Intestinal worms are good for you!

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Omai
Omai's picture
Intestinal worms are good for you!

Check out this report in the New York Times about the hygiene hypothesis (a little dirt, microbes, at an early age "teaches" the immune system). New studies show that even autoimmune diseases can be treated with intestinal worms. The worm changes the regulatory T cell levels, ameliorating the disease.
Here is the link:
www.nytimes.com/2009/01/27/health/27brod.html
If anybody works on this, please tell us more! I'm very interested.
 
Omai

ky.tan
ky.tan's picture
Thanks for recommending this

Thanks for recommending this article; it was a good read and the scientists mentioned certainly raised valid points especially how helminths are able to stimulate a more pronounced effect on the T regulatory levels and hence, modulate Th17's activity and hence influence on autoimmune disease. However what was not mentioned in the study was how the helminth load influenced inflammatory responses. Inflammation, particularly chronic inflammation as in a parasite infection causes a lot of tissue destruction, fibrosis and necrosis which can affect the cellular environment such that normal tissue will become dysplastic, a possble precursor to neoplastic tissue. In the end, it is a balance. We will all die, if not of 'natural causes' or accidents then of cancer or some other pathology arising secondary our lifestyle. 

ky.tan
ky.tan's picture
 Darn, it won't let me edit

 Darn, it won't let me edit or finish my resphttp://www.scientistsolutions.com/globalcontrols/fckeditor/editor/skins/default/fck_strip.gif); background-position: 0px -304px; " class="TB_Button_Image" alt="" />onse. 

The the implications of chronic inflammation are stereotypical of course but the hygiene hypothesis is interesting and definitely warrants further research though I feel quite pessimistic. Do we live parasite free and risk develop these autoimmune diseases or should we play Russian Roulette with the sporadic parasitic stimulus to our immune system and see how long we can make it before the inflammation will mutate and produce defective Tumor Suppressor genes or create oncogenes? As with Omai, please keep me in the loop for this.