Helminthic therapy research

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This page lists papers and reports of scientific studies relating to helminthic therapyThe reintroduction of a controlled number of carefully selected benign intestinal worms in the form of larvae or eggs to reconstitute a depleted microbiome in order to treat or prevent chronic inflammation, autoimmune disease and other immunological disorders including allergy. and closely related topics such as the Hygiene Hypothesis, the Old Friends' Hypothesis, Biome Depletion Theory and Evolutionary Mismatch Theory.

There are four organisms being used currently in helminthic therapyThe reintroduction of a controlled number of carefully selected benign intestinal worms in the form of larvae or eggs to reconstitute a depleted microbiome in order to treat or prevent chronic inflammation, autoimmune disease and other immunological disorders including allergy..

  • Human hookwormA helminth that lives in the small intestine. Necator americanus (NA) is the only hookworm species used in helminthic therapy. Its microscopic larvae are applied periodically to the skin., Necator americanus (NAthe human hookworm, Necator americanus)
  • Human whipwormA helminth with a tapering whiplike body that lives in the colon. In helminthic therapy, the microscopic eggs of either the human Trichuris trichiura (TTO) or pig Trichuris suis (TSO) are taken in a drink., Trichuris trichiura (TTOthe ova (eggs) of the human whipworm, Trichuris trichiura)
  • Pig whipwormA helminth with a tapering whiplike body that lives in the colon. In helminthic therapy, the microscopic eggs of either the human Trichuris trichiura (TTO) or pig Trichuris suis (TSO) are taken in a drink., Trichuris suis (TSOthe ova (eggs) of the porcine (pig) whipworm, Trichuris suis)
  • Rat tapewormA helminth with a flat, ribbon-like, segmented body. Only the murine (rat) tapeworm, Hymenolepis diminuta, is used in helminthic therapy and this generally does not reach adulthood in humans so requires regular dosing of HDC., Hymenolepis diminuta (HDCthe cysticercoids (larval cysts) of the rat tapeworm, Hymenolepis diminuta)

Some of the reports and papers listed below have focussed on the effects of other species of helminthAn intestinal worm which grows large enough to be seen with the naked eye when mature but which is microscopic when administered in helminthic therapy. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helminths Wikipedia:Helminths], or molecules derived from them, but all are nevertheless valuable for the insights they provide about the therapeutic effects of helminthsAn intestinal worm which grows large enough to be seen with the naked eye when mature but which is microscopic when administered in helminthic therapy. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helminths Wikipedia:Helminths].

Unless otherwise stated, the main links are to PubMed abstracts, with additional inks to full text copies and PDFs, if available. Where free full text copies are not available via PubMed, these can usually be obtained from other sources such as Sci-Hub and the Facebook group, Get Your Papers. Further papers on helminthic therapyThe reintroduction of a controlled number of carefully selected benign intestinal worms in the form of larvae or eggs to reconstitute a depleted microbiome in order to treat or prevent chronic inflammation, autoimmune disease and other immunological disorders including allergy. can be found by searching PubMed, which carries almost all of the scientific papers written on this subject.

Reading packet

These selected papers provide a good overview of the potential of helminthic therapyThe reintroduction of a controlled number of carefully selected benign intestinal worms in the form of larvae or eggs to reconstitute a depleted microbiome in order to treat or prevent chronic inflammation, autoimmune disease and other immunological disorders including allergy. and would be suitable resources to include in a reading packet to be given to a doctor or someone who is unaware of the evidence and rationale for helminthic therapyThe reintroduction of a controlled number of carefully selected benign intestinal worms in the form of larvae or eggs to reconstitute a depleted microbiome in order to treat or prevent chronic inflammation, autoimmune disease and other immunological disorders including allergy.. The first two papers provide validation for the practice of self-treatmentMedication or treatment of one's own disease or condition without medical supervision. with helminthsAn intestinal worm which grows large enough to be seen with the naked eye when mature but which is microscopic when administered in helminthic therapy. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helminths Wikipedia:Helminths].

