Misconceptions about my hypothesis
Based on questions and comments I’ve gotten I’d like to clarify certain misconceptions about my hypothesis:
What my hypothesis is: First, you have to accept the Hygiene Hypothesis as fact, i.e. the absence of helminths in the human gut causes autoimmune response and allergies in genetically predisposed individuals. You also need to accept that the reintroduction of helminths (whether by TSO or other worms) re-regulates the immune response and eliminates the aberrant immuine response at its source. After accepting these premises, my hypothesis is simply that certain symptoms of autism are the result of an aberrant immune response, and as a result, can be reduced or eliminated by reintroduction of helminths.
Assertions or inferences that have nothing to do with my hypothesis:
Autism stems from gut problems. Fix the gut, fix the autism. Many believe this, and it may be true; it just has nothing whatsoever to do with my hypothesis. TSO may indeed fix the gut, but this is a sideshow, at least according to my theory. Some subset of autistic individuals have gut problems (my son did not). These may in fact be just another aberrant immune response, where the immune system is attacking the gut. By eliminating the aberrant immune response, the gut problems may in fact go away, and certain of the autism symptoms may go away, but not because the former is causing the latter, Rather, they are both symptoms of the same underlying problem.
TSO is providing an alternate immune target, distracting it from the autoimmune response. Possible, but I don’t think so. In fact, I think the “alternate target” theory is valid and supported by the improvements seen in fevers and, in the case of my son and others, chigger bites. Both are alternate targets and provide alleviation of symptoms. But why do allergies disappear in TSO treatment? Allergies are unaffected by fever or (at least in my son’s case) chigger bites. I think the TSO is achieving its result by a different mechanism. It is eliminating the autoimmune response right at its source.
TSO and secretin are both normally found in pigs. There is some unknown agent in the porcine environment that is providing these benefits. Anything is possible, but I don’t think so. If secretin provides any benefits it is doing so by a totally different mechanism than TSO. In fact, if my hypothesis is true, then hookworms, human whipworms (trichuris trichuria) and any number of other helminths not normally found in pigs would provide the same benefit as TSO in autism. That non-porcine helminths have a protective effect against autoimmune disorders in mice and humans has been well documented.
As I get further questions and comments that indicate a misunderstanding of my hypothesis I will attempt to clarify using this blog entry.