Monday, October 26, 2009

Houdini Hookworms

Nothing says love like a hookworm.

This is a 100%, genuine Crohn's-related post - I swear!

Okay, so you know how Matt gets these crazy ideas in his head? Well, if you don't, just go with it. The other week my darling husband was listening to
Radiolab (which he loves quite possibly more than yours truly) and heard an interesting story of how parasites can we used to cure folks with autoimmune diseases. Actually, let me be more graphic: parasites in the form of gnarly, grotesque HOOKWORMS. He then lectured me (the boy thinks he's a parasitic expert or something) on how this fringe of (deranged - I added that) people who had all sorts of autoimmune conditions infected themselves with hookworms and then, magically, went into remission (if you want to be all scientific about it, it's called "Helminthic Therapy").

He said the podcast spoke specifically to colitis and Crohn's.
He then emphasized (a bit too much) how we could "just order them on the Internet". Them being the HOOKWORMS. I'm, sorry, I can not go easy on the caps when I'm speaking of such creatures. He actually said the following: "You know, I bet I could infect you with HOOKWORMS and you wouldn't even know it." He then stomped around and got irritated when I curtly said I would never, ever, EVER, infect myself with a wormy parasite. He then said I was being irrational and I could be cured. So, thank you, Radiolab. Really. Because this song and dance has be going on for three weeks now, and I swear the boy is spending late nights Googling parasite farms.

And if I open a jar of hookworms on Christmas, so help me God...


UPDATE: Just saw how my Crohn's blogging compatriot, Bright Side, touched on this subject a few hours ago! I guess it's just a wormy sort of day.


  1. must really be the week for worms -- i've been reading up on them quite a bit lately, and seriously wishing i'd known about them before i started Remicade. all these Crohn's-friendly SCD and Mediterrranean diets are supposed to cure us through getting back to our Paleolithic habits... why not toss in Necator Americanus and really get to the more modern age underdeveloped roots? chronologically speaking, that should be more achievable anyway, right? :)

  2. I don't want to cause any marital strife, but if your husband would like more information on Helminthic Therapy I'd be willing to send him what I have.

  3. Ya know, Kathryn, they are kinda cute little suckers... this being Halloween and all. And anyway, you probably have eyelash mites, so what's a few hookworms in the gut? I am now going to troll through Luke's blog, and check out that Mental Floss article. Mom

  4. Ragamuffin,
    Love how you refered to hookworms as "necator americanus" - it almost takes the chills factor out of it!

    Glanced at your blog, but will read in full at night. I have to say, I'm very intrigued...if not frightened.

    Until you have Crohn's, no comment from the peanut gallery! (Unless you infect yourself with them out of solidarity...then we'll talk.)

    That last comment also goes for Matthew.

    I've got my wormy reading to do tonight!

  5. I tried hookworms 2 years ago, and I've been in remission as long as I host them. It's really not that big of deal, and the hygiene hypothesis says the reason we have all of these autoimmune diseases and allergies are because our immune systems are meant to live in harmony with certain parasites. They just did a double blind study with celiac disease in Australia, and it worked. You can have a bad initial reaction, but subsequent infections are almost side effect free. I've had Crohn's for 21 years, and finally I've found relief. I'd put aside your fear and go for it. Once they're in there and settled, you don't know you're infected, you just get back perfect blood tests. My stools aren't perfect, but they may never be after all of this time. But I'm at a normal weight, pain free, and finally have some hope. Much less scarey than Remicade and all the normal drugs we've got with cancer risks, etc.

    Debora Wade

  6. Debra,
    I re-read this entry and cringed a bit - please know I'm being tongue-in-cheek. :-)

    If I get sick again - which I know is most likely the case - I will full-heartedly (I sincerely think) consider hookworms. As of now (just had surgery end of April), I'm feeling mighty fine (considering). I never got super-duper ill with Crohn's: my weight never dropped, never spent all day in the bathroom, etc. But I realize how quickly that can change (has a fistula/abscess this past fall, was on TPN for a bit, then finally surgery, which I know can open "a can of worms!!" haha).

    I'm wondering how accepted this is by the medical community. I'm based out of Philadelphia - is this something GIs are aware of and advocating? Did you do this in tandem with your doctor?

    Above all, thank you for commenting!

  7. Still worm-free; sorry for the lack of excitement!

  8. im about to start hookworm therapy in a couple of weeks and im really looking forward to it if it works like it seems to have for many people i will be screaming it from the roof tops

    Matt Cook - england

    any advice you can give me or i can give you email me at

  9. I haven't done hemilithic therapy, but hopefully you've already seen and which both discuss the matter at length from a personal viewpoint. Thanks!