Hygiene hypothesis and helmenthic therapy

A few years back there was a story on this American life about how a guy cured his asthma using ring worms. The program ended with more follow up research to be conducted.

What is the latest on the subject ? Have they been proven to be woo ?

Dunno, but I thought ringworm was a fungal infection, not actual worms.

Generally they’ve used porcine whipworm and the bigger trials were for inflammatory bowel disease. Here’s a review from two years ago. It seems from this that the trial was not finding much impact after all.

Apparently it crashed and burned for asthma too.

My understanding of the hygiene theory, is that it’s about fine tuning of the immune system during early childhood, not sure if you could adjust that in adulthood.

I had heard of Joel Weinstock’s work at U. of Iowa back in the 90’s. It really looked promising (as early studies often do). It is really disappointing that this did not work out, from several viewpoints.

1- it’s a really crummy disease which affects many people of all ages, and really needs better and safer treatments.

2- this treatment (if effective) would have offered real window of insight into autoimmune disease (it still may)

3- it would be about time for modern medicine to step up with a treatment that is not crazy expensive (assuming that they would not rape patients wallets for pigworms).

Getting scince fiction-y (and certainly increasing the expense) one could imagine bioengineering parasites to be very susceptible to some specific anti-helminthic agents (to permit rapid and safe eradification when needed). You could also imagine “tweaking” their antigen profiles to better treat this or that autoimmune condition. Too bad it didn’t pan out… :frowning:

Thank you for the nice and meaningful reply