Intestinal worms are a benefit to the development of the immune system

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Omai
Omai's picture
Intestinal worms are a benefit to the development of the immune system

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

R Bishop
R Bishop's picture
There are companies out there

There are companies out there that will sell you a glass of worms to fix innate immune problems.  This idea has been discussed for years in the Parasitology Community.  The idea is that your immune system evolved with tons of parasites like intestinal worms and now that we have eradicated them with modern hygene, our immune systems are still trying to kill them.  In effect you get attacked by your own immune system, because you have good hygene.  Talk about unexpected consequences!
 
Rus

heehawmcduff
heehawmcduff's picture
A friend of mine actually

A friend of mine actually works on this topic and wrote a review article a while ago which I thought was really interesting.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15554921?ordinalpos=6&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DefaultReportPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum
And this is another article from Cambridge which I also found really cool
http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?tool=pubmed&pubmedid=16965287
The person who wrote the first article is really nice and I'm sure, would be happy to answer any questions that you may have if you wanted to get in touch with her.