Posts Tagged ‘Necator Americanus’

We Need Our Symbiotes

Monday, December 14th, 2009

My next post will be on avoiding food poisoning, but before I post on that issue I need to point out that there obviously exists a balance between living in disease causing filth and being obsessively hygienic.  A lot of research suggests that we need various probiotics in order to be healthy, and that a large number of health problems occur because we have cleaned up our environment so thoroughly that we don’t have the necessary symbiotes in our bodies any more. 

The hygiene hypothesis seems to be gradually being refined into what has been called the Old Friends Hypothesis.  The shift is from one of believing that we benefit from infections with various organisms in general sort of way, to saying that bad organisms are bad for us, and good organisms (symbiotes) are good for us.  So, obviously we should try to avoid the bad ones and seek out the good ones.  Here are two previous blog posts of mine that touch on this issue The Umami Hypothesis – Lost Wanderer and Apitherapy & Biotherapy – Lost Wanderer

Here is a general survey of some of this material by Gut Buddies: ‘Friendly’ bacteria: side-lined healers - Gut Buddies (Some of the friendly bacteria (and products) referred to by Gut Buddies in this post are: segmented filamentous bacterium, Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium animalis, Bifidobacterium infantis 35624, Puritan’s Pride, Lactobacillus reuteriB. infantis 35624, Lactobacillus F19, L. acidophilus NCFB 1748 and B. lactis Bb12, Advanced Oral Hygiene with S. salivarius and B. coagulans, PerioBalance with Lactobacillus reuteri Prodentis, Halofuginone, and Bacillus polyfermenticus). 

Helminths (hookworms and whipworms, etc.) have been apparently very effective in helping with numerous allergic and autoimmune conditions, including allergies, asthma, autism, Crohn’s Disease, Eczema, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Multiple Sclerosis, Psoriasis, Sjögren’s Syndrome, and Ulcerative Colitis. (AutoimmuneTherapies) (Hookworms are our Little Friends - Lost Wanderer)

Similar immune-modifying symbiote-based therapies might help with many other diseases and conditions: 

Alzheimer’s (Alzheimer’s Inflammation May Trigger Alzheimer’s Disease via Autoimmune & biotherapy news 2009/7/9 – Gut Buddies) (See also: Alzheimer’s – Lost Wanderer)

Aortic dissection (Inflammation Critical in Aortic Dissection, Researchers Find via The worm’s next success? – Gut Buddies)

Autism (Autism May Be Linked to Mom’s Autoimmune Disease (type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and celiac disease) via Autoimmune & biotherapy news 2009/7/9 – Gut Buddies) (See also: The Vitamin D Theory of Autism – Lost Wanderer)

Dental Issues (Probiotic lozenges promote oral health - Gut Buddies (GUM PerioBalance (Lactobacillus reuteri Prodentis) and Advanced Oral Hygiene lozenges (S. salivarius and B. coagulans)

Depression (Is Dirt the New Prozac? by Josie Glausiusz (concerning the common soil bacterium, Mycobacterium vaccae)

Diabetes (Diabetes- Lost Wanderer)

Diarrhea (Kefir benefits the sickest young children on antibiotics - Gut Buddies)

Flatulence Odor (You Can be a God/Goddess – Lost Wanderer (Odafree/Whiff withYucca Shidgera from desert Yucca, Fructo-oligosacharides from Jerusalem artichokes, and Copper Chlorophyllin from alfalfa. Local inventor clearing the air on pill that helps you breathe)

Gastric reflux (Reflux Esophagitis Due to Immune Reaction, Not Acute Acid Burn via The worm’s next success? – Gut Buddies)

Migraine Headaches (Migraine Headaches - Lost Wanderer)

Narcolepsy (Narcolepsy Is An Autoimmune Disorder, Stanford Researcher Says via Autoimmune & biotherapy news 2009/7/9 – Gut Buddies)

Obesity (Study Confirms: Your Hidden Food Allergies Are Making You Fat via Give microbes to mum for less-allergic young - Gut Buddies)

(Probiotics may reduce belly fat in women (Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium) via Obesity As An Immune Disorder – Matt Metzgar)

