Why McMaster ova counts are worthless for detecting changes in helminth population (expanded)

McMaster Egg counts were once commonly used to estimate helminth populations in infected humans, and more commonly in animals. They were used to determine whether or not a treatment to kill the helminths, a process called helminth therapy, was appropriate. Before modern anti-helminthics in particular treatment was very unpleasant, and quite dangerous.

This policy of only treating large infections prevails, only subjects with high populations of hookworm for instance are supposed to be given anti helminthic drugs (helminth therapy) according to CDC policy (see graphic from CDC image web site below). It was this customary use of the term helminth therapy that lead me at the very beginning to adopt the use of helminthic therapy, the two phrases meaning exactly the opposite.

I do not claim the term’s invention, I read it in an early paper since lost speculating about the possible use of helminths via deliberate infection to treat diseases like Crohn’s.

The arguments against egg counts as an indicator of helminth number

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Drug interactions with helminthic therapy

This is the first post in a series on this topic. I will expand this post rather than create many different ones, and may turn it into a page accessible from the main nav.

What drugs should I avoid while on helminthic therapy?

Do antibiotics kill hookworms? Can I continue to take my antihistamines while I am on helminthic therapy? When can I reduce or stop taking my medications? Will smoking marijuana harm my helminths? What about cocaine or ecstasy? Viagra? Pumpkin seeds?

Does prednisone, or methotrexate, or pentasa, or remicade or tysabri interfere with the efficacy of helminthic therapy?

We get asked these questions, and others in the neighbourhood, a lot.

Continue reading

Posted in Antibiotics, bad drugs helminthic therapy, biome restoration, drug interactions with helminthic therapy, drugs to avoid hookworm, helminthic therapy drug interactions, helminthic therapy drugs to avoid | Leave a comment

Where science is published and how to find it – Part 3 in a Series

To understand how to find and consume science, particularly on the topic of medicine, one has to understand how it is produced and published, and some of its past.

Science has not always existed, nor has medicine as we know it. In the relatively short time that the ideas of the Enlightenment have prevailed in some areas of our life, and science and medicine have been practiced, it has changed enormously.

Continue reading

Posted in big pharma, corruption, drug companies, helminthic therapy research, Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement Act, practice of science, Reading science, reading scientific papers, Research, Science, Scientific Journals, scientific method | Leave a comment

What is Science? – Part 2 of a Series

Before we start reading scientific papers we should all agree what science is. We all know what science is, right?

So what is it?

From the Oxford English Dictionary (Shorter)

“Theoretical perception of a truth, as contrasted with moral conviction (conscience).”

Sounds a little loose a definition for my purposes, and like it is a derivation of the argument between rationalists and theologians at the beginning of the Enlightenment. Perhaps I should have bought the full OED.

Continue reading

Posted in big pharma, corruption, drug companies, helminthic therapy research, Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement Act, practice of science, Reading science, reading scientific papers, Research, Science, Scientific Journals, scientific method | Leave a comment

What is the difference between a cure and remission?

I am posting this because I often find myself telling people that helminthic therapy, though it very likely could make you completely well, cannot cure you. The issue is semantics, but it is important we adhere to strict definitions, even if they cause trouble for some, in the interest of accuracy.

A cure is when a disease or illness is treated and then goes away completely. An example of this is when antibiotics are used to clear up an infection such as tonsillitis.

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Reading research for non-scientists – Part 1 of a Series

Overview

I taught myself how to read science, even going so far as to dive into statistics so I could understand what “p” meant. I did so originally so that I could understand the hygiene hypothesis, old friends hypothesis, and what came to be known as helminthic therapy. Later I continued to read it so I could do a better job helping clients, but primarily because I had grown to enjoy it.

Reading scientific papers is one of my favourite activities. I even have a “greatest hits” list of my favourite papers, which I reread. I have learned an enormous amount from the activity, and derived even more pleasure. Because of that I wanted to encourage others to do likewise.

Continue reading

Posted in big pharma, corruption, drug companies, helminthic therapy research, hygiene hypothesis, practice of science, Reading science, reading scientific papers, Research, Science, Scientific Journals, scientific method | Leave a comment

New direction for this blog

I have not had an editorial position for this blog, until now. No consistent direction or unifying theme for what to say except in general terms to speak about helminthic therapy and anything that might, however distantly, relate to the health of those who approach us for hookworm, or for whipworm.

