Is it better to die or live in misery, rather than do something icky?

I ask because of my interest in helminthic therapy. This involves attempting to put a disorder of the immune system, Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, asthma, hay fever, multiple sclerosis, into remission by infecting oneself with hookworm or whipworm.

The science on this is very clear, it works. A recent study out of Nottingham University demonstrated 100% remission for Crohn’s patients inoculated with 50 hookworm. Another showed 73% remission for Crohn’s patients using pig whipworm, or TSO.

There are two companies selling, or perhaps, trying to sell, this therapy. Ovamed [removed commercial link] and Autoimmune Therapies [removed commercial link]

For god’s sake there is even a Wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helminthic_therapy

So, my question. We have solid science and lots of it, the above is the tip of the iceberg. We have people betting money on it, and lots of it by the look of things.

We have anecdotal evidence: [removed commercial link].

We have research foundations and universities dumping money into its study.

And the public, how do they react? Generally with “I don’t care if works and is safe, its disgusting. I would rather be sick.”

I kid you not, read the Crohn’s disease forums. Mind blowing.

Or am I the weirdo for thinking that if I had a disease that required taking drugs that can cause cancer or bone necrosis, that often results in surgery and that despite all that would not be cured, that i would rather host some intestinal worms.

Are they crazy, or am I?

Reported as spam.

Have you considered that you might be a weirdo for many, many other reasons besides that? Worth pondering.

Can we just remove the links to the companies? This is a genuine question. the original post I mean.

Of course I am, and proud of it, but come on. Would you rather die than swallow some worms?

Look, if it works, it works. Let’s try to figure out why now, okay?

Only if the worms make me smart and build statues of me.

Maybe some people would rather die or be sick than swallow beneficial worms, but not ME - if it could moderate or cure my food allergies bring 'em on. It’s not like you have to eat actual worms, just the eggs.

I suspect many other people suffering chronic problems feel the same as I do - but it’s the “Ook, icky!” ones making all the noise. Internet forums are not a statistically reliable polling population.

Worms wouldn’t bother me at all, but the maggots for necrotic flesh would freak me right out. Ditto leaches for restoring circulation to severed body parts. I would still do maggots and leaches if a doctor thought I should, but I would be twitching, and slowly going insane through out the treatment.

But then wouldn’t you have to deal with the effects of being infected with hookworm?

Well, It’s a new theory to me, but I showed it to several people in the ER and there was a whole lot of; shrug, “a biological agent to distract the immune system makes as much sense as a chemical agent to suppress the immune system.” Having said that, you can color us deep in the “you first” seats.

According to what I have read there are between 700 million and 1.2 billion people infected with hookworm and most are asymptomatic. For the remainder the problems are more to do with malnutrition than the hookworm. The research I have read dismisses this as a problem in the west where diet is good. That is there is no risk of anemia.

I have read that in theory there is a risk of anemia (they suck blood, in very small amounts) But that an infection of 100 worms results in less blood loss each month than a menstruating woman loses in a week.

Just don’t cut yourself shaving.

For me it would all depend on the manner of er, ingestion. It’s one thing to “bottom’s up!” something noxious–it’s quite another to have a live wriggly thing dangling in front of you, chew it up and then swallow.
Interesting concept, though. I hope it helps some people.

One does not have to swallow anything with hookworm, and they are invisible to the naked eye. they go through the skin.

Yes, hookworms are the No-1 health problem in the southern region of Thailand. They’re contracted by walking barefoot over ground that has been infected by hookworm-bearing feces, entering through the soles of the feet.

But, hey at least they don’t have Crohn’s, asthma, hay fever or MS…

I knew that. :smack: I didn’t read the links. Sorry. I wonder if the people who say No way, ew! realize that their intestines are teeming with bacteria etc? (as is their skin).

If one reads the hygiene hypothesis the basic idea is that a clean environment leads to autoimmune disorders. So all these clean freaks, with MS and Crohn’s, who would never consider this because it is “dirty” are actually sick because their lives are too clean to begin with.

There must be a joke there somewhere.

I once killed a thread dead by asking what the actual medical risks were to purposeful tapeworm ingestion for weight loss. Everyone was too busy going “eeeewwww! Gross!” and when I asked (as is my wont), “Well, why not?” not a single person responded.

Shit, if I could find a tapeworm and a doctor to monitor me, I’d do it. I’d even consider doing it without a doctor, to be honest. It’s not like I’m a likely candidate for starvation, living in the fattest country in the world.

And they do consume up to a third of your calories when fully mature. 28 feet of fat fighting loveliness…

I am with you, compared to the disease I just don’t see the problem with it.