(Early differences in fecal microbiota composition in children may predict overweight (Staphylococcus aureus) via Obesity As An Immune Disorder II – Matt Metzgar)

(Childhood: Food Allergies May Be Linked to Obesity by Nicholas Bakalar and The Effect of The ALCAT Test Diet Therapy for Food Sensitivity in Patient’s With Obesity via Obesity As An Immune Disorder III – Matt Metzgar)

(Obesity – extending the hygiene hypothesis via Microflora - Matt Metzgar)

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (Link Discovered Between Antibodies To Strep Throat Bacteria And Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (and Tourette syndrome) In Mice (Group A beta-hemolytic streptoccoccus (GABHS)) via The worm’s next success? – Gut Buddies

Schizophrenia (Schizophrenia - Lost Wanderer) (Immune System Activated in Schizophrenia via The worm’s next success? – Gut Buddies)

Vaginosis (Bacterial vaginosis treatments: Probiotics can increase effectiveness of some antibiotic therapies via Autoimmune & biotherapy news 2009/7/9 - Gut Buddies)

Recently, Matt Metzgar has been posting a lot on the topics of probiotics (1) and prebiotics.  Matt began by pointing out the site Paleobiotics, which discusses how the ancient diet influenced people’s gut flora.  The diets of hunter gatherers would have had a lot of indigestible fibers in them, which were instead consumed by our gut bacteria.  Since we no long eat this sort of diet we harbor somewhat different colonies of bacteria, to the likely detriment of our health.  Matt points out that in one study (Can vegetables help you resist infection?) that men who took prebiotics massively increased their good gut bacteria, but the group only taking a probiotic didn’t benefit very much. (See also: Eat Bugs. Not Too Much. Mainly With Plants via Prebiotics versus Probiotics - Matt Metzgar) 

Conditions that Matt talks about that might be influenced by the types of bacteria we harbor include:

Allergies  (The role of Probiotics in allergic diseases, Maternal breast-milk and intestinal bifidobacteria guide the compositional development of the Bifidobacterium microbiota in infants at risk of allergic disease, (bifidobacteria) Babies, Bacteria and Breast Milk: Genome Sequence Reveals Evolutionary Alliance (Bifidobacterium longum supsp. infantis) via Balancing Bacteria - Matt Metzgar and Babies and Bacteria – Matt Metzgar)

Anxiety, in patients with chronic fatigue (A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study of a probiotic in emotional symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome (Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria) via Probiotics and Mood – Matt Metzgar)

Chronic diarrhea (Don’t poo-poo technique: Fecal transplant can cure superbug, doctors say via Transplanting Good Bacteria - Matt Metzgar)

Cold and flu symptoms in children (Probiotic effects on cold and influenza-like symptom incidence and duration in children, (Lactobacillus acidophilus or L acidophilus NCFM in combination with Bifidobacterium animalis) and HOWARU  (Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli) via Probiotics for Children – Matt Metzgar)

Dental Issues (EvoraPlus via Probiotics and Oral Health - Matt Metzgar)

(The effects of manuka honey on plaque and gingivitis: a pilot study, Streptococcus mutans in saliva of normal subjects and neck and head irradiated cancer subjects after consumption of honey via Honey and Oral Health - Matt Metzgar)

(Peelu, Comparative effect of chewing sticks and toothbrushing on plaque removal and gingival health, Subgingival plaque microbiota in Saudi Arabians after use of miswak chewing stick and toothbrush, Chewing sticks versus toothbrushes via Chewing on Fiber II - Matt Metzgar)

(Toothbrushing with vegetable oil: a clinical and laboratorial analysis via Brushing with Vegetables - Matt Metzgar)

(Dietary fiber intake and dental health status in urban-marginal, and rural communities in central Mexico  and A longitudinal study of the relationship between diet intake and dental caries and periodontal disease in elderly Japanese subjects via Chewing on Fiber - Matt Metzgar)

(See also: Dental Related Information – Lost Wanderer)

