Duke Medicine News & Communications: Worms and germs lead to

 Duke Medicine News & Communications: Worms and germs lead to.

Duke Medicine News & Communications: Worms and germs lead to better immune function
by: Natural News Editors
biodiversity, immune function, health

DURHAM, N.C. – A growing body of evidence in the medical community holds that greater diversity of bacteria and even worms in the digestive tract offers protection against a variety of allergic and autoimmune problems. (Story by Duke Medicine News and Communications, republished from DukeMedicine.comhttp://corporate.dukemedicine.org/news_and_publications/news_office/news/news_and_publications/news_office/news/worms-and-germs-lead-to-better-immune-function)

Germs from healthy people can be used to heal people with digestive disorders and other conditions caused by the loss of their own germs, and worms that live in the gut, called helminths, have shown success in quelling inflammatory diseases.

With this in mind, researches at Duke Medicine hypothesized that enhancing biodiversity in laboratory rats, including treating the rats with worms, would suppress their immune systems. Because worms have been shown to subdue inflammatory diseases such as asthma and allergies, the thinking was, the treated immune system would not fight infections as effectively.

Actual findings were quite the opposite. Researchers found enhanced rather than suppressed immune function in animals with increased biodiversity.

Publishing online in the April 8, 2015, issue of PLOS ONE, the findings add to the growing understanding of the complex environment in the digestive tract and its role in maintaining health.

“We were surprised – we thought enhancing biodiversity would make the animals more immune-suppressed,” said senior author William Parker, Ph.D., associate professor of surgery at Duke. “But it appears that at the same time we enhanced the biodiversity in a way that should suppress allergy and auto-immunity, we also enhanced the immune response to a variety of stimuli.”

Parker and colleagues went to lengths to place the laboratory rats in a natural environment that would closely recreate natural levels of biodiversity. Read More

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