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Dr. Oz talks about Whipworm therapy for Ulcerative Colitis!

Dr. Oz, the fabulously famous medical TV talk show that has taken the country by storm recently had a segment on “weird therapies that work!”, and included the idea of using whipworm to treat ulcerative colitis. This is perhaps the biggest media splash yet for helminthic therapy. Although it has been mentioned on TV in a few forms (most noted on this blog), on CNN, featured as a therapy on the medical drama shows House and Grey’s Anatomy, even mentioned on the Daily Show, being featured on the Dr. Oz show is excellent news for promoting this therapy. Although it was presented in the typical ‘gross out’ way with wiggly earth worms, to Dr. Oz Mehmet’s credit, he at least briefly noted that it is a serious therapy backed up by good science, and even recommended that people look into clinical trials if drugs are not working for them. Watch both parts below, “Weird Health Remedies”, part 1 and part 2.

It’s worth pointing out however that the video of whipworm in the colon that Dr. Oz used is a clip from YouTube that I’ve seen before of a young girl who had a massive amount of whipworm, literally thousands, and was in extremely bad shape because of it, and is NOT what your colon would look like if you used the whipworms therapeutically!

Weird Health Remedies, Pt. 1


Some of the most unusual remedies may be the most effective ones. See 3 of the strangest remedies for your health concerns, from smelly feet to…

Weird Health Remedies, Pt. 2


Some of the most unusual remedies may be the most effective ones. See 3 of the strangest remedies for your health concerns, from smelly feet to…

HT Facebook Forum

There is a new forum on Facebook to discuss helminthic therapy, moderated by my friend and fellow helminth user Herbert Smith, he not affiliated with any company and is extremely well versed in helminthic therapy, both the science and as a patient who hosts both whipworm and hookworm. Because it’s a private forum (for the sake of privacy), Herbert needs to add you to the group if you wish to join. I think if you email this address he can do it. It’s open to everyone.

HelminthicTherapy@groups.facebook.com

Or you could also ‘friend’ Herbert on Facebook–he adds everyone interested in the therapy is an excellent resource! Click here to add him:

http://www.facebook.com/Helminthic.Therapy

On that note, here’s a comment he made recently in the forum that I particularly liked:
Here’s my problem with biological drugs(remicade, humira, cimzia, etc):

they completely turn off a major part of the immune system, the one that produces TNF-alpha. The problem is that same mechanism is the same one that fights infections and cancers. No one knows what kind of cancers it will cause after using them for 10 years, or for 30 years. Not even FDA knows that. It’s like fixing a fine swiss watch with a hammer. The human immune system is an incredibly complex mechanism that took millions of years to evolve to work well with our environment. So we went ahead and changed our environment in the last 80 years (namely got rid of a lot of beneficial organisms such as helminths) and now we wonder why that finely tuned mechanism is malfunctioning, and we are using a hammer to fix it. These autoimmune illnesses were almost unheard of before 1920. They still don’t exist in Africa – not Crohn’s, not UC, not asthma or multiple sclerosis. Really, look at epidemiology records. I have.
Helminths have evolved with us for millions of years – that’s the longest clinical trial ever. Our immune systems were designed to co-exist with them. Right now, today at this very moment – over 900 million people in the world have helminthic organisms. Humira has at most 10 years of trials and it was already implicated in infections and cancers.
I rest my case.

– Herbert Smith

Open Source Helminthic Therapy wiki

An excellent resource for those interested in Helminthic Therapy is the open source wiki that has been created to act as a central hub for information regarding the therapy. It is a very comprehensive collection of news articles, scientific journals, and other relevant and interesting stuff.

Because it’s a wiki, it is always being added to, so consider submitting your own story/experience with the therapy if you are currently using it. Click below for the link.

Open Source Helminthic Therapy

2010 in review & Happy New Year!

A very happy new year to everyone who reads my blog! I wish you all a 2011 free from pain and suffering. I dont consider myself to be a strong person, but those whom I’ve met who suffer from this awful disease are some of the strongest out there. But even the strongest need support sometimes. Please, lets all do a little extra this year to support those who need it, continue the search for a cure for IBD, and try to get more exposure for this very promising therapy. Even in my worst days, when I felt completely hopeless and deeply depressed, it was the support of my family and friends who kept me getting out of bed in the morning to face an uncertain day. Chin up everyone, and never give up hope. Peace and love to you all.

I started this blog to let people follow my experience with helminthic therapy, and hope that it has been informative and interesting. Wordpress sent me my ‘year in review’ summary. Figured I’d share.

