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by miss libby

A Strange Twist About Parasites

parasites, benefits,

Date:   3/28/2006 7:40:39 PM   ( 17 y ) ... viewed 2682 times

I own a few leopard geckos and i visit a forum daily to chat and learn about them.
I ran across this in the archives and was totally shocked by what i read. I am quoting the exact words of whom ever is speaking.

Here is the article....

Intestinal Parasites/Worms May Prove Beneficial

When I got an email a short time ago about treating beardies, I was in the middle of a research I wanted to do. The increase in dragons with poor immune systems and also with diseases such as diabetes have increased dramatically in the United States the past few years. Why? We thought that inbreeding with the small gene pool was a factor, I still do, but there is also another factor that can not be ignored. I am not finished yet, but what I have put together so far I thought I should share with you. Can you imagine that we are taking TOO good of care of our dragons? Keeping them too clean internally and by doing that, not allowing them to develop the normal T cell development they would have.

In treating dragons whenever the slightest thing shows on a fecal, we may be causing far more harm than good and actually allowing a far more serious disease a foothold in our animals. Are we missing a link in the "hygiene" hypothesis that is being advance by many University and Medical School. Several studies have been conducted and results are really surprising. Below I am going to just list a few and the URL's to them, most these deal with humans, some mice, but the surprising thing is that many of these studies are introducing the same or similar parasites/worms to cure disease, that we are knocking out of our animals!!

Quoted from : http://www.endotext.org/diabetes/diabetes5/diabetes5.htm

With increasing public health, a "hygiene" hypothesis has been advanced, particularly directed at asthma and type 1 diabetes(60). It is hypothesized that as the environment becomes "cleaner" the normal development of the immune system is disrupted (e.g. regulatory T cell development is subnormal) resulting in increases of both presumed Th2 (asthma) and Th1 (Type 1 diabetes) mediated diseases. For instance, one review discusses decreasing pinworm infection as a potential factor.

Quoted from : http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uid...

Helminths inhibit the development of atopic disease via induction of regulatory T cells and secretion of Il-10, and pinworms inhibit diabetes development in the non-obese diabetic (NOD) mouse. The most successful human helminth of the western world is the pinworm. Their decline in response to improved living conditions might explain a number of features of the epidemiology of childhood atopy and diabetes.

From New York Times
By Andy Newman

For most of the Western history, the average child walked around with a bellyful of parasitic worms: pinworms, tapeworms, hookworms. Then modern civilization came along,put shoes on the children's feet, installed sewers and stopped using human waste as fertilizer, and the worms almost disappeared.

But there may be a downside to all this hygiene. Children in industrialized countries, which are relatively worm free, have a greater tendency than those in other countries to grow into adults with autoimmune disorders, in which the body makes antibodies that can cause disease: rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, lupus, inflammatory bowel disease.

Maybe this is a coincidence, but maybe not. Recently, researchers at the University of Iowa gave a drink containing the eggs of helminths, a parasitic worm, to six people suffering from acute, chronic inflammatory bowel disease. Five went into remission, and the sixth improved substantially.

None got sick from the worms; all relapsed after the worms left their system. "Every one of those patients is begging to be re-treated," said the lead researcher, Dr. Joel Weinstock.

Research on Potential Helminthic Therapy of Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Joel Weinstock M.D., David Elliott, M.D., Robert Summers, M.D., Khurram Qadir, M.D.

Experiments conducted by Dr. David Elliott, et al at the University of Iowa using mice with experimental inflammatory bowel disease showed that helminthic worms protected the animals from this disease.

Digestive disease specialists at the University of Iowa are now organizing additional clinical trials to gain additional data and knowledge about this potential treatment of inflammatory bowel disease. Helminths are not being used as a routine clinical treatment for patients with inflammatory bowel disease. The encouraging results of the initial research must be tested and substantiated by further research. Therefore, we are only using this agent under a strictly controlled research protocol.

Developed countries have a larger by 50 times the amount of diabetes in children and gut related diseases in adults, yet the most undeveloped ones such as China and Africa have the smallest per capita of the same diseases. Can it be related to "hygiene" hypothesis? It makes sense! Another study took 50 adults that were not responding to traditional diabetes medications to control it, after induction of pinworms, more than 1/2 had normal blood sugar levels....... lets not toss out the meds and start drinking pinworms, but follow up research is certainly warranted.

So...... do we treat or not, obviously if the animal's health is being compromised, there is no doubt we should, but I think we all need to think real hard on treating an animal that shows something on a fecal float or smear when there are no other symptoms present. We know so little about host or symbiotic relationships in animals and even less in bearded dragons.. if its not broken, lets think hard about it and talk to our vets about NOT fixing it. This is something that you can take to your vet and discuss, most I have found are very willing to listen if you have documentation with you by respected researchers and it is an ongoing education for them.


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