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Effect on weight gain of routinely giving albendazole to preschool children during child health days in Uganda: cluster randomised controlled trial

BMJ 2006; 333 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.38877.393530.7C (Published 13 July 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;333:122

Worms; Are They Good Guys or Bad Guys?

It was interesting to read the study by Alderman et al on deworming
the malnourished children and demonstrating its effects on weight gain
(1). It is quite amusing to note that when developing world is combating
malnutrition by treating worm infestation, developed countries are looking
at the worms with more respect and planning to use them as treatment in
many conditions. Weinstock et al suggest that helminths induce regulatory
T cell activity and these effects may have protected individuals from many
of the emerging immune-mediated illnesses like IBD, multiple sclerosis,
type I diabetes, and asthma (2). Trichuris suis ova therapy was found to
be useful in the treatment of both ulcerative colitis and crohn’s disease
(3,4). This contrasting approach towards worms in different parts of world
points to the gap of knowledge about nature's influence on immunity and
the need for extensive research on the impact of helminthic infection and
immune regulation.

Competing interests to declare: none

References.

1.Harold Alderman, Joseph Konde-Lule, Isaac Sebuliba, Donald Bundy,
and Andrew Hall. Effect on weight gain of routinely giving albendazole to
preschool children during child health days in Uganda: cluster randomised
controlled trial BMJ 2006 333: 122

2. Weinstock JV, Summers RW, Elliott DE. Role of helminths in
regulating mucosal inflammation. Springer Semin Immunopathol. 2005
Jun;27(2):249-71.

3. Summers RW, Elliott DE, Urban JF Jr, Thompson RA, Weinstock JV.
Trichuris suis therapy for active ulcerative colitis: a randomized
controlled trial. Gastroenterology. 2005 Apr;128(4):825-32.

4. Summers RW, Elliott DE, Urban JF Jr, Thompson R, Weinstock JV
Trichuris suis therapy in Crohn's disease. Gut. 2005 Jan;54(1):77, 96

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

18 July 2006
Rafeeq Muhammed
Specialist Registrar Paediatrics
University Hospital of North Durham, Durham DH1 5TW