Parasitic worms may offer hope on MS

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Parasitic worms may offer hope on MS

Postby MSUK » Wed Jun 29, 2011 2:19 am

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For people suffering from debilitating autoimmune disorders such as multiple sclerosis, there is growing evidence that help may be at hand from an unusual source: parasitic worms.

In a U.S. study, early safety tests suggested the eggs of pig whipworms have anti-inflammatory properties, reducing the size of brain lesions in MS patients. A similar trial is under way in Denmark. And in Britain, academics at the University of Nottingham are studying the potential health benefits of hookworms, another type of parasitic worm.... Read More - http://www.msrc.co.uk/index.cfm/fuseact ... ageid/2474
MS-UK - http://www.ms-uk.org/
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Postby Lyon » Wed Jun 29, 2011 5:21 am

Thanks for the interesting articles Squiffy.

The hygiene hypothesis or loss of evolutionary normal conditions as a cause of MS/immune dysfunction has been my obsession for 10 years and I always love reading about it!
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Re: Parasitic worms may offer hope on MS

Postby HarryZ » Wed Jun 29, 2011 7:16 am

For people suffering from debilitating autoimmune disorders such as multiple sclerosis, there is growing evidence that help may be at hand from an unusual source: parasitic worms.


I can just see it now....the drug companies lining up to see who can get the first patent on the worms :D

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Re: Parasitic worms may offer hope on MS

Postby Lyon » Wed Jun 29, 2011 11:23 am

I can't say I blame them but I think that's where a lot of the money comes from to pay for the research trying to isolate the chemicals, hormones, enzymes that the worms excrete/secrete to modulate the human immune system in the interest of their survival (re:evolutionary long survival of the worms in the human immune system).

HarryZ wrote: I can just see it now....the drug companies lining up to see who can get the first patent on the worms :D

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Postby sou » Wed Jun 29, 2011 12:53 pm

MS is not a disease of the modern times and it is not just the hygiene that has changed in the modern times.

My question is quite simple: Why attempt to modulate a body's system that you are not sure what defect it has, if it is defective at all? This is irresponsible to me.
Shortest joke: "We may not be able to cure MS but we can manage its symptoms."
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Postby Lyon » Wed Jun 29, 2011 1:15 pm

sou wrote:MS is not a disease of the modern times
That's just something you feel strongly about? Because that's contrary to what people with knowledge of the field have found.

sou wrote:it is not just the hygiene that has changed in the modern times.
Although your point isn't obvious, that is true. Hygiene isn't the only thing that has changed in modern times.

sou wrote:My question is quite simple: Why attempt to modulate a body's system that you are not sure what defect it has, if it is defective at all? This is irresponsible to me.

I'm not sure how to respond because you're arguing against yourself. If you agree the worms are capable of modulating the human immune system (it's scientific fact) then you should also wonder why they have that ability when considering that evolved skills are "expensive" and are only evolved out of necessity....not the best way to describe the fact that those parasites couldn't have survived through history in us without the ability to modulate our immune systems.

Additionally it's unquestionable that those parasitic worms which we had shared evolutionary history with started disappearing from the systems of people in the "developing" world in the same times and places that MS was alarmingly increasing in incidence.

Still not incontrovertible proof but seemingly beyond coincidence is the fact that introducing those parasites to the systems of people with autoimmune diseases improves their condition.

Additionally it's always seemed obvious to me that MS researchers had either wrongly eliminated a factor or overlooked a/the factor along the way and I can't imagine anything more glaringly obvious (in those days) than the ongoing and unavoidable parasite infestation and in the same light, who would ever notice as they slowly disappeared? Bad news travels like wildfire, good news travels slow. People are quick to bitch about things like parasites but no one makes note when they're gone because it never comes to mind.
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Re: Parasitic worms may offer hope on MS

Postby HarryZ » Wed Jun 29, 2011 5:20 pm

Lyon wrote:I can't say I blame them but I think that's where a lot of the money comes from to pay for the research trying to isolate the chemicals, hormones, enzymes that the worms excrete/secrete to modulate the human immune system in the interest of their survival (re:evolutionary long survival of the worms in the human immune system).


