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Rope Worms: C’est la Merde

rope worms

When I first heard about rope worms, I assumed it was a spoof. Alas, not so!

Rope worms are rope-like meter-long human intestinal parasites that were only recently discovered in the returns of cleansing enemas and are often reported after coffee enemas. Strangely, no one had ever noticed them until 2009. They have never been observed during endoscopy or surgery, during medical bowel cleansing in preparation for surgical or imaging procedures, with x-rays or MRIs, at autopsy, or by any colorectal specialists. Yet according to Nikolai Gubarev and Alex Volinsky, the two of them have never yet found a single patient who didn’t have these parasites.

Two articles by Volinsky, Gubarev, and colleagues (here and here) describe the rope worm and its five developmental stages. They include pictures of each stage. I urge you to take a look. You will be amazed, and not in a good way. You might even bust a gut laughing.

The articles have not been published in a peer-reviewed journal, but are available online at arxiv.org. That was originally a repository for pre-prints of scientific papers on physics that was subsequently expanded to include astronomy, mathematics, computer science, nonlinear science, quantitative biology, and statistics. But not zoology, medical science or clinical medicine; so I don’t understand why these articles appear there. The lead author is a mechanical engineer. None of the authors have any credentials that would indicate any level of expertise in the relevant areas of study, and it shows.

The 5 developmental stages are:

  1. Mucus that can be hosted almost anywhere in the human body.
  2. Viscous mucus with bubbles. The bubbles are later used as attachment points.
  3. Branched jellyfish stage. (No, I’m not making this up! Look at the pictures.)
  4. Rope parasite 4th stage — looks similar to the 5th adult stage, but is softer and slimier.
  5. Adult rope parasite: anaerobic, resembles human feces, dries out outside the human body in air. They resemble twisted fibers of rope; the color depends on the food a person eats, varying from white to black. They can be located anywhere in the human body but prefer the small and large intestines. They attach to the intestines with suction cups/heads that develop from suction bubbles. They twist like a corkscrew, increasing their cross section and blocking the intestine. They squeeze the juice out of the fecal matter and feed on it osmotically. They achieve this with multiple channels along their length. They emit gas bubbles inside these channels that allow them to move by jet propulsion. (Are there two different kinds of bubbles? Propulsion by jets implies high pressure, attachment by suction implies a vacuum.) They are most active between 1 and 6 AM. They release toxins that suppress the immune system and can alter human attention and reaction. They can cause multiple symptoms, including weight gain or loss, food allergies, common colds, coughing, back pain, rashes, headaches, indigestion, hair loss, etc. They produce slime with a distinct odor.

It is thought that they also feed on blood, because some come out with their heads covered with blood. (How do they know it’s a head? And if they feed on fecal matter by osmosis in those long channels, how and why do they penetrate the intestinal wall and get at the blood?) Volinsky and Gubarev tell us that people with alkaline blood (pH 8-10) are the most susceptible. They helpfully tell us that blood pH can be determined by examining the color of the conjunctiva of the eye: bright pink signifies normal blood pH, bright red means alkaline, and pale means acidic blood. (In case you don’t realize how colossally ridiculous this is, people with a blood pH of 8-10 would not be “susceptible” to anything because they would be dead, and the color of the conjunctiva has nothing whatsoever to do with pH; it becomes redder with infection or inflammation and becomes paler with anemia.)

Unlike other parasites, rope worms do not have muscles, nervous systems, or reproductive organs. They are often mistaken for decaying remains of other parasites, feces, or intestinal lining. (Or vice versa, perhaps?)

These parasites can be purged with eucalyptus and lemon juice enemas. Conveniently, the second author, Gubarev, who works for an occupational safety organization in Russia, just happens to hold a Russian patent on a eucalyptus enema concoction for treating various intestinal parasites. But caution is advised because this leaves open wounds in the intestine, causing internal bleeding.