Hypertension (The Improvement of Hypertension by Probiotics: Effects on Cholesterol, Diabetes, Renin, and Phytoestrogens via Hypertension and Probiotics – Matt Metzgar)

(1) In addition to the conditions mentioned in this post, probiotics might also help with such things as lactose intolerance, colon cancer, cholesterol, improving immune function and preventing infections, improving mineral absorption, preventing harmful bacterial growth under stress, and managing urogenital health.  (Probiotic – Wikipedia)

Migraine Headaches

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

I’ve had migraines all my life. (Migraine – Wikipedia, Migraine)  Because of this, I’m interested in new treatments and theories as they come along, and the most interesting idea I’ve run across regarding migraines is that they are an allergic phenomenon.

In one study, Jean Monro, MD, of Hereforshire, England, reports that 100% of a group of 282 patients were found to have food allergies related to migraine headaches.  Over 200 of her subjects turned out to be allergic to wheat or dairy products, or both.  The other most common triggers were tea, oranges, apples, onions, pork, and beef.  Monro, et al., found that the usual suspects, cheeses, alcohol, and chocolate weren’t that important; while perfume, gasoline, cigarette smoke, and other such fume sources could be significant triggers.  Reducing the patient’s total allergic load was usually sufficient to control the migraines, although vaccinations were sometime also used.  (To head off an attack Monro also recommends taking oxygen, alkaline salts (1), and buffered vitamin C.) (Migraine Headaches and Food)

In another study supporting this idea, 2/3 of severe migrainers were found to be allergic to some foods.  (Food allergy in migraine.  Study of dietary exclusion and RAST by Monro, et al.)  And in yet another, 36 of 45 children had some response to dietary modifications. (Oligoantigenic diet treatment of children with epilepsy and migraine by Egger J. et al.) (2)  (Studies Bolster Link of Food and Migraines by Sandra Blakeslee)

(Given the food-migraine connection, I have to put in another plug for the Paleolithic Diet.  Even though some of the foods in it are listed above, wheat and dairy products aren’t, and I suspect it might do a lot of migrainers quite a bit of good to try it.)

If I take a quick look at what might explain at least part of the connection between migraines and allergies, a major candidate that stands out is histamine.  Histamine is a biogenic amine, which is involved in allergic reactions, and increased levels of histamine correlate with migraine headaches in vulnerable patients.  (Histamine – Wikipedia, Migraine Headaches – The role of antihistamine therapy in vascular headaches by MansfieldA correlation between migraine , histamine and immunoglobulin e. by Gazereni P, et al.)  Further evidence for this connection comes from the fact that migraine headache sufferers are especially prone to motion sickness, and Antivert, an antihistamine, is often prescribed for motion sickness.  And in another study daily doses of three antioxidants reduced migraines. (And antioxidants are useful in both treating the allergic phenomenon of asthma, and in reducing histamine levels.)  (Important Antioxidants for Asthma Relief by Rudy Silva)  Dr. Sirichai Chayasirisobhon gave patients pine bark extract, and vitamin C and E for three months, with a resulting 50.6% improvement in their MIDAS scores.  (Use of a Pine Bark Extract and Antioxidant Vitamin Combination Product as Therapy for Migraine in Patients Refractory to Pharmacologic Medication, Enzogenol)  Also, Butterbur is a natural antihistamine, which is used to treat both migraines and asthma.  (ButterburResearch.org)

Migraines also overlap with a host of immune related disorders, including fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple chemical sensitivity, restless leg syndrome, irritable bowl syndrome.  (Overlaps with Fibromyalgia, Irritable Bowl Increases Risk of Other Conditions, High Risk of Migraine, Depression and Chronic Pain for IBS Sufferers, Large Study Shows.