I don't think those little critters have had any interest whatsoever in fighting MS in the past, present or future. They secrete their "chemicals" to make them "invisible" to the human immune system.

I believe that this is discovery number 857 in trying to find another, long term immune system altering process to fight MS....a disease that has never been proven to be autoimmune. Good luck to the researchers..they'll need it.
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Re: Parasitic worms may offer hope on MS

Postby Lyon » Wed Jun 29, 2011 6:02 pm

HarryZ wrote: I don't think those little critters have had any interest whatsoever in fighting MS in the past, present or future. They secrete their "chemicals" to make them "invisible" to the human immune system.
Of course there is a lot more to it than that but I believe you're right, they have no personal interest in doing away with MS.

HarryZ wrote:I believe that this is discovery number 857 in trying to find another, long term immune system altering process to fight MS....a disease that has never been proven to be autoimmune. Good luck to the researchers..they'll need it.
And I imagine there are probably even people who agree with you Harry.
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Re: Parasitic worms may offer hope on MS

Postby HarryZ » Wed Jun 29, 2011 8:13 pm

And I imagine there are probably even people who agree with you Harry.


Probably more than you think :D

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Re: Parasitic worms may offer hope on MS

Postby Lyon » Thu Jun 30, 2011 1:29 am

HarryZ wrote:Probably more than you think :D
It would almost have to be. Despite the fringe element, autoimmunity is still generally accepted by preponderance. Not that that makes it right....but most likely.
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Re: Parasitic worms may offer hope on MS

Postby HarryZ » Thu Jun 30, 2011 4:41 am

Lyon wrote:
HarryZ wrote:Probably more than you think :D
It would almost have to be. Despite the fringe element, autoimmunity is still generally accepted by preponderance. Not that that makes it right....but most likely.


I quote Bertrand Russell and rest my case.

"The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible."

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Postby sou » Thu Jun 30, 2011 5:23 am

Lyon wrote:
sou wrote:MS is not a disease of the modern times
That's just something you feel strongly about? Because that's contrary to what people with knowledge of the field have found.


Reading J. Murray's book "MS: The history of a disease" I was impressed by the number of past references about symptoms resembling MS in history. Let's say St. Lidwina. Anyway, the life expectancy was not tha high, either.

Lyon wrote:
sou wrote:it is not just the hygiene that has changed in the modern times.
Although your point isn't obvious, that is true. Hygiene isn't the only thing that has changed in modern times.


I mean that we can't blame better hygiene to be the cause of MS because it is one of the myriad of factors that have changed compared to the past.

sou wrote:My question is quite simple: Why attempt to modulate a body's system that you are not sure what defect it has, if it is defective at all? This is irresponsible to me.


I am not arguing against myself. Why try to treat MS by modifying a body's system which we are not sure if it is abnormal in MS? Even if it is abnormal, we have neither proven it nor identified the abnormality itself.
Shortest joke: "We may not be able to cure MS but we can manage its symptoms."
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Postby mrbarlow » Thu Jun 30, 2011 7:39 am

sou wrote:
Lyon wrote:
sou wrote:MS is not a disease of the modern times
That's just something you feel strongly about? Because that's contrary to what people with knowledge of the field have found.


Reading J. Murray's book "MS: The history of a disease" I was impressed by the number of past references about symptoms resembling MS in history. Let's say St. Lidwina. Anyway, the life expectancy was not tha high, either.

Lyon wrote:
sou wrote:it is not just the hygiene that has changed in the modern times.
Although your point isn't obvious, that is true. Hygiene isn't the only thing that has changed in modern times.


I mean that we can't blame better hygiene to be the cause of MS because it is one of the myriad of factors that have changed compared to the past.

sou wrote:My question is quite simple: Why attempt to modulate a body's system that you are not sure what defect it has, if it is defective at all? This is irresponsible to me.


I am not arguing against myself. Why try to treat MS by modifying a body's system which we are not sure if it is abnormal in MS? Even if it is abnormal, we have neither proven it nor identified the abnormality itself.



