms naturally, but due to the way we sterilize our food in modern time we lost this symbiosis.
  6. turbo

    turbo 7,063
    Gold Member

    If I thought that getting parasitized by intestinal worms would cure my chemical sensitivities, I'd do it in a heartbeat. People with Chron's disease can often get relief by ingesting pig whipworm, so the technique is not exactly new.
  7. In the past almost everyone got smallpox at some point in their life. Due to modern medicine we have lost this relationship with the smallpox virus.

    Sometimes change is good, and sometimes the "natural" way of human existence kind of sucks. An appeal to what is "natural" will not convince any rational person.
  8. Monique

    Monique 4,445
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    That's not what I said. The hypothesis of symbiosis is that both organisms benefit from each other.

    Research will have to tell us what the best options are. And as turbo-1 said, there are situations where you are willing to take a risk in order to lead a more comfortable life.
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