Often I have been embarrassingly guilty of writing self-indulgent garbage I should have known was of interest only to me. Things that in retrospect should not have been of interest to me.  I apologise, it won’t happen again.

I have decided that I am going to concentrate on science for a while, what it is, how it is practiced, how it is funded, who decides what gets funded, what is published and how, and perhaps how elements of that might be improved. Science has not always been like this, or even been at all.

Continue reading

Posted in big pharma, biome restoration, ecological medicine, ecosystem, helminthic therapy, helminthic therapy research, History of Autoimmune Therapies, hygiene hypothesis, Old Friends Hypothesis, practice of science, scientific method, the body as an ecosystem | 2 Comments

Thank You Automattic for the Akismet Anti Spam Plugin

I wanted to thank Automattic, the developers of the Akismet anti comment-spam plugin for writing what is a very helpful tool for blocking comment spam on WordPress blogs.

I forgot to mention that it is free.

If you look at the screenshot below it quarantined 2,574 comments that were spam, this from early this year, around mid March I think, until now, mid September.

Most of it is in Chinese, though I did not get past the second page examining it.

If I deleted your honest post, if you submitted it and it is not published here somewhere then I deleted it, please resubmit it and I will be sure to publish. Please no marketing links, I just burn those comments.

Spam Count

2,574 comments marked as spam in less than six months

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Time to re-examine our slavish devotion to the scientific method

Someone sent me a link to some research on Psoriasis and it got me thinking again about the way science and particularly drug research is conducted, and its limitations with respect to complex systems we do not understand, like the immune system.

The subject of the direction of research in the area of immunological diseases really bothers me. I think science, because of its history and prejudices, has gone in entirely the wrong direction, and that the scientific method is part of the problem.

The scientific method works very well for simple systems like the physics of semiconductors for instance, where all but one variable can be controlled for, where all variables have been identified and understood.

That just is not possible currently for the immune system, we do not even know all of its components, or even the behaviour of any one component in all circumstances. Never mind those circumstances we create with modern drugs.

Continue reading

Posted in biome restoration, ecosystem, helminthic therapy research | Leave a comment

Multiple Sclerosis and helminthic therapy

Every one of our Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis clients who has maintained a therapeutic population of hookworm has reported achieving near or complete remission within twenty-four months, most show an improvement within six to nine months.

Every. Single. One.

I recently spoke with the gentleman who sent me the email quoted below, and he has agreed to write up an account of his experiences with helminthic therapy. I will post that here as soon as I get it.

Nor are our results always entirely subjective, although this one is typical of the emails I get from our MS clients, in this case their response is documented by their neurologist using pre- and post-helminthic therapy MRIs.

Start of email:

Hi Jasper, I just recently had a brain MRI and I wanted to share the great results with you. This is the letter from my neurologist:

“Just a short note to let you know about the results of your recent MRI of the brain done 5/30/10. We were finally able to get it compared to your previous MRI done 6/22/07 done at Kaiser Woodland Hills. Here’s a copy of the report: “Comparison exam dated 6/22/07 from outside institution is now available for review. Compared to this study, a lesion in the lateral aspect of the right thalamus has significantly decreased in size. A previous lesion in the right brachium pontis is not seen. Other white matter lesions are without significant change. Hyperintensity in the left optic nerve was not definitely seen on the prior but this area was not seen clearly given technique. No new lesion has developed.”

So things are actually improved and no new lesions are seen! This is great news! I think we can safely reduce your Copaxone to every other day provided you have an annual MRI. What are your thoughts?”

This is better news than I could have hoped for. It looks like the mild symptoms I was having were not an actual relapse. Some people get these flare ups when they get too hot, but I think that I may get them when I don’t get enough sleep. From what I understand, it is not actually disease activity, but more like a “short circuit” caused by existing scar tissue in the brain when it is exposed to certain stresses. I definitely think that the hookworms are a big part of the reason that I am doing so well. So thank you again for all the sacrifices that you’ve made to make this treatment available.

End of email.

You can read another quite incredible account on our page devoted to Multiple Sclerosis and Helminthic Therapy. The one you want is by “Ric”. He was in the very first cohort of clients, on September 25, 2007. Reading his account just now I realised I need to get him to update it, and have emailed him so we can bring it up-to-date.

If you want more than anecdote there is plenty of research, in particular that of Correale and Farez over the last decade, theirs is some of the best research into helminth’s impact on any disease there is, even now. If what is available here is not sufficient a search of PubMed, the online medical research database maintained by the National Institutes for Health is a great resource.

