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Parasitic Worm Eggs Ease Intestinal Ills by Changing Gut Macrobiota

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Intestinal issues are not just for us humans. Whereas the inflammatory bowel disease (IBS) now afflicts some 1.4 million people in the U.S., a similar condition often besets captive monkeys. But these animals are providing new insights about a cure for this condition in both species—and that cure is worms.

Rhesus macaque monkeys living in captivity often develop chronic diarrhea similar to the human autoimmune condition ulcerative colitis. Vets are often unable to treat these ill monkeys, which can suffer from dangerous weight loss and dehydration. New research takes advantage of this trend and has found that after giving the monkeys parasitic whipworm (Trichuris trichiura) eggs, most of them greatly improved. The findings were published online November 15 in PLoS Pathogens.

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