DailyDirt: Weird Remedies That Just Might Work

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Sometimes it’s smart to fight fire with fire. When it comes to various diseases, though, is it really a good idea to fight them off with other diseases? Vaccines are nice to have, but there are also more “symbiotic” remedies. Given that some people aren’t quite comfortable eating genetically modified organisms (that are dead), it may be quite some time before most people are okay with infecting themselves with specific worms or bacteria.

  • Relieve your allergies/asthma/diabetes/any-autoimmune-disease with hookworms? This remedy has been around for a few years, but some folks don’t have the patience to wait for FDA approval. [url]
  • Lose your appetite by eating roundworm eggs — and keep your new year’s weight-loss resolution. Trying this is not recommended — exercise is way better for your long term health. [url]
  • Genetically modified bacteria can help fight cavities. Just replace your natural mouth flora with bacteria that don’t cause cavities… but the experiment might be like Jurassic Park in your mouth. [url]
  • Yogurt-like drinks could prevent common bugs passed around at daycare. This yogurt-related study sponsored by Dannon should probably be taken with a grain of salt…. [url]
  • Sickle cell anemia seems to have been naturally selected for fighting malaria. Trading one disease for another isn’t really a new thing. [url]
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    Comments on “DailyDirt: Weird Remedies That Just Might Work”

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    Lawrence D'Oliveiro says:

    Hygiene Hypothesis

    Basically, there are two branches to your immune system: one that deals with bacterial and viral infections, and one that deals with parasites.

    For most of the history of our species, we?ve been afflicted with parasites. But now that we?re civilized and live in clean, parasite-free conditions, that part of our immune systems no longer has much to do.

    But remember, our immune systems, like everything else in biology, are the product of blind evolution, not any kind of intelligent design. That means they don?t act like a police force upholding any kind of law and order; instead, they?re more like a bunch of hired thugs for beating up the opposition. And that?s all they know how to do. Which means that, if they have nothing to do, they?re going to start making up imaginary enemies and attacking those.

    And nowadays, those imaginary ?enemies? turn out to be harmless things like pollen, or even our own body cells. And so we get the endemic increase in allergies and autoimmune diseases right through the civilized world. And it?s no surprise that deliberately infecting ourselves with some of those old parasites can make these problems go away.

    Anonymous Coward says:

    1 meal a day

    I’ve heard that thrown around a lot (lots of small meals). Never seen a study though. My uncle was in a Japanese prison camp for 9 months – he was given less than one meal per day and he lost over half his body weight. (true story).

    I know that’s a sample size of one, but starvation mode isn’t “miracle mode” whereby you cease to burn energy…. it it?

    Anonymous Coward says:

    Since we’re on the topic of worms, it’s worth noting that prolonged exposure (a few hours) to a (reasonably loud) high pitched sound (of higher pitch than what humans can hear) can be used to effectively expel parasitic worms from your body.

    I have no idea what the long term effects are though, they’re probably bad for you I’m sure.

    Anonymous Coward says:


    (it’s also probably worth noting that it might not be good to eliminate a heavy worm load all at once, it could cause metabolic shock. I couldn’t find any sites indicating anything about this for humans though I found a website somewhere that mentioned one must be careful not to eliminate heart worms in dogs too quickly for some reason. Do not expose your dog to such high frequency sounds, you’ll probably destroy their hearing since dogs typically hear much higher frequencies of sound than humans).

    teka (profile) says:

    1 meal a day

    sure, on a long enough timeline starvation and semi-starvation make you lose weight.

    This is incredibly unhealthy, unfortunately.

    Your uncle was not simply slimming down, his body was also attacking, eating basically, his own organs, muscles, internal fat (the stuff you need) and everything else in its struggle to keep the energy hungry brain alive.

    Whereas eating small meals, spread out through the day and keeping your overall calories to below what you are burning encourages the body to Slowly, over time, pull out that stored energy from fat And increases you metabolism to keep it in its prime

    in other words telling the deep primal body regulating systems that you are being active because you are hunting down small bits of food all over, so you must operate at peak.

    Instead of eating a single large meal or one or two large meals, which could be telling your body that you are stuffing food away, trying to retain as much energy as possible, so bury this stuff in the fat cells and get ready for more!

    *all data sourced from partially remembered health sciences courses.

    The Groove Tiger (profile) says:

    1 meal a day

    Because you’re in “starvation mode” while at the same time, eating enough food so as not to, you know, starve. The body thinks food is not easily available so it stores as much as it can from each meal.

    The other case, the body being in “starvation mode”, it starves more slowly. It still is starving, because it is actually not being fed enough food. This is by no means a healthy way to lose weight.

    Paul Keating (profile) says:

    “Since we’re on the topic of worms, it’s worth noting that prolonged exposure (a few hours) to a (reasonably loud) high pitched sound (of higher pitch than what humans can hear) can be used to effectively expel parasitic worms from your body. “

    Isn’t that why most men marry – a somewhat expensive but continuous exposure to a high-pitched sound………..?

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