And they know all of this how? They provide no explanation of how they figured it all out or how they determined that the various stages were the same entity. What would you do if you thought you had identified a new species of parasite? I hope you wouldn’t just write papers like these. I hope you would consult zoologists, taxonomists, and parasitologists; especially if your training was in mechanical engineering and you were ignorant enough about biology to think a person could survive with a blood pH of 10. New animals don’t arise de novo by special creation. They evolve from other species. These “rope worms” bear no resemblance to any other known human parasite or to any known relative of worms or to anything else in the animal kingdom. There is no reason to think these “worms” are anything other than enema artifacts analogous to the spurious “gallstones” produced by liver flushes. Those who claim they are real animals have the burden of proof, and they haven’t offered anything that would qualify as such.

Science, anyone? When rope worms were tested for DNA, only human DNA was found. Never mind — no sufficiently intelligent, imaginative, motivated rationalizer is ever stymied by contrary facts. It was suggested that the rope worm triggers the gut to produce a body for it that may be a mix of parasites and human DNA. Others have suggested that rope worms are a biofilm produced as a way for the body to detoxify itself. It has been suggested that they form in response to GMO foods. They are even suspected of being involved in cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s.

Volinsky uploaded a video to YouTube titled “Rope Worm in the Nose.” It is no such thing: it shows an ENT surgeon removing polyps and suctioning thick ropy mucus from infected sinuses, explaining as he goes and never once mentioning worms.

As would be expected, patients report feeling better after expelling these “worms.” The patented treatment methods are being advocated by “CAM experts” for treatment of Lyme disease, Morgellon’s and autism.

Conclusion

Rope worm parasites? There’s no such critter. This is just another example of the fallible human brain’s susceptibility to delusions and illusions. It is reminiscent of N-rays, of the liver flukes that Hulda Clark zapped, of the mysterious elusive Morgellon’s whatsis-thingies, of the nonexistent Oscillococcus bacterium that provided the rationale for the most popular homeopathic flu remedy, and of the Virgin Mary’s portrait on a toasted cheese sandwich. Look up pareidolia and apophenia. Such errors are part of the reason we need the scientific method.

Pardon my French, but in my opinion everything that has been written about rope worms is arrant pseudoscientific merde de taureaux.

Posted in: Science and Medicine

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212 thoughts on “Rope Worms: C’est la Merde

  1. Windriven says:

    “Rope worm parasites? There’s no such critter. This is just another example of the fallible human brain’s susceptibility to delusions and illusions”

    No. This has to be an elaborate joke.

    1. Steve Capellini says:

      No, it’s no joke. I used to be in the CAM field, particularly massage therapy, which includes (for some reason still unclear to me) colonic therapists, and we did surely believe in these and many other parasitic critters that could be purged by our highly professional and non-ironic ministrations. Sigh…

      1. Windriven says:

        Yeah, but this is like colonic irrigation as imagined by a couple of bright but bored high school sophomores.

    2. Thor says:

      Never underestimate the looney beliefs, conjuring, and bat-shit crazy practices of the colon-cleansing crowd. As Steve and Paul indicated, this is pretty much par for the course, business as usual, for this gang of devoted CAM crazies.

      1. Greg says:

        I never could understand this fascination with cleanses. Of course if these people would educate themselves, they would find their bodies do a pretty damn terrific job of eliminating waste on their own. Then again if they followed a healthful nutrient dense diet, they wouldn’t feel the need to cleanse all these unidentified toxins that accumulate everywhere in our bodies.

        1. Thor says:

          It’s difficult to understand unless your mind has fallen prey to this twisted philosophy of health. It’s a deep-seated belief that the world and our bodies are toxic. Life should be spent in a perpetual cleansing mode. Even with a good diet these folk would still feel the need to cleanse, as “toxins” are everywhere: in the air, in all foods and drink, in materials like plastic, etc. They are perpetually being exposed to them. One would think that education would make a difference. Obviously, not so. Dr. Hall’s conclusion says it all.

          The ever-endearing confirmation bias is every cleanser’s closest friend. Excreted psyllium comes out looking like removed “impactions” from the walls of the colon: Evidence! The articles by Volinsky,
          et al.—more evidence. Clumps of undigested olive oil from a liver flush sure look like gallstones: “evidence I can see with my own eyes”. We, as humans, get deluded about anything. Why not about this? It’s to be expected.
          Plus, it’s CAM so there’s tons of money to be made.

