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As the Worm Turneth

Posted May 12 2009 5:56pm

Some of the latest MS news, as some of you may have seen, concerns an experimental treatment called Helminth therapy. Helminths, as we have learned, are a class of small parasitic worms. What class they are in, or whether it is grammar school, middle school, or high school, I do not know. In any case, these worms, which are thankfully microscopic, are dropped into a sort of Sports drink, mixed well, and imbibed by the willing, or the remunerated, MS sufferer.

As an interesting side note, I would mention here the anecdote shared with me by my neurologist regarding the class, as it were, of experimental subjects, who, according to the doctor, reside in large part in Russia and Eastern Europe where the standard available treatments for MS cannot be afforded. These have then something in common with the experimental worm himself, in that their choice in the matter is pretty much nonexistent.

In any case, the Helminth (not to be confused with Absinthe) is invisible, and is invisibly admixed with an otherwise harmless beverage, which is then consumed by the experimental subject.

The theory itself is based upon an hypothesis, which is called the "hygiene hypothesis." Studies unanimously find that autoimmune diseases (such as MS, Crohn's, etc.), as well as allergies, are significantly less common in the developing world. This in turn is supposed to be due to the greater opportunity afforded Third World peoples of being exposed early on to infectious agents which thrive on poor sanitation, thereby stimulating immune response and ultimately effecting good health.

So next time your mother tells you to wash before meals or to stop playing in the mud puddles, simply refer her to the wisdom of the Helminth worm.

Let me be clear at this point that it is not the actual Helminth that will be wiggling about in your beverage, but the egg of the Helminth. It would be akin to the difference between eating cavier on a cracker as opposed to the whole slimy fish.

On the contrary, the Helminths themselves hatch and mature inside the body, which will surely seem much more palatable. After hatching, they swim by and by to the large intestine, like salmon toward the sea, where the larvae interact at last with the immune system and are killed. A sad sort of life for the Helminth, to be sure, but all in the name of medical science.

The cure therefore, as far as I can understand it, is found in allowing the autoimmune system to function as it was created to do according to the introduction and eradication of common infections.

Hmm. Does this mean that we have all these years been trying to fix something that warnt broke in the furst place?
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