Hook Worms & Obsessions

It’s easy to poke fun at any treatment which includes the words “hook worms.”  I remember when I first heard about hook worms in treating autism, I immediately thought of leeches and dismissed the whole thing.  By the way this post is not about hook worms, but about how when your child has autism you are constantly confronted with an endless array of “treatments,” almost all of which come with some kind of “scientific” explanation.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, a great many smart people are trying to find help for our kids, but it is often confusing.

For those who want to know more about hook worms or Helminthic Therapy, here are some links:  The Guardian, Autoimmune Therapies, for a counter argument against helminthic therapy (hook worms) and for a number of studies being done through various hospitals in the country go to:  http://www.thebostonchannel.com/health/23652453/detail.html, http://www.neurology.wisc.edu/publications/07_pubs/Neuro_5.pdf, http://www.direct-ms.org/pdf/HygienePrinciples/Helminiths%20immune%20reg and www.pubmed.gov.

I am currently reading a book – Obsession:  A History by Lennard J. Davis.  What’s fascinating is how our perceptions of “illness” continue to change.  What began as “demonic possession,” something the Catholic Church cornered the market on by performing exorcisms, the Protestants, attempting to lessen the Catholic church’s power, redefined demonic possession as “nerves” or madness.  This new way of thinking caught on.  What began as a play for power came to define what became  known as “a case of nerves” or the belief that some people were high strung something mainly afflicting the upper classes.  Presumably the lower classes, the peasants didn’t have time to be high strung or if they were, they didn’t have the means to do anything about it.  In reading about the nature of illness and how it has changed over the centuries, it is striking to note how little we knew then (it seems laughable) yet, there is still so much we still do not know or understand.  The remedies applied in the eighteenth century seem bizarre, but in the context of autism, no more bizarre than so many of the remedies I have tried on my own daughter.  I expect that in fifty or a hundred years from now we will look back on much of what we think we know or do not know regarding autism and think how barbaric it all was.

For more on Emma’s journey through a childhood of autism, go to:   Emma’s Hope Book

4 responses to “Hook Worms & Obsessions

  1. Did you know that the word “hysteria”, a condition attributed only to women, comes from the Latin hystericus, hysterical, from Greek husterikos, from husterā, womb (from the former idea that disturbances in the womb caused hysteria)?

    The advances in medicine are profound, but as I may have mentioned before, it is not a finished profession, which is why we refer to it as a “practice”.

  2. Recently an article appeared in the NYT about a scientist who has published numerous fraudulent papers in renowned scientific journals on the benefits of drinking red wine. His name is Chipak Das, and he is now being investigated. Evidently his conclusions, utterly fraudulent, and only for the financial gains of grants, have been widely quoted. I had already heard this theory voiced about by numerous friends.

  3. Yes! That’s Carly Fleishmann, I actually wrote about her a while ago. http://www.emmashopebook.com/?p=1534
    She’s now in a regular high school and is doing very well. She has her own blog. She’s terrific and an inspiration. I am beginning to think children on the spectrum like Carly are actually closer to the norm than the other way around. My guess is we will find much better ways to reach these kids and help them “speak” than with the methods we have so far come up with.

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