We’ve got used to the idea of probiotic drinks, which supply bacteria similar to those that naturally and helpfully colonise the gut, but can be destroyed by, for example, taking antibiotics. Now a US team suggests that adding another form of life to the body may help sufferers from Crohn’s disease.
In developing countries where most people carry worms in their guts, Crohn’s is rare. Knowing that the helminth worm reduces immune responsiveness and inflammation in colitis, the team from University of Iowa enrolled 29 Crohn’s sufferers to take live worms’ eggs every three weeks for 24 weeks. After 12 weeks and at 24 weeks, roughly three out of four of the volunteers were in remission, without side effects.
Summers RW et al, Gut 2005 Jan; 54(1): 87 – 90
(Centre for Digestive Diseases, University of Iowa, 200 Hawkins Drive, Iowa City, IA 52242)
N.B. Readers might recall that John Scott (FM November & December 04) is anxious to experiment with another worm, Necator Americanus, to see whether it might have an equally beneficial effect on his massive food intolerances.