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Old 05-26-2019, 03:36 PM
Jim B. is offline
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Ingesting a Tapeworm.


Is there any advantage to ingesting a tapeworm today? I am not planning on doing it myself. And I am not saying anyone else should. It's a purely hypothetical question.

I don't have a cite. But I saw an old ad for 'sterilized' tapeworms from the 19th century that basically said that you could eat all you wanted if you did.

Also (sorry again, no cite) I saw this story on Ripley's Believe It or Not in the 80's that talked about this German guy who swallowed a tapeworm and then basically drank contaminated stuff that would kill you and me. He even drank from the contaminated Rhine river. Yikes!

Could you really do all this if you swallowed a tapeworm? And please don't do this. It's just a harmless question.

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Last edited by Jim B.; 05-26-2019 at 03:37 PM. Reason: Typo.
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Old 05-26-2019, 03:57 PM
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You are bored today, huh?
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Old 05-26-2019, 03:58 PM
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I'm gonna be sick.
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Old 05-26-2019, 04:02 PM
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I suppose we should try to give a factual answer.

If the TW ate all your food/drank all your water intake for you, wouldn't you starve/de-hydrate to death? Wouldn't Mr. TW swell up and give you a nice intestinal blockage?

That's all I got.
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Old 05-26-2019, 04:03 PM
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There are some gullible folks who think that eating tapeworms is a good weight-loss program. However, such ingestion is fraught with risks. Why anyone thinks infecting themselves with a parasite to lose weight is somehow better than just eating less is beyond me. Having 30-foot parasites in you is dangerous and can even be fatal.

So, no--no advantage.
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Old 05-26-2019, 04:10 PM
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A tapeworm is not a black hole. I think no matter how much the cute little critter eats, most of the nutrients you eat are still going to be processed by your body.

I would read the Wikipedia page on tapeworm-related medical conditions before you decide to do this.

Last edited by markn+; 05-26-2019 at 04:12 PM.
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Old 05-26-2019, 05:08 PM
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I remember reading somewhere that you only ever get one tapeworm. This fact led some people who were going to a place where they were endemic to acquire a sterilized worm before they left on the principle that they would not then be hosting a nasty foreign one.
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Old 05-26-2019, 06:33 PM
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Ok, say the worm eats 5% of what you eat, and turns it into worm. You havent lost any weight, just a longer worm. Science!
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Old 05-26-2019, 07:50 PM
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Per UpToDate:
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Most infections are asymptomatic, but symptoms become more common as the parasite burden increases. Heavy infections with >1000 worms can occur and are often associated with crampy abdominal pain, diarrhea, anorexia, fatigue, and pruritus ani. Dizziness, irritability, sleep disturbance, and seizures have also been described. A peripheral blood eosinophilia of 5 to 10 percent may be observed.

Malignant transformation of the dwarf tapeworm has been described in an HIV-infected patient. Further study of host-parasite interactions is needed to better understand the potential relationships between infection and cancer.
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Old 05-26-2019, 09:27 PM
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I need a good leeching.
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Old 05-27-2019, 03:55 AM
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^^^or maybe a less invasive 'burping', would suit.
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Old 05-27-2019, 04:13 AM
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There was a serious suggestion that parasites modulated immune response, leading to suppression of auto-immune disease and suppression of allergies.

As far as I remember, that was about 20 years ago, it seemed to work for some people, but the overall feeling I got was that even people in areas where worms were endemic still got auto-immune diseases and suffered from allergies.

I haven't heard of any more recent research (but partly because I don't read that stuff any more), which seems to suggest that there didn't turn out to be much in it.
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Old 05-27-2019, 04:43 AM
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I need a good leeching.
Here you go: https://www.leech.com/
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Old 05-27-2019, 08:20 AM
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Oh, thank God there are leech tweezers available.


I'm gonna be sick.
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Old 05-28-2019, 02:50 PM
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Per UpToDate:

Malignant transformation of the dwarf tapeworm has been described
Wait, what?
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Old 05-28-2019, 06:01 PM
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Wait, what?
Weird looking cancer cells appeared in the lungs and lymph nodes of an HIV patient. On further study, the cells contained DNA from H. nana tapeworms. Subsequent comparative deep sequencing identified H. nana structural genomic variants that are compatible with mutations described in cancer. Invasion of human tissue by abnormal, proliferating, genetically altered tapeworm cells is a novel disease mechanism that links infection and cancer.
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Old 05-28-2019, 06:43 PM
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There is helminthic therapy. It involves intentionally ingesting parasitic worms because for people with autoimmune disorders, it causes the immune system to redirect and focus on fighting the worms instead of fighting the host body.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helminthic_therapy
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Old 05-28-2019, 06:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Qadgop the Mercotan View Post
Weird looking cancer cells appeared in the lungs and lymph nodes of an HIV patient. On further study, the cells contained DNA from H. nana tapeworms. Subsequent comparative deep sequencing identified H. nana structural genomic variants that are compatible with mutations described in cancer. Invasion of human tissue by abnormal, proliferating, genetically altered tapeworm cells is a novel disease mechanism that links infection and cancer.
I would not have guessed that's what malignant transformation meant. That is an odd thing to ponder.
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Old 05-29-2019, 07:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Qadgop the Mercotan View Post
Weird looking cancer cells appeared in the lungs and lymph nodes of an HIV patient. On further study, the cells contained DNA from H. nana tapeworms. Subsequent comparative deep sequencing identified H. nana structural genomic variants that are compatible with mutations described in cancer. Invasion of human tissue by abnormal, proliferating, genetically altered tapeworm cells is a novel disease mechanism that links infection and cancer.
Does that mean what I think it means?
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Old 05-29-2019, 09:22 AM
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Does that mean what I think it means?
What do you think it means?
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Old 05-29-2019, 09:34 AM
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It's inconceivable.
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Old 05-29-2019, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Qadgop the Mercotan View Post
What do you think it means?
Did you ever see the movie "The Fly" (remake starring Jeff Goldblum)?

Last edited by CookingWithGas; 05-29-2019 at 10:52 AM.
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Old 05-29-2019, 11:08 AM
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What do you think it means?
Tapeworm DNA is getting into the human cells. Is it just there as trash? Or is it getting into the nucleus and incorporated into the host's chromosomes?
  #24  
Old 05-29-2019, 03:19 PM
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Tapeworm DNA is getting into the human cells. Is it just there as trash? Or is it getting into the nucleus and incorporated into the host's chromosomes?
My take is that it got incorporated into human cells which then turned cancerous.
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Old 05-29-2019, 03:34 PM
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But will I be able to master a holophoner?!
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Old 05-29-2019, 04:14 PM
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My take is that it got incorporated into human cells which then turned cancerous.
It could be separate, cancerous tapeworm cells that are mobile and growing here and there. Not that that's better.
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Old 05-29-2019, 04:36 PM
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Good doctor Mercotan, what's your take on helminthic therapy?
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