(As a side note, it seems that there is some evidence that food allergies are not only connected to migraines, but could also be partly responsible for the obesity epidemic.  Study Confirms: Your Hidden Food Allergies are Making you Fat)

The connection between migraines and allergies also provides evidence that disorders that are comorbid with migraines might be partly allergic in origin.  Examples of these would include a number of mood related disorders, including depression, anxiety, panic attack, substance abuse disorders, and phobias.  (Mood Disorders, Migraines Might be Connected)  Migraines are associated with skin sensitivity and pain. (Migraine Increase Risk of Severe Skin Sensitivity and Pain)   Women with endometriosis are twice as likely to get migraines. (Common fertility condition linked to migraines)  Migraines are linked to blood clots in veins.  (Migraines Linked to Blood Clots in Veins)  Migraines might cause brain damage, and pose a stroke risk for women on the pill. (Do Migraines Cause Brain Damage? and Migraines and stroke risk, especially for women on the pill)  They are associated with retinopathy, and heart disease. (History of Migraines Associated with Increased Risk of Retinopathy and Migraines Associated with Increased Risk of Cardiovascular Disease)  Migraines are linked to sleep disorders in children. (Link Between Migraines and Sleep Disorders in Children)  In addition, migraines might explain the phenomenon of children who experience cyclic vomiting.  The theory is that instead of having the headache pain the children express the underlying disorder by vomiting repeatedly. (Cyclic Vomiting – Gabe Mirkin)

For anyone who has been following this blog, the connection of migraines with allergies obviously and strongly argues for using helminths (hookworms and whipworms) as a treatment.  (autoimmunetherapies.com)  With this in mind, I was treated with 50 hookworms some 18 months ago.  As a result my migraines have been reduced by about 50% in frequency, and 25% in intensity.  I also can now read in a moving car, which before the treatment would have made me nauseous.

Any explanation for migraine headaches is overwhelmingly likely to involve a network of interlinked causal pathways consisting of nonexclusive mitigating and aggravating factors, which will vary somewhat between individuals.  So it isn’t surprising that there are a number of other theories out there about migraine’s origin: 

One theory is that some migraines are triggered when opposite surfaces of nasal cavities rub against one another.  In a study based on this idea, after sinus surgery both the rate and intensity of migraines were significantly reduced.  (Nasal surgery hope for migraine

Another theory is that some cases of migraines are the result of a comparatively minor heart defect.  When a child is born the heart has to change its flow of blood circulation to include the lungs.  This change of blood flow requires closing off of a hole, the patent forum ova, between the two upper chambers of the heart.  In some people this doesn’t fully close, and surgery that closes it ends migraines in 80% of patients who have had the operation. (Plugging hole in heart slashes migraines)

For what it’s worth, migraine attacks are also associated with the weather. (Higher Temperatures, Lower Barometric Pressures Associated with…)

Here are three lists of the current standard treatments for migraines from WebMD, CureResearch.com, and Wrong Diagnosis. (Migraine Headache Treatment, Treatments for Migraine, Treatments for Migraine)

In addition to the above, other treatments which might give relief include:  

Researchers are experimenting with a Transcranial Magnetic Stimulator (TMS) used to fire magnetic pulses into a person’s head.  (Magnetic gun has cure for headaches in its sites by Michael Fox and Jonathan Leake)  From Gut Buddies, gumEase is a cryoanesthesia mouthpiece originally developed for dental anesthesia.  It fits over the teeth and cools them to -7 degrees C, which numbs the nerves, allowing dental procedures to be performed.  It turns out that it also stops migraine and tension headaches.  (CryoDevices, Olympic Dental and Medical Devices, Study to Determine Efficiency of gumEase…migraine)  Also from Gut Buddies, meditation has been found to be helpful for a wide variety of conditions, including migraines.  (foodsmatter.com – Meditation by John Scott, Lost_Wanderer – Meditation)  Exercise has been shown to reduce migraines. (Exercise Reduces Migraine Suffering, Study Finds)  A new drug, Levadex seems like a promising treatment. (Novel, Orally Inhaled Migraine Therapy is Effective, Study Shows)  The herbal medication Migrowin has been successfully used for migraines.  (Herbal Medication Relieves Painful Migraine Headaches)  Paradoxically folic acid (folate) has been recommended as a treatment for migraines, even though it can raise histamine levels. (Folic acid may offer relief for migraine sufferers, Rhyme of the Ancient Wanderer – Minerals and Vitamins…a breakdown)  Magnesium supplementation has been shown to reduce migraines. (Magnesium & Migraine by Christina Peterson)  Botox has been used with some success in treating migraines. (Chronic Migraine Patients may find Relief in Botox Therapy)  Having a forehead lift has been shown to be effective with some migraine patients. (New Hope for Migraine Sufferers: Forehead Lifts can Ease Years and Headaches)  

