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Omar O. Barriga oobarrig at pop.service.ohio-state.edu
Tue Mar 11 23:16:22 EST 1997

In article <332368E1.46CB at bcc.orst.edu> "A. Kimo Morris" <morrisk at bcc.orst.edu> writes:
>From: "A. Kimo Morris" <morrisk at bcc.orst.edu>
>Newsgroups: alt.food.fat-free,bionet.parasitology
>Subject: Re: Tapeworms
>Date: Mon, 10 Mar 1997 01:50:25 +0000
>Organization: Oregon State University
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>Mike wrote:
>> X-No-Archive: yes
>> I would like to know about any potential application there is of
>> beneficial impact of tapeworms on humans, or for that matter, any other
>> animals.  Can they help me diet?  Is there any documented evidence or
>> information on any sort of symbiotic relationship between tapeworms and
>> humans, or any other animal.  They clear the gut... the intestines, right?
>> What precisely do they eat?  I would be gratified if someone truly
>> knowledgeable on the subject could make some comments.
>> Presumably if they live from one host to the next, one of the host animal
>> they live in must not be considerably disadvantaged by this...


>Graham Clark correctly pointed out in this thread, that tapeworm eggs 
>were advertised in the early part of this century as a diet aid for 
>women.  In hindsight, this idea was silly.  Omar Barriga rightfully 
>pointed out that adult tapeworms in humans inflict little pathology 
>(often unnoticable).

>I wanted to add another interesting point.  Adult tapeworms exhibit 
>competition for space, and some worms (in moderate to heavy 
>infections) can be forced to reside in a less desirable area of the 
>gut.  This often decreases the feeding efficiency of the worms 
>collectively, and they become stunted.  I remember in my intro to 
>parasitology class, we infected three rats with varying intensities of 
>H. diminuta worm burdens (1, 10, and 50 cysticercoids).  The rat with 
>the 50 worms did not appear any less healthy after two months, and the 
>worms that were crowded were an order of magnitude smaller than the 
>worm in the single infection.  We suspected that one or two "happy" 
>worms in the gut actually take more host energy than 50 competing 

>SO, THE PUNCHLINE:  The women in the '20s who were popping worm pills 
>(no doubt thinking that more is better) probably loaded themselves 
>with many worms in hopes that "more worms" would mean more weight 
>loss, but ended up making a worthless effort even more worthless (if 
>such a thing is possible).  

>So, women (and men), if you want to loose weight, stay away from the 
>adult cestodes...  they'll just frustrate you.  I suggest using a 
>different critter to solve your weight woes.  Perhaps a nice Ascaris 
>worm or two... no more than a dozen though.  Please consult the 
>nearest parasitologists who works with malnutrition inducing 
>parasites. They might be able to provide you with what you need.  (of 
>course, I'm kidding).  ;-)

>You're welcome,

>-- Kimo

>A. Kimo Morris              |
>Department of Entomology    | Office   - (541)737-2453
>Oregon State University     | FAX      - (541)737-3643
>Cordley Hall 2046           | Internet - morrisk at bcc.orst.edu
>Corvallis,OR 97331-2907,USA | http://www.orst.edu/~morriaar
>"I hope that some animal never bores a hole in my head and lays
>its eggs in my brain, because later you might think you're
>having a good idea but it's just eggs hatching" -- Jack Handy

I resent Kimo's move against the adult cestodes. They got into this 
discussion first and, therefore, they deserve a central place in it.
Any other attitude will be discriminatory ;-). On the other hand. Ascaris
gets a very good press just for being the most common human parasite in the 
world. In contrast, a nice Diphyllobothrium latum would be very 
appropriate. Not only the worm will take all the length of the intestinal 
tract but the dieter will have to eat fish to get infected. Since fish is 
reputed to have a high concentration of phosphorus and phosphorus is supposed 
to be a tonic for the brain, the dieter would get smarter and may stop trying 
to loose weight in this manner :-) 

	(All in the spirit of good fun . . . but with drops of true!)

		Cheers and good weight loss!
						Omar O. Barriga

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