Except more and more evidence is pointing towards helminthic infection as moderating the course of MS. There are two clinical trials going on at present. I don't think anyone is seeing a cure here but it could well be a significant step in reducing the severity of MS in at least a proportion of the MS population.

Furthermore if one accepts that on the balance of probabilities MS is autoimmune then one can also draw much inference from the observed effects of Helminthic infection in other auto immune diseases such as asthma, crohns, coliecs etc etc.

I think the research in this area is positive and potentially offers a low cost treatment to many people shut out of the DMD market.
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Re: Parasitic worms may offer hope on MS

Postby scorpion » Thu Jun 30, 2011 12:20 pm

Lyon wrote:
HarryZ wrote:Probably more than you think :D
It would almost have to be. Despite the fringe element, autoimmunity is still generally accepted by preponderance. Not that that makes it right....but most likely.


I hope you don't think you are going to worm your way out of this one Lyon!!!
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Re: Parasitic worms may offer hope on MS

Postby Lyon » Thu Jun 30, 2011 3:22 pm

scorpion wrote:I hope you don't think you are going to worm your way out of this one Lyon!!!
Now THAT is the definition of a "groaner" oooooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhh!

sou wrote:Reading J. Murray's book "MS: The history of a disease" I was impressed by the number of past references about symptoms resembling MS in history. Let's say St. Lidwina. Anyway, the life expectancy was not tha high, either.

Although he is vilified here on thisisms for his take on ccsvi, I like that book also sou. If nothing else he obviously knows his MS history or is good at researching it.

Regarding life expectancy I'm assuming your point is that in times of old maybe people didn't often live long enough for MS to become obvious because onset is in the thirties on average? Truth is "a good long age" has remained about the same, at least through civilized history. Sure, in early history and hard times frailty was a death sentence when survival of the fittest was the rule, but for many hundreds-thousands of years if you were lucky enough to survive childhood and avoid epidemics and disasters you could still live to be as old as we do now days, plenty old enough to get MS. Considering that 100 years ago Mothers quite often died during childbirth, a large percentage of children died before puberty and there were no antibiotics and no clear perception of germs or their consequences and life expectancy being based on average age at death makes it seem that old age was 36 years old but that is a misconception.

sou wrote:I was impressed by the number of past references about symptoms resembling MS in history. Let's say St. Lidwina.
Not just by Jock Murray's accounts but also others I've been impressed by that too and that is hard to ignore and foolish to not take into consideration.

Although there seems to be the conception that someone has stated that MS didn't exist at all before a certain point in time, I have never read that. I've read the sorts of histories that we all have ( http://www.mstrust.org.uk/atoz/history.jsp ) in which earlier cases are suspected but unprovable, Charcot's defining MS as a definition much as what we consider it today and that (in Northern Europe and Northern US) MS incidence has drastically increased per capita since the late 19th century and steamrolling after the end of WWII. What I haven't ever read is anyone saying or hinting that what we know as MS didn't exist at all before a certain time.

But of course your point is that IF the loss of the parasites our immune system has evolved to tolerate had anything to do with the incidence of MS, why would there be any cases of MS in times when parasite infection was ongoing and the natural human condition?

Like you I do think that MS has existed throughout human history but I also think that even during those times it was possible for royalty and rich important people to live a lifestyle which didn't allow parasitic works to complete their life cycles. Admittedly a wrench in the works could be that poor people didn't have medical help available and might not have been documented in the history books even if they did get MS but equally and maybe more likely is that royalty and rich important people wore shoes and long clothes, didn't live in close quarters with parasite infected people, often had pit toilets and likely had a higher quality food source than common folk which wasn't fertilized with parasite infected human waste.

With that in mind maybe MS has existed to a degree through history and possibly the only reason we hear about royalty and rich important people being affected is because maybe they were the only people back then without parasites and led to MS?

At any rate it's all an interesting concept and what really makes it interesting is that when you reintroduce helminth parasites to people with immune dysfunctions it has made marked differences in multiple different autoimmune/inflammatory diseases.
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