Monday, November 5, 2007

Are parasites good for you?

Getting rid of worms is generally thought of as a good thing that goes along with the high standard of living in wealthy, developed countries.

But some researchers argue, it’s the improved hygiene in these societies that may account for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and a whole range of autoimmune disorders. According to their hypothesis, our immune systems require exposure to infections of all sorts early in life in order to develop sufficiently or appropriately.

Dr. Joel Weinstock at Tufts University, has shown in several dramatic studies of people with either Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis that having them drink a concoction of 2,500 pig whipworm (Trichuris suis) eggs mixed with Gatorade caused a short-term infection of their gastrointestinal tracts that was correlated with a significant reduction or remission of their IBD symptoms.

Read article from College of Veterinary Medicine at Michigan State University