Worms can cure allergies?

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  • Thread starter waht
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  • #1
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The allergic response evolved to help expel parasites, and we think the worms have found a way of switching off the immune system in order to survive,” he said. “That’s why infected people have fewer allergic symptoms.
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/01/health/research/01prof.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1

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?
 

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  • #2
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Would it be safe to infect oneself with such a worm, if you have allergies?
I would advise against it.
In the tropics, where it is common, hookworm kills 65,000 people a year and afflicts hundreds of thousands with anemia.
“If a kid is infected with 25 hookworms, he’s being robbed of his daily iron requirement, and because the worms suppress the immune system, they can increase the host’s susceptibility to diseases like AIDS and malaria,” Dr. Hotez said. “So in its current form, I think this therapy is too risky.”
And the guy who's pioneering this "treatment?"
I gave myself 50 worms, and I felt it,” he recounted. “I had stomach pains and diarrhea.
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.
 
  • #3
Evo
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I have really bad allergies all year long, but I would rather take allergy medication than infect myself with worms. :uhh:
 
  • #4
Monique
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I have really bad allergies all year long, but I would rather take allergy medication than infect myself with worms. :uhh:
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.
 
  • #5
turbo
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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.
 
  • #6
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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.
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.
 
  • #7
Monique
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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.
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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