Correale and Farez’s work is superb(1,2,3), as you can see for yourself below, the full text of one of the papers below is available for free. See link below also.

What their work shows is that just about any infection with a helminth will slow or stop the progress of Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis.

Furthermore, their work examines some of the mechanisms explaining the impact of helminth infection on the immune systems of those with Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis. Explaining how the improvement of symptoms of those with Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis who are infected with helminths is caused by the helminths.

Taken together this has enormous potential to treat, or to eliminate, Multiple Sclerosis.

Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis is about 85% of all cases of Multiple Sclerosis.

Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis is what Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis turns into after a few years or decades. Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis forms about 10% of all cases of Multiple Sclerosis.

So, Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis is responsible for about 95% of all cases of Multiple Sclerosis.

Summarising, based on our 100% response rate treating Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis using hookworm alone, supported by powerful results from a series of well-designed and executed studies showing similar results for a variety of helminths, that provide at least part of the reason for the beneficial effects of helminth infection on the course of Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis, it appears reasonable to believe that it is possible, using tools and techniques we have right now, to prevent or to “cure” approximately 95% of all cases of Multiple Sclerosis.

But is it safe?

One branch of the United States Federal Government says so. The Centers for Disease Control.

The Centers for Disease Control, a department of the National Institutes for Health in the United States, recommends US doctors not treat light infections of hookworm (see diagnosis and treatment algorithm published by the CDC/NIH here).

Light infections being all that is required to treat Multiple Sclerosis, it is hard to understand why there is so little excitement about all this.

Source: Public Health Image Library, ID#:52454

Unfortunately the CDC is not the portion of the US Government that is concerned with regulating, and deciding what are, drugs. Sadly, for us, that portion of the Federal Government, the FDA, has decided that helminths are a drug.

According to various estimates that can be found on the web, a disease not worth treating according to the CDC is in fact a potentially dangerous drug requiring years, decades, of research likely to cost approximately $800,000,000.00, this according to sources quoted on Wikipedia. It is hard to imagine a drug company undertaking such a task to gain approval for the therapy that it could not patent, and that would supplant some of the most expensive drugs on the market today.

Take Tysabri as an example, a drug used in the USA to treat Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis. One estimate I have read on the internet states that the cost of five years treatment with Tysabri costs $140,00.00, that is the drug alone. It does not include the blood tests and doctor’s visits required by use of the drug. The cost of hookworm currently for five years benefit? $3,050.00.

Put another way, treatment with hookworm for Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis is 2.1% of the cost of Tysabri over a five year period.

While I understand why no drug companies are championing this approach for treating Multiple Sclerosis, given that doing so would amount to financial suicide, what i don’t understand is why Multiple Sclerosis sufferers, and the Charities that represent them, are not.

I don’t understand why everyone with Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis is not aware of the potential of helminthic therapy to treat Multiple Sclerosis. Why aren’t the charities championing research or promoting the use of this therapy right now?

It’s safe, remember?

Because of the universal response among our Multiple Sclerosis clients, and the excellent science available courtesy of Correale and Farez, we have decided that Multiple Sclerosis is the route to gaining wider acceptance of helminthic therapy. To persuading the medical and scientific establishment to treat the subject with the seriousness and resources it deserves.

If anyone with experience writing grant proposals, for research in particular. Or with experience working with charities wants to help, or to advise us in these efforts, please contact me by leaving a message in the comments section here, or by visiting http://autoimmunetherapies.com/contact.html.

This is absolutely the most important thing we have attempted since starting to sell helminthic therapy in September, 2007.

Success with a study will help us towards our ultimate goal, the transformation of the practice of medicine o include the use of benign infectious organisms to prevent and to treat disease. We might even help accelerate the eradication of Multiple Sclerosis, too.

Jasper Lawrence

References:

(1) The impact of parasite infections on the course of multiple sclerosis.

Correale J, Farez MF.