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Crunchy numbers

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 2,900 times in 2010. That’s about 7 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 25 new posts, not bad for the first year! There were 30 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 8mb. That’s about 3 pictures per month.

The busiest day of the year was December 22nd with 100 views. The most popular post that day was Fascinating podcast on Trichuris trichiura.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were lukecology.blogspot.com, health.groups.yahoo.com, opensourcehelminththerapy.org, waitingforthecure.com, and blog.autoimmunetherapies.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for helminthic therapy, colon comrades, love worm, dr. joel weinstock ovamed, and helminthic therapy guardian.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Fascinating podcast on Trichuris trichiura December 2010

2

Helminths in the News June 2010

3

About June 2010

4

Helminthic Community July 2010
1 comment

5

Providers June 2010

Fascinating podcast on Trichuris trichiura

This Week in Parasitism (who knew there was such a show?!) held an hour-long podcast dealing almost entirely with Trichuris trichiura, human whipworm, which is the exact organism that I have a nuzzled into my large intestines, keeping my immune system in check and my IBD at bay. It’s a really fascinating talk, provides some new information, and in general it’s just wonderful to hear someone with so much expertise and interest in these ‘parasites’ ramble on and on. If only I knew my future would have nights like this.
*Props to fellow helminth-comrade Herbert Smith for this excellent find.

BREAKING NEWS: Helminthic therapy is blowing up the news world

The case of the Ulcerative Colitis patient who has achieved years of sustained remission using trichuris trichuira (human whipworm, the same helminth I’m using) that was first reported in the Scientific American article that I recently posted has blown up the health news world, well, relatively speaking.

CNN picked up the story, put it on the front page of their website and ran TV segments on it. Their online article received over 500+ comments alone. This is huge exposure for helminthic therapy and will surely help garner more attention to this incredibly promising therapy. Over the past two weeks the story has popped up all over the place.

CNN.com: Man Finds Extreme Healing Eating Parasitic Worms (Dec. 9)

NPR: Eat Your Worms: The Upside of Parasites (Dec. 2)

Los Angeles Times: New hints on how helminth worms heal ulcerative colitis (Dec. 1)

The Hindu: When overzealous immune system is to blame (Dec. 9)

The Boston Globe: Studies hint parasites can be good for you (Dec. 6)

Business Week: Worm Therapy Show Promise For Ulcerative Colitis (Dec. 1)

ABC.com: Man doses himself with a parasite for intestinal problems (Dec. 2)

MSNBC.com: Have a gut problem? Try swallowing some worms (Dec. 2)

Aol.com: Study: Swallowing worms soothed man’s ulcerative colitis (Dec. 2)

Discover.com: A New Treatment for Bowel Problems: Eating 1,000 Parasitic Worm Eggs (Dec. 2)

While I think it’s great for helminthic therapy to continue getting increasing news coverage, the news critic in me just cannot get over the absolute froth-at-the-mouth excitement of journalists at this story. The narratives here go something like this: OMG! A wacky guy travelled to some wacky tropical poor exotic place and swallowed WORM EGGS (OMG OMG GROSSSS) to cure some tummy issues (who cares?) and some goofy scientists are buying it! Hmm, who can come up with the most hyperbolic headline?

It would be really fantastic if any of these journalists did even 20 minutes worth of wikipedia reading or googling on this story, rather than just repeating it verbatim. If they did, they’d learn a few things;

This is NOT a new idea or therapy. Props to news organizations like the BBC which ran this story seven years ago–when the idea of using helminths to treat IBD and other autoimmune diseases was actually new.

BBC: Eat Worms, Feel Better (published ‘way back’ in 2003)

Nor is it “one crazy guy” who swallowed worms eggs to treat his IBD any longer, there are now many hundreds of us. If any of the reporters writing this story wanted a news story that was both accurate and highly revelatory about our system of healthcare research that is dominated by corporate interests and the bottom-line of big pharma, they could include in their story WHY it has been decades with very few scientific studies published on this therapy, despite incredible potential in the animal and few human trials done. WHY hundreds of us have been driven to join up in an kind of underground online worm community, sharing our experiences, experimenting largely without medical guidance (save Marc and a few other heros), having to leave the country on ‘medical vacations’ to receive worms from suppliers who have been harassed and chased out of the U.S. by the FDA. Is that not a compelling news story?! Of course, to have a story like that would mean going against the interests of the very pharma corporations who both are owned by their parent companies (5 super-corporate conglomerates dominate our media system) and provide a huge % of the advertising revenue for their shows–especially on cable news. Hmm, I’ll take swallowing 1,000 parasitic worm eggs over having to watch CNN or FOX any day.

