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December 17, 2012

Parasitic Worms as Medicine

It has been argued that a significant reduction in exposure to parasitic worms, or helminths, has eliminated a natural mechanism in our bodies that prevents the onset of certain autoimmune disorders. As such, one potential new treatment for autoimmune diseases involves swallowing Trichuris suis ova (TSO)—pig whipworm eggs. Some researchers are attempting to develop TSO as a drug; there are trials under way in Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and autism, and others set to begin in ulcerative colitis, psoriasis, type 1 diabetes, and other immune-mediated diseases. (Find out more about TSO here.) How would you feel about swallowing worm eggs as a treatment?

Would you consider ingesting parasitic worms to treat a disease?

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