        2. whywouldntyoutry says:

          Please do not comment if you haven’t had any real experience yourself or with another person who has these – you make yourself look stupid

          1. Windriven says:

            @whywouldntyoutry

            Believing that you have a condition that you don’t actually have – that doesn’t actually exist has a name. You have simply been seeing the wrong type of physician.

            There is no shame in having a brain disorder any more than there would be in having a liver disorder or a kidney disorder. There really is relief available.

            1. whywouldntyoutry says:

              oh yes, lets throw another pill at it – lazy

              1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

                Better lazy than stupid I guess?

              2. Windriven says:

                “oh yes, lets throw another pill at it – lazy”

                You’re right. It’s far better to spend your days sifting through your shit for imaginary worms.

          2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

            The people who look stupid are the ones who claim an entirely new organism, hitherto-unrecognized by science despite being several feet long and lodged in our intestines, exists. Also those who think there are pounds of fecal matter stuck inside us.

            Oh, and anyone who thinks “experience” is enough to overturn scientific research. If it wasn’t for science, your “experience” would convince you that the world is flat and that the sun revolves around it.

            1. whywouldntyoutry says:

              Good Point! in the Greek times and Roman Empire it was the Philosophers (one being pythagoras) who said the earth was round but they couldn’t explain it – Plato theorized and then finally Magellan went out and proved it – it was a stretch for people to believe Plato and Pythagoras – it was a stretch for people to deep think – but in the end someone went out and proved that the earth is indeed round – someone TRIED to explain it and someone TRIED prove it – if we all thought like you are thinking perhaps we WOULD still believe the earth is round –
              Here we have hundreds of people saying they don’t feel good and we have physical proof of something coming out of their bodies and yet you are still saying that it’s nothing – you are still saying we are imagining it? WHERE are our philosophers and our explorers in medicine? aren’t you at least a little interested or intrigued? or is your passion for medicine gone? there are a few great discoveries that scientist and doctors from the past tried to get their peers to listen to and everyone called them crazy – Zweig, Semmelweis, Boltzmann -
              i just don’t understand the total back turning on this medical situation – it’s like a mob mentality and you all just want to laugh at the people who are trying to figure it out – weird.

              1. Harriet Hall says:

                No one is saying you imagine it. Your experience is real; we are only questioning your interpretation of your experience. I’m not particularly intrigued or interested in exactly why your poop looks the way it does, because I can think of plausible interpretations based on science and probabilities. Correlation is not causation; it’s quite possible that what you see in your poop is not the cause of your symptoms, but that a combination of other factors (diet, intestinal flora, motility, etc.) is causing both the symptoms and the worm-like excretions. Your history is incorrect: it was well known that the earth was round long before Magellan’s time, and Magellan’s voyage was not needed to confirm that knowledge. And for every Semmelweis who was right, there were thousands of cranks who were wrong. Today evidence is quickly disseminated and readily accepted, for instance the discovery of H. pylori as a cause of ulcers – that went from the initial report to standard medical practice in about 7 years.

              2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

                aren’t you at least a little interested or intrigued?

                Given the claims made, that wildly contradict everything known about biology, no. Not really. Not anymore than a physicist would be at a claim about perpetual motion, or a historian at a claim that aliens built the pyramids, or an economist’s claim that unemployment can be eliminated forever, or a mathematician at a claim that pi is actually equal to six.

                The thing is – all the people who proved the world is round, or that germs existed and whatnot. They provided evidence that was coherent, built up to provide new evidence that was itself coherent, and their evidence could be validated by others. Your “evidence” is incoherent, doesn’t make sense, but is easily explained without having to hypothesize about wholly new forms of life.

              3. Windriven says:

                @Harriet Hall

                “No one is saying you imagine it.”

                I’m kind of saying she’s imagining it. She seems to be imagining that she has some heretofore unknown parasite setting up a boweling alley in her lower GI. That would be a remarkably easy thing to prove. But proving it doesn’t seem to be her mission.