(Although it is not directly related to migraines, out of a concern for being thorough in my discussion of headaches, I feel the need to mention the idea that some people have been advocating the use of magic mushrooms as a treatment for cluster headaches. (Lost_Wanderer – Magic Mushrooms))

Finally, to end on a few positive notes, one study indicated that an actual benefit of migraines might be increased libido.  In it migrainers averaged 20% higher libido, which, in turn, was related to their reduced serotonin levels.  (Of course, this might help explain the migraine-depression connection noted earlier.)  (Yes, tonight darling, I have a headache by Karla Gale)  Migraine might protect your memory. (Does Migraine Protect Your Memory?)  And women who have migraines appear to have a lower risk of breast cancer. (Link Between Migraines and Reduced Breast Cancer Confirmed in Follow-up Study)

(1)  Alka-Seltzer Gold without aspirin, or two tablespoons of milk of magnesia, or 2 tablespoons of baking soda with one tablespoon of potassium bicarbonate in a pint of water.

(2)  An Oligoantigenic diet is a diet with the least possible risk of allergic reactions.

Diabetes

Saturday, September 12th, 2009

Summing this blog entry up, I would say that the likely major ways of greatly reducing your risk of diabetes boils down to: getting enough vitamin D, having helminths (hookworms and whipworms), eating a Paleolithic Diet, engaging in intermittent fasting, exercising, getting enough sleep in complete darkness, consuming curry, cinnamon, and cloves; and avoiding toxins.    

I previously blogged about the theory that in Type I diabetes the beta cells aren’t dead, but instead malfunctioning pain cells in the pancreas are preventing them from producing insulin.  (A Cure for Diabetes?)  Of course, there are a quite a few more ideas out there about the condition:

In Finland, a cohort of infants born in 1966 were given vitamin D supplements of up to 8,000 IU/day, and had about 1/3 the rate of type I diabetes as other cohort groups.  (Intake of vitamin D and risk of type I diabetes: a birth-cohort study)   Finland later adopted a level of vitamin D supplementation closer to that of the United States, and their population naturally has lower levels of sun exposure, so today the blood levels of vitamin D there are likely very low.  Today Finland is the diabetes capital of the world.  (Finnish epidemic offers clues to diabetes)  (See also: Vitamin D Council

Helminths might play a role in preventing diabetes through down regulating the immune system.  (Review series on helminths, immune regulation and the hygiene hypothesis) (See also: Hookworms are our Little Friends)

The nitrates in our foods might be risk factors for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and diabetes.  These nitrates are found especially in bacon, cured meats, and ground beef; but they are also in such products as beer, cheese, water, rubber and latex products, cosmetics, fertilizers, and pesticides.  (Processed foods linked to Alzheimer’s and diabetes)  Avoiding such foods supports the argument for the Paleolithic Diet, which according to one man’s experience cured his type II diabetes. (Paleo Diet – So Easy a Caveman Can Do It!)  The Paleolithic Diet people argue that the high glycemic foods we eat cause chronic hyperinsulinemia, which leads to a host of diseases, including diabetes. (Hyperinsulinemic diseases of civilization: more than just Syndrome X)  Advocates of the sweetener Xylitol argue that it is ideal for diabetic patients.  (The Sweet Miracle of Xylitol, and Xylitol)  Celiac disease, which is an autoimmune disease caused by an immune reaction to the gluten found in grains,  is associated with a number of conditions, including diabetes, short stature, infertility, and anemia.  (Largest Study Ever Finds That One Out of Every 133 Americans May Have Celiac Disease

Intermittent fasting can help prevent diabetes and brain deterioration.  (Meal Skipping Helps Resist Diabetes, Brain Damage, and Posts Tagged ‘Intermittent Fasting’)

Exercise reduces the risk of diabetes through weight control, growth factor changes, and the reduction of inflammation. (Exercise builds brain health: key roles of growth factor cascades and inflammation, and Changes in Vigorous Physical Activity and Incident Diabetes in Male Runners)  In one study, multiple short duration exercise sessions of 3 x 10 min/day are superior to 1 x 30 min/day in glycemic control.  Cardiovascular fitness improvements were similar for the two groups.  (Comparison of the effect of multiple short-duration with single long-duration exercise sessions on glucose homeostasis in type 2 diabetes mellitus)  Apparently 4 x 30 second sprints 3 times a week can greatly reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease.  (Short fast sprints ‘cut’ diabetes, and Extremely short duration high intensity interval training substantially improves insulin action in young healthy males)

Heavy snoring, sleep apnea, and insomnia have been implicated in cardiovascular diseases, cancers, and diabetes.  Researchers have found that losing even a single night’s sleep causes the immune system to turn against healthy tissues in an autoimmune reaction.  (Getting a Handle on Why We Sleep)  The book, Lights Out: Sleep, Sugar, and Survival argues that our lack and sleep, and especially darkness, fouls up our hormonal systems; this greatly contributes to such diseases as diabetes, depression, heart disease, and cancer.  The author advises getting enough sleep, and sleeping in total darkness. (See also: Posts Tagged ‘Sleep’

Nursing an infant reduces his/her later risk of diabetes, cancer, allergies, infections, and arthritis. (Nursing Mothers…But Still Best for Babies)

Men with short legs, possibly caused by malnutrition during their first three months of gestation in utero, are at increased risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease.  (Men with Short Legs More Likely to Suffer Heart Attacks

Large amounts of curry (turmeric) stops diabetes in diabetic mice.  (Curry for Diabetes)  Cinnamon and cloves improve risk factors for diabetes and heart disease.  (Cinnamon, Cloves Improve Insulin Function)  Dr. Richard A. Anderson found that doses of 1 to 6 grams of cinnamon daily improved blood profiles of diabetic patients.  (A Spoonful of Cinnamon Helps Treat Diabetes)

Exposure to pesticides and air pollution have both been linked to diabetes.  A major chemical accident happened in Seveso Italy, and years later those townspeople with higher levels of persistent organic pollutants in the fat in their bodies suffered much higher levels of type II diabetes.  (Could the diabetes epidemic be down to pollution?)  The use of the pesticide trichlorfon has been found to increase the risk of diabetes by 85%.  (Pesticides linked to diabetes risk)  Arsenic might be a risk factor for diabetes, since people with traces of it in their urine are more likely to suffer from it.  (Are Traces of Arsenic in Tap Water Linked to Diabetes?)

Gastric bypass can cause remission in Type II diabetes independently of weight loss or obesity.  What might be happening in that the upper intestines, the duodenum and jejunum, produce a regulatory hormone, anti-incretin, which is activated by the passage of food through this part of the intestine.  Anti-incretins lower the insulin level, and incretins raise it; and together they regulate its levels.  Researchers speculate that diabetics produce excess anti-incretin, which drives down their insulin, and block its action.  (Rethink On Cause of Type 2 Diabetes

The malarial drug hydroxychloroquine HCQ might prevent the development of diabetes in arthritic patients.  (Antimalarial Drug Prevents Diabetes in Arthritis Patients, Study Suggests)

The risk of getting Alzheimer’s doubles if a person has diabetes before age 65.  (Getting Diabetes Before 65 More Than Doubles Risk for Alzheimer’s Disease)  And Alzheimer’s might be a third form of diabetes.  (Discovery supports theory of Alzheimer’s disease as a form of diabetes)  (See also Alzheimer’s)  Children of mothers with autoimmune diseases, such as diabetes, arthritis, and celiac disease, have up to three times the risk of getting autism.  (From Gut Buddies, Autism May be Linked to Mom’s Autoimmune Disease)

