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Hookworm Treatment Trial for MS Does Not Reduce MRI-Detected Brain Lesions but Alters Immune Profiles

June 18, 2020

Researchers in England and Romania report that administering hookworm treatment into the skin via an arm bandage did not reduce disease activity on MRI scans – the primary goal of the study – but did increase the numbers of regulatory immune cells. This strategy is based on the ”hygiene hypothesis,” which suggests that the reduced exposure to microbes in countries with higher sanitation standards may make the immune system over-react to infections, possibly leading to MS.

In an accompanying editorial, Drs. Daniel Ontaneda and Jeffrey Cohen of the Cleveland Clinic comment that, although this therapy was shown to be safe, its limited effectiveness make it unlikely to become a standalone treatment for MS.

Read more from HealthDay

Read a summary of the paper in JAMA Neurology

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis, and there is currently no cure for MS. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are leading to better understanding and moving us closer to a world free of MS. An estimated 1 million people live with MS in the United States. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, and it affects women three times more than men.

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