I've got a gut feeling. . . this could work
July 1, 2008 11:19 PM   Subscribe

Not a double, but previously.
posted by mosk at 11:27 PM on July 1, 2008

The article reminded me of this first person account I read a few years back.

It would be nice if this lead to some more effective treatments for allergy sufferers.
posted by davey_darling at 11:28 PM on July 1, 2008

It would be nice if this weren't so horrifyingly gross!
posted by aubilenon at 11:45 PM on July 1, 2008

Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show.
posted by Tube at 11:48 PM on July 1, 2008 [1 favorite]

Speaking as someone who works for big pharma, it seems like it would be easy to identify the compound that causes this and make it into a drug. It'd probably make you a huge amount of money.

Right until someone figured out where the compound came from originally.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 12:20 AM on July 2, 2008

Right until someone figured out where the compound came from originally.

As opposed to, say, the unpopularity of botox.
posted by kaytwo at 12:21 AM on July 2, 2008 [2 favorites]

I'm in favor of this if all hookworm therapy folks have a buzzer which goes off after they leave a bathroom without washing their hands. 10 hookworms for them, 10 million for the rest of us.
posted by maxwelton at 12:38 AM on July 2, 2008

just add them to the expanding pharmacopoeia which includes leeches and maggots.
posted by caddis at 12:54 AM on July 2, 2008

I had hookworms in my foot a few years back after (stupidly) wandering barefoot round a Malaysian island. If I'd have realised this I would have left them in and stayed allergy-free. As it was, the local dermatologist insisted that the only thing to do was freeze (burn) them out with liquid nitrogen - the most pain I have experienced and the largest blister you've ever seen.
posted by niceness at 1:44 AM on July 2, 2008


I'm glad they mention Crohn's Disease at the end, if only for one line. More on Crohn's and helminths.

Also, if anyone be curious, I followed up on the above linked article and I came across a pharmaceutical company that already sells worms. Not sure how legal it is, but Crohn's is a life threatening condition that may warrant higher risk.

Although I know little about medicine and even less about the evolution of our immune systems, I think these guys are onto something.
posted by Wanderlust88 at 2:29 AM on July 2, 2008

Right until someone figured out where the compound came from originally.

Heparin was originally derived from cow lung and pig intestine. Premarin comes from horse pee.

Also, it's not a simple compound that the bugs make. It's the complex interaction between your immune system and them.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 4:17 AM on July 2, 2008

Cough, sniff, wheeze, rubs eyes.... Heard about this awhile ago, and think I'll stick with the anti-hysatimes for now.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:22 AM on July 2, 2008

Sounds great except for the fact that it leaves you more susceptible to autoimmune diseases. And how to do regulate the number of worms in your system? I mean... they reproduce, don't they?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:36 AM on July 2, 2008

They call me Dr. Worm,
Good morning, how are you?
I'm Dr. Worm.
I'm interested in things;
I'm not a real doctor
But I am a real worm
I am an actual worm.
I live like a worm.

posted by backseatpilot at 4:50 AM on July 2, 2008 [3 favorites]

Damnit, Mom! All my life, my mother, a former pathologist specializing in parasites (and Peace Corps nurse) was so paranoid about me walking around without shoes. I was a kid in Alabama, it was hot, kids just don't wear shoes in the summer there, its a fact of life, but no, I had to wear shoes whenever she caught me. I had to wash my feet constantly to get any mud off. I also had to suffer unmercifully with hay fever and a million allergies. Thanks a lot, Mom.
posted by Pollomacho at 5:15 AM on July 2, 2008

And how to do regulate the number of worms in your system? I mean... they reproduce, don't they?

I was wondering that myself. From the Kiro5hin article (which you may want to confirm from a more reliable source):
Note that the hookworm cannot proliferate in your gut, you can only increase your infestation level by coming into skin contact with larvae or ingesting contaminated feces.
So 10 hookworm larvae become 10 hookworms (and no more), which most people feel no ill effects from. And we know how to eradicate them from your system, should you ever want to do that. (The amazing thing to me from the test case is that the people who were given the placebo in the test now want the real thing for themselves).
posted by spock at 5:27 AM on July 2, 2008

If the cure is akin to my worst nightmare, I'd rather suffer with the disease. Pass the Kleenex and hold the worms.
posted by Mister_A at 5:43 AM on July 2, 2008

Thanks for that Ovamed link, Wanderlust88. The Newsletters section (three PDFs) is informative. The last one includes this:Note: for the writer of this document, English appears to be a second language.
The helminth therapy was initially developed as a natural treatment of crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. It has already shown a high efficiency so far and serious side effects could not been detected during the entire course of the development. Assumptions seem to be confirmed, that this approach might be of similar benefits for the treatment of Multiple sclerosis, Allergies and some accompaniants of autism. Efforts are currently going on to prepare for first clinical studies on these indications as well.
posted by spock at 5:43 AM on July 2, 2008

While I'm not sure if I'd be able to "stomach" the worms, I'm glad that they're coming up with more Crohn's treatments than just those biologics (TNF╬▒ inhibitors).
posted by majikstreet at 6:43 AM on July 2, 2008

I read that in the New York Times yesterday, and just now awoke from the resultant disturbing dream.
posted by StickyCarpet at 6:48 AM on July 2, 2008

Parasites or Crohn's? Anyone who doesn't chose parasites probably doesn't understand the horribleness that is Crohn's.
posted by caddis at 7:23 AM on July 2, 2008

I look forward to the time when all of medicine is disgusting-animal-based.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:40 AM on July 2, 2008

I've known about this for a few years. I've suffered from allergies my whole life, was on shots for most of my life. I have regular headaches from congestion, some that are bad enough I can't function. It sounds gross, but frankly, I'd take it in a heartbeat if it really, truly cured my allergies. I'm hoping FDA approval comes along soon and that maybe I can get insurance to foot part of the bill. But 8grand for a treatment that might not work is a bit hard to take. Still, I'd pay double that if I knew it would work. Its the lingering doubt that it wouldn't work, that its not fully tested, and that even the places touting its use as a wonder "drug" say its not 100% successful.

And I've see futurama, so I'm cool with the worm kingdom I'd be harboring inside me.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 10:15 AM on July 2, 2008

That's just idiotic!
posted by pickaloo at 3:59 PM on July 2, 2008

Any information seen about this kind of treatment and psoriasis?
posted by steveburnett at 4:40 PM on July 2, 2008

om nom nom nom.

okay, i totally apologize for that!
posted by spish at 5:24 PM on July 2, 2008

Neti pot before worms, kthxbai.
posted by sister nunchaku of love and mercy at 8:55 PM on July 3, 2008

posted by pickaloo at 12:00 AM on July 19, 2008

Taking 20 will cure aids!
posted by pickaloo at 12:04 AM on July 19, 2008

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