This article lays out the possibility that certain helminths (worms) may prove to be beneficial for joint disease.  It is very early

Woman with a glass with Greens

Rethinking Bacteria and Parasites?

in the science, but from my uninformed reading of the material, there may be a link between autoimmune disease and parasites but in a beneficial way.  We discussed the possible link between autism/autoimmune dysfunction and parasites in a previous post.

Click on the photo for the full article.

I happened to hear a radio show yesterday evening where there were jokes made about people in the south eating dirt and clay.  One can’t help but wonder if there might be some immune benefit to challenging the system in this way, otherwise, why would this habit have endured for centuries?

I am fascinated by this line of inquiry and wonder if acupuncture doesn’t have some of its positive immune effects from mimicking helmiths.  Just saying.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21584243
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3092582/helminth Parasites and the Modulation of Joint InflammationJ Parasitol Res. 2011;2011:942616. doi: 10.1155/2011/942616. Epub 2011 Apr 18.Helminth parasites and the modulation of joint inflammation.Matisz CE, McDougall JJ, Sharkey KA, McKay DM.SourceGastrointestinal Research Group, Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, The Calvin, Phoebe and Joan Snyder Institute of Infection Immunity and Inflammation, 1877 HSC University of Calgary, 3330 Hospital Drive NW, Calgary, AB, Canada T2N 4N1.AbstractThere is an urgent need to develop better therapeutics for autoimmune and autoinflammatory diseases, of which musculoskeletal disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis are particularly prevalent and debilitating. Helminth parasites are accomplished masters at modifying their hosts’ immune activity, and so attention has focused on rodent-helminth model systems to uncover the workings of the mammalian immune response to metazoan parasites, with the hope of revealing molecules and/or mechanisms that can be translated into better treatments for human autoimmune and idiopathic disorders. Substantial proof-of-principal data supporting the concept that infection with helminth parasites can reduce the severity of concomitant disease has been amassed from models of mucosal inflammation. Indeed, infection with helminth parasites has been tried as a therapy in inflammatory bowel disease, and there are case reports relating to other conditions (e.g., autism); however, the impact of infection with parasitic helminths on musculoskeletal diseases has not been extensively studied. Here, we present the view that such a strategy should be applied to the amelioration of joint inflammation and review the literature that supports this contention.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21584243
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3092582/
helminth Parasites and the Modulation of Joint Inflammation