                Instead she wants to dazzle us with slo-mo from an endo-cam.

              4. Harriet Hall says:

                She is not imagining that she feels sick and sees poop that looks unusual. I feel sorry for her and hope she can find help from someone who doesn’t buy into the parasite beliefs.

              5. Darlow says:

                Harriet: “feeling sorry for” and “forgiving” others for your interpretation of their stupidity is highly condescending. Is that how you want to come across? Or do you want to come across as someone who is knowledgeable and has point of view? You’re not doing too well on this one, I’m afraid.

              6. Harriet Hall says:

                I’m doing just fine.

              7. Darlow says:

                Harriet — happy for you!

              8. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

                Harriet: “feeling sorry for” and “forgiving” others for your interpretation of their stupidity is highly condescending. Is that how you want to come across? Or do you want to come across as someone who is knowledgeable and has point of view? You’re not doing too well on this one, I’m afraid.

                Speaking of highly condescending…and I’m not just talking about me.

            2. Windriven says:

              @WLU
              ” an economist’s claim that unemployment can be eliminated forever”
              I’d like to introduce you to L Randall Wray out of University of Missouri and Modern Monetary Theory. MMT hold that government can create however much currency it needs without consequence. Wray argues that government should be the employer of last resort and all people of working age should be guaranteed a job.

              MMT, a repackaging of chartalism, actually makes some interesting observations but, IMHO, ignores other realities that are inconvenient.

              @ Harriet Hall
              I have a certain sympathy for her as well. But recall that she did not appear in these pages asking for help and direction. She appeared here to proclaim rather belligerently that Harriet Hall and the medical establishment she represents are full of … well, I won’t say it.

              So my observation is that she is not looking for answers, she is seeking attention and notoriety.

              1. Harriet Hall says:

                I forgive her the belligerence; she is sick and frustrated. I think she IS looking for answers; she is not claiming they are definitely worms. She feels terrible, and she thought my article implied something it didn’t: that she could not be passing worm-like feces and suffering the symptoms she has.

            3. Windriven says:

              @Dr. Hall

              “I forgive her the belligerence; she is sick and frustrated.”

              This is why it is good that you are a physician and good that I am not.

              1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

                “Like” and “Ditto” ;)

    3. whywouldntyoutry says:

      you know nothing

      1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

        Oh, well when you put it that way, I’m convinced.

    4. J Webb says:

      You’re ridiculous and do not know this until you’ve experienced it. Keep living in your fantasy world and enjoy your ignorance.

  2. Andrey Pavlov says:

    This is truly astounding. I can’t imagine this is anything but a pure and very intentional scam. In one of the papers they describe it as a helminth – yet at the same time it is a new parasite, completely and utterly distinct in every imaginable sense from known helminths. Then they posit that there are “most likely hermaphroditic, as no reproductive organs were found by either microscopic or macroscopic observations.” Why can’t they be asexually reproducing as many other species are? Probably because some helminths are hermaphroditic. They then later literally took mucus, put it in a colander, let it ooze down through the holes, and called it “Slime initial stages of the rope parasite’ development coming from the colander holes.”

    Of course I could go on. But one thing that always gets me is the whole blood pH thing. I think that anyone saying such things should be laughed at as if they asserted that Elvis himself just drew the blood gas for the measurement. It is just stunning to me that anyone can possibly write such things. They may as well say that those who experienced alien abductions had a worse rope worm infection.

    Lastly, the idea that they could identify the stages of development of something like this is utterly laughable. There are literally thousands (probably tens of thousands) of marine creatures for which we do not know the larval stages of because we have never been able to observe them go from larva to adult. I’ve actually done what is called a “black water” dive off the coast of Hawaii in which you go 3-4 miles out to sea (at night) where the water depth is 3,000+ meters, attached to the boat by a rope and drift dive at just shy of 20 meters. At night a massive influx of deep sea denizens come to the surface to feed, many of them larva of which we have no idea what species they are. The methods described for the developmental stage identification of these “rope worms” is no better than me looking at the myriad creatures during that dive and simply asserting what they are.

