In 2007, researchers Dr Correale and Dr Farez, in Argentina discovered that their Multiple Sclerosis patients with a hook worm infection appeared to fare better than those without a worm infection.
Early clinical trials in MS patients are showing reduction in size of brain lesions. This may not be a cure, but even a low rate of lesion reduction is a promising therapy. What is more important is that this is a natural therapy which shows why people in developing countries may be developing Multiple Sclerosis. There are some clinical trialsunderway, which are trying to see how best to deliver a ‘doze’ of worms or their eggs to get the best results. Brain lesions are being tracked before, during and after a treatment with worms. The initial patterns shown on MRIs is encouraging and studies are in progress.
How does the hook worm act on MS patients? Researchers believe that in MS the immune system has an excessive response to it’s own brain tissue; the presence of the worm’s anti-inflammatory system lessons this response. In doing so, the brain lesions lessen. In other words, the worms suppress the patient’s overactive immune system. The worms need to do this to settle inside the human gut. It is possible that as humans evolved along with nature, our gut system and our immune system evolved to adjust to a constant presence of other gut worms and germs. The developed world’s decision to clean our gut of worms and germs may have been too harsh. Definitely, in MS the presence of worms in the gut makes it far more pleasant for the brain.
Follow your gut: Earlier, it was believed that MS was a caucasian disease when Asian countries reported no MS. Then, in the recent decades, Asians settling in developing countries were developing MS, leading researchers to conclude that MS is a disease of a developed country lifestyle. This, is further proof that the Argentina researchers discovered how the underdeveloped life style may be protective for our human brain.
Respect the hookworm. ‘Follow your gut’ has new meaning.
How to thank the scientists? Dr Correale and Dr Ferez’s original article showing the immune connection between hookworms and MS in 2007 has been cited 91 times. Now, if you want to encourage science of this caliber and in this field, shower these two scientists with your letters and emails. Let them know how much you appreciate them. Read their original article published in 2007. You may encourage them further by emailing them
The same scientists have published a 2011 paper showing that patients infected with worms showed significantly less relapses and include updated information. You may want to read their original article published in 2011.