Friday, April 09, 2010

It's Allergy Season and I Could Sure Use Some Hookworms!

Yesterday I was driving to New Orleans getting my daily podcast fix in as I crossed the Causeway.  The podcast choice for yesterday was This American Life (one of my favorites).  This particular episode kind of blew me away with a story about a guy named Jasper Lawrence who willingly infected himself with hookworms to cure his asthma and allergies.  

Apparently developing countries don’t have near the problems with asthma and allergies that we do in the developed world and this is in part due to how clean we have made the world.  In the developing world there is a much higher hookworm infection rate which has proved to be the link in suppressing auto-immune diseases.  Jasper Lawrence was desperate for relief from his allergies and asthma when he came across the studies on hookworms.  After making multiple failed attempts to buy hookworms from laboratories he ended up visiting many villages in Camaroon (Africa) to walk barefoot in their latrines (hookworms enter through the feet).  After doing this about 40 times he went back home to the UK.  He achieved his goal of getting infected and subsequently cured his asthma and allergies.  Now he is a hookworm dealer

The question for today is… Would you willingly infect yourself with hookworms to cure your allergies, asthma, or other autoimmune disease (before you answer just take one more look at the picture of the worm that would attach to your small intestine to live of your blood)? 


2 comments:

Carlos said...

I heard the same segment. I think it is an inditment of where we are with the world. As humans we want despiratly to mold the world in the direction we want it to go. I often wonder if sometimes we damage ourselves as we seek mastery over this temperal world we live in. That having been said, I am probably not going to seek hookworm infestation, although I don't deny it may actually help with some things :)

Pi Man said...

LOL! I'll pass on that one. And that picture is SCARY! Reminds me of old mother-in-law jokes, but I'll pass on that also... this time. 8^) TA