There are very few studies on the effect of helminths on humans. As a patient trying this therapy, there are few immune markers we have on hand to check immune response. We have measures of inflammation, like CRP and SED rates, but only in the research setting can one measure IL-10, the T 1 and T2 arms, etc. All we have is eosinophilia and standard stool tests to assess worm burden.
Eosinophils rise in response to hookworm infection, seeming to peak between weeks 3-10. This study describes that eosiniphils peak between days 38-64 :
Peaks between weeks 3-9:
Starts to be elevated at days 14-21, peaked on day 42 and declined to
a persistently elevated level:
Peaked week 5, declined by week 20:
“In the CD cohort, blood eosinophilia developed from week 5 (mean
2.60Ã—109/l (1.89) v week 1 0.18Ã—109/l (0.10) v week 20 0.59 (0.20)). ”
But my favorite study, the MS study in Argentina, where they tracked 12 MS patients already infected with helminths and compared them to 12 other MS patients over a 4.6 year period, only recruited the helminth infected patients if their eosinophelia was high, (800-1800 mm3) and it stayed that way for the duration of the study. Their quantitative egg counts were also high: between 1,180 and 9,340 eggs/gram.
Eosinophils reflect parasitic infection, and the higher the number, usually the larger the worm burden. One indication that one has lost their worm infection would be having an elevated EOS for an extended length of time, then having it fall to baseline. Obviously, stool tests would confirm this, as well as symptom regression. In the dose-ranging trial, the higher doses resulted in higher EOS counts, though they did not test longer than 12 weeks.
I only tested my EOS at baseline and 18 weeks, so I never tracked a rise and fall. Baseline values were 74 cells/mcL and only rose to 192 post infection. (Normal is 15-550). Remember, I added worms from weeks 10-18, which may have provoked an immune response that curtailed the new worms from attaching, and possibly displaced some of the first 10, like this capsule endoscopy study shows. So by week 18, perhaps I had very few worms…
I will be testing EOS at weeks 3, 6, 9, and 12 to see how they respond to 10 larvae. I don’t think 10 hookworms are going to be enough to cause persistent eosinophilia. And like the MS study, it seems important to get and maintain a large enough worm burden to stimulate eosinophilia, and maintain a higher egg count. I’m very curious what my results will be this time…