Enough with my rant. Exposure is exposure, and we need it. Keep it comin’ boys, Hoorah!

What’s perhaps most exciting, for me at least, there was a brief reference to helminthic therapy on the Daily Show, as Jon Stewart was rediculuing CNN for using the explosive diarrhea scene from the movie Dumb and Dumber as a lead into their story on helminthic therapy. As someone who has suffered from years of running to the bathroom and sometimes debilitating and humiliating bowel problems (along the the 1.5 million other Americans with IBD), it was a bit offensive, and I was smiling big to see my boy J Stew put the smack down on CNN for their ridiculousness.

J Stew on CNN for their intro to story on “worm cure” (it’s at around 12:00 minutes into the episode)

*Shout out to fellow helminth-comrade Debora over at watingforthecure.com for finding the Daily Show reference.

Scientific American article on Human Whipworm

Scientific American has come out with a fascinating article about ‘parasite immunologist’ P’ng Loke (who’se now at NYU) who just published his fascinating and exciting research on helminths and IBD. He followed one patient for 3-4 years while the patient used human whipworm (the same helminths I host) to treat Ulcerative Colitis, to excellent results. The patient reached full remission, and only flared up again around the time the the whipworms began to die off, once he re-innoculated, he went back into full remission.

This is particularly exciting for me because there simply is not much research specifically on trichuris trichiura (human whipworm). There is much more on the use of hookworm and TSO (pig whipworm), so it’s really encouraging to finally see such detailed work that sheds light on how beneficial this organism can be. My experience so far mirrors that of P’ng Loke’s patient quite fully.

Here’s the article:

For the Good of the Gut: Can Parasitic Worms Treat Autoimmune Diseases?

Oh, and be sure to read all the comments after the article! Many helminth users wrote about their experience. Consider contributing to the discussion! Every little bit of promotion we can do helps, as this therapy is not going to attract the $$ of big pharma. The more interest is generated, the better the likelihood for more research.

A Cause for (some) Celebration

I’ve been holding back. I’ve been couching my words. I’ve been wary of posting anything with too much excitement or too much fanfare. I know this therapy is not a panacea or a cure-all, I know it hasn’t worked miracles (well, for some it has), and that is hasn’t worked for everyone or every condition.

Up until this point, no matter how good I felt or how encouraging my bowels had been, I always had the tiny, nagging thought that maybe, just maybe it was too good to be true. Maybe it was a cruel coincidence, that the helminths didnt “take” and I was just feeling better out of randomness. Or worse, it was placebo. No longer.

Two weeks ago I sent a stool sample to Marc at AIT for analysis, and the results came back as simply “very good ova production.” I know it sounds silly, but just the simple confirmation that I’m hosting a healthy population of helminths is a huge relief for me. Up until this point, I had no actual confirmation that I even had a single helminth alive inside me. Now I can finally start to fully enjoy the feeling of being well. And I do mean well. I was inoculated on June 20th, about five months ago. The first month was up and down, I still had some bad bowel days. The second month, things got better. Third month, I was basically having great BMs everyday. Over the last two months, I have had perfect bowels, every single day. One BM per day, solid, no mucus, no pain. Every time I go into the bathroom it’s like christmas morning. Except instead of a new bicycle or a sony playstation, I get a nice, solid poop.

Oh, over the past few months I had tapered my IBD medicine (Colazal) to just 1/3 of a dose. Now I’m completely off from it, have been for over a month now. Have not seen any changes at all.

I can only hope to continue experience such excellent results. I’ve been biting my tongue for so long, trying to be patient. I still can’t say “mission accomplished,” but I am feeling more confident about this therapy by the day.

So:

Here’s to you (all), my little colon comrades. Kick up your feet (err tail), stretch out your legs, I mean your, uh, body? Relax, feel at home. Find a nice mucosal membrane and thread your little tail in, take some nibbles of my nutritious intestinal lining tissue, then maybe have a nap. Eat, sleep, grow big and strong and live a full life. Don’t forget to flex your tail muscles when that slender and curvaceous female whipworm wiggles on by. Go ahead, go ask her out. Don’t be shy. I hear the view from the  top of my cecum is excellent this time of year. Take her out, show her the world (of my intestines). Yeah, that’s right, move a little closer. Wait until the moment is just right for that first.. kiss (do they do that?). You were born for this. Try to work with the rhythm of the peristalsis contractions. I’m expecting a healthy ova production so keep up the mating, my little comrades in love.