Abstract: Previously, we demonstrated that helminth-infected MS patients showed significantly lower number of relapses, reduced disability scores, and lower MRI activity compared to uninfected MS subjects. In the current study, 12 patients with diagnosis of relapsing remitting MS presenting parasite infections were prospectively followed during 90months; due to exacerbation of helminth-infection symptoms after 63months of follow-up, 4 patients received anti-parasite treatment. Helminth-infection control was associated with significant increase in clinical and radiological MS activities. Moreover, these patients showed significant increase in the number of IFN-γ and IL-12 producing cells, and a fall in the number of TGF-β and IL-10 secreting cells, as well as CD4+CD25+FoxP3+ Treg cells evident 3months after anti-helminth treatment began. These new observations on parasite infections associated to MS indicate that parasite regulation of host immunity can alter the course of MS.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

PMID: 21277637 Link to PubMed Entry

(2) Helminth antigens modulate immune responses in cells from multiple sclerosis patients through TLR2-dependent mechanisms.

Correale J, Farez MF.

Abstract: To better understand the link between parasite infections and the course of multiple sclerosis (MS), we studied the role of TLRs in helminth product recognition by dendritic cells (DCs) and B cells. Baseline expression of TLR2 was significantly higher in infected-MS patients compared with uninfected MS subjects or healthy controls. Moreover, cells exposed to TLR2 agonists or to soluble egg Ag (SEA) from Schistosoma mansoni resulted in significant TLR2 up-regulation. SEA suppressed the LPS-induced DCs production of IL-1beta, IL-6, IL-12, and TNF-alpha and enhanced TGF-beta as well as IL-10 production. Similarly, after exposure to SEA, anti-CD40-activated B cells increased IL-10 production. Both processes were MyD88 dependent. In addition, SEA down-regulated the expression of LPS-induced costimulatory molecules on DCs in a MyD88-independent manner. DCs stimulation by SEA and TLR2 agonists induced increasing phosphorylation of the MAPK ERK1/2. Neither stimulus showed an effect on p38 and JNK1/2 phosphorylation, however. Addition of the ERK1/2 inhibitor U0126 was associated with dose-dependent inhibition of IL-10 and reciprocal enhancement of IL-12. Finally, cytokine effects and changes observed in DCs costimulatory molecule expression after SEA exposure were lost when TLR2 expression was silenced. Overall, these findings indicate that helminth molecules exert potent regulatory effects on both DCs and B cells through TLR2 regulation conducted via different signaling pathways. This knowledge could prove critical in developing novel therapeutic approaches for the treatment of autoimmune diseases such as MS.

PMID: 19812189 Link to free copy of complete paper.

(3) Helminth infections associated with multiple sclerosis induce regulatory B cells.

Correale J, Farez M, Razzitte G.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To assess the importance of B-cell control during parasite infections in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients.

METHODS:

Peripheral blood CD19+ B cells from 12 helminth-infected MS patients, 12 MS patients without infection, 10 patients infected with Trypanosoma cruzi, 8 subjects infected with Paracoccidioides brasiliensis, and 12 healthy control subjects were purified using magnetic cell sorting. Interleukin (IL)-4, IL-6, IL-10, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, lymphotoxin, transforming growth factor-beta, brain-derived neurotrophic factor, and nerve growth factor secretion were evaluated after stimulation with CDw32 L cells and CD40 antibody using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. The production of anti-myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein IgG and IgM antibodies was evaluated by enzyme-linked immunosorbent spot assays. Cell phenotype was assessed by flow cytometry.

RESULTS:

Helminth infections in MS patients created a B-cell population producing high levels of IL-10, dampening harmful immune responses through a mechanism mediated, at least in part, by the ICOS-B7RP-1 pathway. The IL-10-producing B-cell phenotype detected expressed high levels of CD1d and was similar to the one observed in mature naive B2 cells (namely, CD11b(-), CD5(-), CD27(-), and IgD+). Moreover, B cells isolated from helminth-infected MS patients also produced greater amounts of brain-derived neurotrophic factor and nerve growth factor compared with those of normal subjects, T. cruzi-infected subjects, P. brasiliensis-infected subjects, or uninfected MS patients, raising the possibility that these cells may exert a neuroprotective effect on the central nervous system.

INTERPRETATION:

Increased production of B-cell-derived IL-10 and of neurotrophic factors are part of the parasite’s regulation of host immunity and can alter the course of MS, potentially explaining environmental-related MS suppression observed in areas with low disease prevalence.

PMID: 18655096 Link to PubMed Entry

(4) For those wanting to find the hookworm diagnosis and treatment algorithm image for themselves it is impossible to bookmark, I expect the CDC does not want their servers being used by sites like this one to host their images and to provide their bandwidth. But you can find it at http://phil.cdc.gov/phil/home.asp, use the search field to search on “hookworm” and the image is about halfway down on the right.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments