Helminthic Therapy

So if you’re anything like me, you know what a struggle having allergies is! Avoiding going outside in fear of pollen crawling up your nose! Not being able to hold that cute kitten because the dander may cause an outbreak. And not to mention the hundreds of dollars spent on allergy medication every year! If there were a way to get rid of them for good wouldn’t you jump on that??

 

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Many kinds of Allergy Medication

OK OK. I don’t wanna get y’all all excited by telling you there is some miracle cure. However, ya boy did hear of something…

Being a microbiology major, it can be assumed that i am a huge nerd. Which would be true. Being as such, I am very drawn to nerdy, science-y things. Who has heard of RadioLab? If you haven’t, you should definitely look it up. Its a very nerdy and very interesting NPR podcast that discusses all sorts of science related topics like neuroscience, ecology, psychology, and lots more. And one day as i was scrolling through to find an interesting title I found one called Parasites. Being a microbio guy of course this had me hooked so i gave it a listen and it happened to be about allergies… But why was it called parasites?

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RadioLab Logo

Who knows what helminth means? A helminth is a parasitic worm. With that new information let me tell you what was spoken of on this episode of RadioLab. So a guy by the name of Jasper Laurence really really bad allergies. Nothing life threatening or anything like that but he had them. And like all of us he had to deal with it with frequent doctor visits and allergy meds and asthma inhalers and whatever else. And he came across this interesting statistic that said people who have had hookworm infections were 50% less likely to have asthma. Taking this information as hope for relief he tries to get some hookworms for himself.

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Cameroon has a high hookworm infection rate

Unable to find them from anywhere he travels all the way to Cameroon in Africa to find his own. He goes to a village along the coast. Finds their lavatory area. Takes off his shoes and takes a nice stroll. And one day a few weeks later at the beginning of allergy season he walks out his house expecting to get his usual swelled itchy eyes and needing to use his inhaler and start sneezing and all that… but he didn’t. He was free of his allergies.

 

Helminthic Therapy is intentionally infecting oneself with parasitic worms, specifically hookworms. These worms can inhibit autoimmune responses preventing the body’s immune system from responding to all the allergens in the environment. Would you try this method to getting rid of your allergies?

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