Helminthic therapy and restless legs syndrome (RLS)

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    Restless legs syndrome (RLS), also known as Willis-Ekbom Disease (WED), is a common, chronic movement disorder in which patients experience an irresistible urge to move their legs, usually combined with uncomfortable or unpleasant sensations. These symptoms, which occur or worsen during rest, usually in the evening and at night, disappear with movement of the legs.

    RLS may arise spontaneously or can be secondary to conditions such as renal disease and polyneuropathy. A number of variants of several genes have been associated with RLS risk, [1] and the condition has been linked with inflammation.

    RLS is associated with inflammation

    Numerous doctors have observed a correlation between RLS and inflammation. [2]

    I have thoroughly analyzed every known scientific study that has been done on Restless Legs Syndrome. Taking all of this data into consideration, there is no doubt in my mind that inflammation plays a major role in the occurrence of RLS.
    (Dr. Leonard Weinstock, MD, Certified in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology, St. Louis, MO)
    Our study suggests that RLS may be mediated through inflammatory or immunological mechanisms.
    (Dr. Arthur Walters, MD, Professor of Neurology, Vanderbilt Department of Neurology)
    The interesting conclusion of our study is that there is a correlation between Restless Legs Syndrome and an increase of inflammatory cytokines.
    (Dr. Giulio Romano, MD, Professor of Nephrology, University of Udine, Italy)
    Restless leg syndrome is an inflammatory condition. Doctors don't know the exact cause, but agree that something triggers inflammation that affects the nerve pathways involved.
    (Dr. Michael Cutler, MD, Family Physician, Salinas, CA)

    RLS appears frequently in patients with inflammatory bowel disease, [3] and it is one of the most frequent comorbidities accompanying the autoimmune disease, multiple sclerosis. [4]

    The following papers further demonstrate the link with inflammation.

    The history of RLS suggests a solution

    Although isolated descriptions of RLS began to appear in the latter part of the 17th century, a detailed clinical description was only published in the mid-twentieth century, eventually leading to RLS becoming a well-recognised clinical entity that is now estimated to affect between 5 and 15 percent of US adults and 2 to 4 percent of children, with more than three million new cases appearing each year. [5]

    As with many other inflammatory conditions, the incidence of RLS appears to have increased alongside industrialisation, suggesting that it may be one of many conditions the incidence of which has increased in line with the gradual loss of intestinal worms in industrialised societies from the mid 19th century onwards. This loss has created an evolutionary mismatch that has left humans bereft of the powerful inflammation control with which worms have provided our species for millennia, and without which our immune systems are free to attack our own tissues. For more about these inflammation-associated deficiencies in immune function, see Humans need helminths and The rewards of re-worming.

    Reworming shown to be effective for RLS

    There have been no clinical trials of helminthic therapy in RLS, and it is unlikely there will be any in the forseeable future because living worms cannot be patented, so there is no incentive for anyone to put up the millions of dollars that would be required to mount such a trial.

    However, several individuals with RLS who have tried helminthic therapy to treat other conditions have found that their RLS resolved unexpectedly as a result of re-worming. One man who experienced this had begun hosting the human hookworm, Necator americanus (NA) to treat tinnitus, but found that his RLS disappeared instead. [6]

    The first time I inoculated (with NA) was because someone told me it could help with tinnitus.

    I have had Restless Legs Syndrome since I was about 6. Over the last two decades it had achieved a disabling, sleep depriving fear of having to do an airplane journey of any length, and I was taking at least 2 x 30/500 Co-codamol every night. I was typical of all the poor pitiful sufferers of RLS. (You can check them out in the FB group, Restless Legs Syndrome Support!)

    So several days after I’d inoculated, my girlfriend said, “Hey. You haven’t had restless legs in the last few days!"

    The worms had no effect at all on the tinnitus, but my RLS completely vanished, like nothing.

    The efficacy of the worms on my RLS is black and white. I could kick back in my office chair with my feet up and actually relax for a whole 30 minutes, or even an hour. Before the NAs, I could possibly get 1-2 minutes before being reminded that I’m not allowed to relax.

    After about 3 months, the RLS slowly drifted back in to its usual level over a couple of months. I assumed I had probably killed off my little friends due to rubbish diet and lifestyle, so I re-inoculated with 15 NA. But it didn’t seem to work so well this time. So I got another 12. This did work a bit but not as successful. So I inoculated with 22 NA about 6 weeks ago, and this time it has been similar to the first go.

    The RLS went from soul destroying to nothing in less than a week. And, as I type this, I’ve been laying in bed for at least an hour and have no inkling of RLS. It’s like I never had RLS. This has been a revelation for me. I’m sleeping much better, so my business is doing better, and I don’t keep my girlfriend awake all night. The NAs have just cured it.

    Others with RLS have had a similar experience, as can be seen from the reports at the following link.

    See also