    I almost hope this is an intentional scam since it would otherwise indicate such a massive inability to think that I just can’t fathom it.

    1. Windriven says:

      “Of course I could go on. But one thing that always gets me is the whole blood pH thing.”

      It was the pH that made me stop, smile, and say: naaaahhh, they’re joking. Not that the whole rope worm thing wasn’t enough as I’ve stopped questioning the stupidities that some can deeply embrace. But the pH really seems to be a broad wink.

      1. Andrey Pavlov says:

        I dunno Windriven. People believe that acidic blood causes cancer, so who is to say that a pH of 10 is so ludicrous to people? I think people just don’t have any sense of what a pH value actually means. I’d be willing to bet that >95/100 people wouldn’t have any clue that it is a logarithmic scale and that if you told them it was they wouldn’t have any clue what that meant anyways. Same numbers for those knowing that the scale goes from 1-14. So for us, saying a blood pH of 10 means replacing a decently sized volume of blood with oven cleaner but for most people that is probably just a a small number to them. I mean really, what’s the difference between 7.4 and 8-10? LOL.*

        But for it to be written in a paper that has the semblance of a scientific paper, with proper formatting and at least some proper jargon, by anyone with a modicum of scientific training (these people are supposedly engineers, after all) is startling, to say the least. My fiance is also an engineer and if I told her that these people were asserting a blood pH of 10, her first question would be “What’s normal?” When I tell her, her next question would be “Are the people f$%^ing retarded?”

        So it is either an intentional scam, a Sokal type hoax, or a stunning example of grey matter failure.

        *Yes, I know that is still as much as a ~50% absolute change even on a linear scale, but once again… most people don’t think that way.

        1. Windriven says:

          Andrey, if it isn’t a joke my despair will be boundless. It means I could wake up some day to find Steve Rodrigues to be Surgeon General.

          1. Andrey Pavlov says:

            Well Windriven, we do have Scalia as a SCOTUS judge so SSR as SG might not be such a stretch :-P

    2. whywouldntyoutry says:

      so what do you think they are then?

      1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

        Fiber, gut bacteria, mucous, shed intestinal cells, undigested foods, bile salts, and mostly, again, fiber (particularly given how these “cleanses” often involve massive consumption of fiber).

        It’s certainly not a new form of hitherto-unnoticed life that somehow survives without cells, without organelles, without it’s own DNA and without obeying the laws of physics (let alone biology).

  3. I’m not so sure it’s a joke. There seems to be a certain breed of believer that is morbidly entranced by the mystique of the gut, and the idea of purge-able menaces lurking within it. Volinsky and Gubarev could simply be taking advantage… or they maybe they just suffer from it.

    1. Windriven says:

      If this isn’t a joke … I’m going to get a white thawb and stand on a street corner with a sign proclaiming that the end is near.

      All hope is lost.

      1. Harriet Hall says:

        There is a 2 hour podcast featuring Volinsky, describing how he discovered he had rope worms and how he lost 80 pounds. I’ve taken enough punishment and I refuse to listen to it, but I would appreciate it if one of our readers would listen and report back to us. If this is a hoax, there are a lot of people who have fallen for it and have reported their own rope worm experiences on the Internet. I am torn. I don’t want you to have to buy a thawb, but I would love to find out that this is all a hoax.

        http://www.extremehealthradio.com/ep-203-professor-alex-volinsky-how-he-used-special-enemas-to-extract-parasitic-rope-worms-lose-over-80-pounds-in-the-process-2-12-2014/

        1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

          Extremehealthradio? Really? What, is that like eating your vegetables while skydiving, screening mammography while off-roading on a mountain bike, heliskiing with a blueberry juice drip?

          1. Serge says:

            I’m not going to be able to sleep now, I’ll be giggling all night!