  • Practices and outcomes of self-treatment with helminths based on physicians' observations (2016)
    The first study to examine, through the eyes of their physicians, the practices and experiences of individuals who are self-treating with helminthsAn intestinal worm which grows large enough to be seen with the naked eye when mature but which is microscopic when administered in helminthic therapy. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helminths Wikipedia:Helminths].
  • Overcoming Evolutionary Mismatch by Self-Treatment with Helminths: Current Practices and Experience (2015)
    This study probes the methods and outcomes reported by individuals who are self-treating with helminthsAn intestinal worm which grows large enough to be seen with the naked eye when mature but which is microscopic when administered in helminthic therapy. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helminths Wikipedia:Helminths] and is an ideal basis for discussion between patients and their physicians.

Research papers & articles

Tips for searching the list

Note: Expand the full list using the More papers... link below before searching for symbols or text.

Symbols used in the list of documents:

  • ✅ - A key paper/report in the development of the therapeutic use of helminthsAn intestinal worm which grows large enough to be seen with the naked eye when mature but which is microscopic when administered in helminthic therapy. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helminths Wikipedia:Helminths]
  • ⚡ - A good place to start if you are new to helminthic therapyThe reintroduction of a controlled number of carefully selected benign intestinal worms in the form of larvae or eggs to reconstitute a depleted microbiome in order to treat or prevent chronic inflammation, autoimmune disease and other immunological disorders including allergy., or if you are looking for resources that would help someone else to understand the therapy.

If you are interested in helminthic therapyThe reintroduction of a controlled number of carefully selected benign intestinal worms in the form of larvae or eggs to reconstitute a depleted microbiome in order to treat or prevent chronic inflammation, autoimmune disease and other immunological disorders including allergy. in relation to a particular medical condition, use your device’s search function to locate the items that are relevant to that disease. Several conditions will require the use of more than one search term, for example:

  • Allergies - search for “allerg”, “atopy” and “anaphylaxis”
  • Anemia - search for “anemia” and “anaemia”
  • Arthritis - search for ”arthrit” and “joint”
  • Asthma - search for “asthma”, “airway” and “wheeze”
  • Autism - search for “autism” and “ASD”
  • Celiac disease - search for “celiac” and “coeliac”
  • Crohn’s disease - search for “Crohn”, “bowel” and “IBDInflammatory bowel disease is a group of conditions affecting the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, particularly the colon and small intestine. The major types of IBD are Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis (UC).
  • Diabetes - search for “diabet”, “insulin” and “glucose”
  • Heart disease - search for “cardio” and “atherosclerosis”
  • Inflammation - search for “inflam”
  • Leaky gut - search for “barrier”
  • Multiple sclerosis - search for “multiple sclerosis” rather than “MSMultiple sclerosis (also known as disseminated sclerosis) is a chronic, typically progressive disease involving damage to the sheaths of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, whose symptoms may include numbness, impairment of speech and of muscular coordination, blurred vision and severe fatigue.
  • Obesity - search for “obes” and “adipose”
  • Pregnancy - search for “preg” and “mater”
  • Ulcerative colitis - search for “colitis”, “bowel” and “IBDInflammatory bowel disease is a group of conditions affecting the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, particularly the colon and small intestine. The major types of IBD are Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis (UC).

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the Hygiene Hypothesis.

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  • 1982 Jul Modulation of immune responses by commensalCommensalism is a relationship between two organisms where one benefits from the other without affecting it. bacteria and intestinal helminth PDF

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  • ✅ Sept 25 Letter: IgE, parasites, and allergy This reported the first known case of successful helminthic therapyThe reintroduction of a controlled number of carefully selected benign intestinal worms in the form of larvae or eggs to reconstitute a depleted microbiome in order to treat or prevent chronic inflammation, autoimmune disease and other immunological disorders including allergy. in which colonisation with Necator americanusThe species of human hookworm used in helminthic therapy. Its microscopic larvae are applied periodically to the skin. was shown to resolve hay fever.

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Take part in the research

If you have used helminthsAn intestinal worm which grows large enough to be seen with the naked eye when mature but which is microscopic when administered in helminthic therapy. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helminths Wikipedia:Helminths] to treat one of the conditions for which they have been less commonly employed, such as lupus, migraine headaches or a neuropsychiatric disorder, and whether this has proved successful or not, please consider taking part in the Helminth Self-treatment Survey.

Further reading

These pages contain more research papers & articles

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