It’s little surprise that misinformation regarding diabetes comes from our government, and it’s likely that the diabetic dietary guidelines recommend such a high level of grain consumption they actually increase your chances of becoming diabetic.  (The Best Way to Get Diabetes: Follow the Diabetes Dietary Guidelines)  Also, the GI index is very over simplified.  (GI Blues: What’s wrong with the GI Diet? Interindividual Variability and Intra-Individual Reproducibility of Glycemic Index Values for Commercial White BreadGlycemic Index Values Vary from One Test to the Next)  More misleading information comes from the book, The China Study, which concludes that there is a strong relationship between consuming animal products and numerous diseases, such as diabetes, cancers, heart disease, autoimmune diseases, etc.  Of course, the Paleolithic Diet people would argue that this is because of the types of meats we consume, which come from domesticated grain fed animals.  This relationship wouldn’t exist if the animal products people ate were from healthy grass consuming wild animals.

Reviving the Broken Marionette: Treatments for CFS/ME and Fibromyalgia

Sunday, July 26th, 2009

Finnish author, Maija Haavisto, has written this comprehensive guide to over 250 medications for treating various autoimmune disorders and similar conditions.  She personally believes that the most promising therapy for autoimmune disorders is low dose naltrexone, and also expressed an interest in Earth Dragon (round worm) Peptides.  Her book didn’t cover alternative therapies, but she said she was familiar with the idea of using hookworms (Necator Americanus) for autoimmune disorders.

Why Dirt is Good: 5 Ways to Make Germs Your Friends by Mary Ruebush

Friday, July 24th, 2009

Author Dr. Mary Ruebush is an expert in medical genetics, microbiology, and immunology.   On a radio call in show online she discusses the hygiene hypothesis, which is the theory that we need germs in order to be healthy.  With one caller she discussed the fact that researchers are experimenting with helminthic (worm) therapy.  

“the most delightful sights for a parent should be a young child covered in dirt from an active afternoon of outdoor play.” Her thesis, reiterated throughout, is that obsessive cleanliness is counterproductive: a “young, naïve immune system” needs exposure to germs “to build the ability to produce the right response quickly.” Arguing that evolution has conditioned us to coexist with the microscopic threats around us-a human body typically harbors “some 90 trillion microbes”

Hookworms are our Little Friends

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

This article in New Scientist, “Parasitic Worms: Just what the Doctor Ordered?” discusses using helminths (worms) for treating allergic and autoimmune conditions. About 13 months ago I went to Tijuana Mexico and was inoculated with 50 Necator Americanus hookworms for a severe autoimmune disease. This treatment gave me my life back.

The article is a heavy on scare language, using such terms and expressions as “grim” and “playing with fire.”  Through his use of examples, as well as his lumping together benign species with harmful ones, the author makes things sound more uncertain than they actually are.  (Later in the article he does somewhat correct this misimpression, by saying that different helminths affect the immune system in different ways.)   He also engages in pure speculation by suggesting that these worms could make people more vulnerable to certain infectious agents through repressing the immune system.

Currently researchers are trying to discover how helminths obviate allergic and autoimmune conditions so that they can patent new medications that will do the same thing.  The problem with this approach is that helminths likely function as biochemical factories, which interact with our immune systems through a series of feedback loops.  Any attempt to reproduce this dance probably won’t be possible using injections.  Another obvious problem is that this will take years, and in the meantime many people will suffer and die from such diseases as asthma, IBD, and Crohn’s, etc.

So as a plug for the therapy which probably saved my life, I want to point out the following:  Necator Americanus has ubiquitously infected humans for millions of years in a symbiotic relationship.  There is good epidemiological evidence that the human immune system came to expect and depend upon these organisms, just as our bodies depend upon the approximately 1 Kilo of bacteria which live in our gut and on our skin.   If these worms do cause any problems they can be eliminated for a few dollars with a very safe medication.   Their side effects are almost always temporary.  They don’t reproduce inside a person, and aren’t a known vector for any pathogen.  They can’t be transmitted accidentally under modern living conditions, and take very little nutrition from the human host.

Others can choose to wait for years until researchers figure this all out, but I didn’t intend to suffer for years and possibly die before they did.  I’m very comfortable saying I made the right decision.