April 16, 2011
What exactly do worms have to do with autism? Good question.
As faithful readers know, in the first of my many previous lives I was occupied as a clinical psychologist (preparation for dealing with engineers [ain't it the truth - and I'm an engineer - ed.] on a full time basis in my current life). My training was heavily focused on autistic children at a time when the autism diagnosis was very new, and I remain to this day aware of many of the treatment modalities for the illness. When I came across the article that used the phrase "worms" and "autism" together, I was hooked.How about that.
But that is only part of the story. The story of the initial failure is interesting in its own right. It illustrates how failure of an experiment does not necessarily mean failure of an idea.
After obtaining permission to administer the treatment from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under "compassionate use" rules, Stewart and Hollander navigated customs protocols to import OvaMed's formulation of T. suis ova, called TSO. They had Lawrence drink a solution containing 1,000 of the roundworm eggs every two weeks for 5 months beginning in early 2006.You know the end of the story, but I like this recounting of it.
The Johnson family anxiously awaited the effects of the full dose of TSO on Lawrence's violent behavior. Within 10 weeks of the higher-dose treatment, the autistic boy stopped smashing his head against walls. He stopped gouging at his eyes. The paralysis and frustration that held him and his family prisoners in their own home lifted. The freak outs ceased. "It wasn't gradations," remembers Stewart, who had always kept meticulous notes on Lawrence's disorder and the interventions they had attempted. "It just went away. All these behaviors just disappeared." Elated, Stewart called Lawrence's doctor, Eric Hollander. "He was stunned, because all of that behavior set was gone," Stewart says. "He was speechless, as I was."So the research results were announced in 2007. Why haven't I heard of it?
There are a lot of interesting points in the comments. I liked this one.
helminthic therapy by Herbert SmithObviously there is much more on the subject out there. Just Google worms autism.
You should also check out Worms Schizophrenia.
Cross Posted at Power and Control
posted by Simon on 04.16.11 at 03:24 PM
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