Also in this week's column: Great moments in human research 1 Does urinating after sex prevent catching HIV or other infections? Is it dangerous to wake a sleepwalker? How much damage does a tapeworm do to the human body? Asked by George Gomez of Concord, California, USA Tapeworms produce surprisingly few physical problems …
No mention of Visceral/Cutaneous/Ocular Larval Migrans
How can you have an article on the damage done to humans by tapeworms without mentioning these. Persistant enteritis, blindness and scarring are pretty serious!
About that question, now...
This was an interesting read, but I'm still hoping for an answer to the original question: How much damage does a tapeworm do to the human body?
You only touched on *possible* effects, and that only briefly. Death is a possible result of jogging and lack of vitamin C, but that doesn't tell us much about those two things. Tapeworms *might* block up the digestive system, but what are the chances? What happens to *most* people with tapeworms? What happens in the average case, with vs. without treatment?
If you want to get even more interesting... could a carefully-managed tapeworm be an effective weight-loss tool (or, why not, other than the creepyness)?
Great Minds Think Alike
Rob W asks,
"Could a carefully-managed tapeworm be an effective weight-loss tool (or, why not, other than the creepyness)?"
I wonder the same thing!
My "business plan", if anyone is interested, was to breed tapeworms which are naturally deficient in some particular essential chemical, and so will die unless kept topped up via regular dietary supplements fed to the host. Anyone wishing to lose weight need only ingest a tapeworm larva, then take daily doses of the necessary substance to keep it alive. The tapeworm then robs any food ingested of some of its nutritional value, thus preventing the dieter from getting as fat as if they weren't infested. Once the dieter reaches their preferred weight, they simply stop taking the Tapeworm Maintenance Hormone. The tapeworm dies, and is eventually excreted.
The tapeworm diet plan
I understood from my dubious grammar school education that tapeworms were indeed used for this purpose in the Middle Ages, especially by rich ladies who could thereby indulge heartily of roast ox with all the trimmings while remaining daintily slim. Only problem was when they got a chill and lost their appitite. Wormy ate everything, so they starved.
Or is this another educational myth?
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