1. A very interesting can of worms. I understand the accepted story of the lifecycle of the Pinworm but wondered at some opinion that Pinworms might commonly exist in the gut and only become disproportionate when poor hygiene etc reinfests with a heavy load of eggs – a population explosion. As garden worms are good for the soil – is this an indication that the existence of some parasitic worms in the body are symbiotically good for our immune system/health? I am not a pharmacist/medico but of course I do realise that we are host to all sorts of “good” organisms.

  2. Tut tut! Following on from the quote attributed to NHMRC, the next thing Ms Marron and NHMRC will be proposing is that children be deliberately exposed to measles, mumps, chicken pox, whooping cough etc to build up their immune systems and get lifetime immunity ! My goodness, now there is a thought !

  3. Nice article Loretta. Kerry makes an interesting point re: symbiotic relationships between the host immune system and the intestinal flora (and fauna). The mammalian intestine is just like any other ecosystem, an there is compelling evidence that reducing the diversity of such ecosystems (for example by excessive sanitation, antibiotic use, worming drugs) can have an impact on the development of a normal immune system.

    I would not necessarily advocate live worms as a mainstream therapy. However these proof of principle trials are necessary for understanding how natural products from worms may be novel anti-inflammatory drugs, similar to the recent successes with compounds from other creatures (gila monsters, vipers, cone snails, sponges).

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