          2. CHotel says:

            As soon as you pointed it out, my mind created a radio/TV advert along the lines of: “Sunday Sunday SUNDAY! THE MOST EXTREME HEALTH CHOICES YOU’VE EVER SEEN WILL BE MADE AVAILABLE AT THE COLOSSEUM. DON’T MISS ALEX VOLINSKI REMOVING A ROPE WORM AND THEN USING IT TO TOW AN 18-WHEELER WITH HIS TEETH. NEVER MIND HOT COFFEE ENEMAS, BOILING ESPRESSO SHOTS PULLED STRAIGHT INTO YOUR RECTUM FOR THE MOST EXTREME BOWEL CLENSE YOU’LL EVER EXPERIENCE! THE SAVINGS ARE EXTREME TOO, WITH EVERYTHING AT LEAST 70% OFF. BEEEEE THERRRRRRREEEE!!!!!”

            Other people heard the same thing in their head, right?

            1. Windriven says:

              I hadn’t but now I can’t shake it! :-)

            2. Thor says:

              That’s exactly what I saw!
              Did you ever catch the SNL spoof ad for “Colon-Blow”?
              Extreme fiber!

        2. Windriven says:

          Out of town at the moment Dr. Hall, but I’ll make an attempt to watch on my return. Right after I pick up a bottle of Luksusowa to put me in the mood.

  4. MadisonMD says:

    Funny thing is that Volinsky seems to be a bona fide mech engineering professor. This article is not listed on his CV nor on his updatedpub list. Perhaps someone submitted without his knowledge? On the other hand, the email address and phone #’s match the USF website– arXiv should have picked that up.

    1. Windriven says:

      More evidence that this has to be a joke. An ME prof would have to know or easily find out only a dead body sprinkled with lye has a pH of 10.

    2. Windriven says:

      Also, the picture that accompanies Dr. Hall’s post includes a tape measure denominated in inches. Russia and Europe and virtually every scientist of my acquaintance in the US (though admittedly, not all engineers) use metric measurements.

      1. Andrey Pavlov says:

        though admittedly, not all engineers) use metric measurements.

        Indeed. A fact I often poke fun at my better half for. When she tells me about her work, I ask her not to reference those crazy moon units :-P

        The sad/funny thing is that she came to NASA using SI and for her first few reports used SI. She was then somewhat sternly told that they don’t use those units and has since reported everything in “pound-force,” “Rankine,” and other such no-doubt-imaginery units.

        1. nukenorth says:

          Alas there are many regulated industrial activities that are dependent on codes and standards which were developed over more than a Century. The US Standards are used widely — many blessed by laws, and many are mired in furlong per fortnight units. As a retired engineer who was trained in SI Units (and cgs units for much of physics) I recall being delighted when I could actually work on a problem in SI units.

          Changing this Juggernaut of practice will not come easily or without risk.

          Many engineers just hold their noses and get the job done. That’s life.

      2. Darlow says:

        Windriven–the reason the post that you mention has a tape measure denominated in inches is because that is my photo and I live in the US. I don’t know how others get my photos–that one was posted some time ago on another site and I’ve seen it in various places. I’ve taken photos of my “ropeworms” nearly every day since the beginning of Nov, 2013. Whatever these “things” are, I have two quart jars filled with them in alcohol. I’m not doing anything to make them come out other than I’m on a ketogenic diet for health reasons and I’m doing coffee enemas. There are other sites now that have photos of these things. It does not speak well for you that you make these kind of assumptions–not terribly scientific. Volinksy is trying to raise money to do genetic testing of some sort. I’m sure, based on what you’ve said above, that you will find some way to simply put my comments down, but that won’t change the facts of my “ropeworms” or whatever they are–intestinal lining or something else. Maybe you need to try doing some CE’s and take a look at what comes out of you–

        1. Harriet Hall says:

          Trying coffee enemas could only confirm what we already know: the phenomenon is associated with detox treatments that interfere with normal intestinal function.

          Taking photos of your poo every day and preserving samples? What’s the point? Do you think some critical mass of anecdotal evidence will lead to a revelation? Couldn’t you find a better, less self-obsessed hobby?

          1. Darlow says:

            Yes, you’re absolutely right, Harriet–taking pictures of rope worms is too crazy (and stupid) for words. I must really be an nut case. And hearing someone speak about it is definitely a reason to become caustic, negative and derisive towards that person. Not exactly scientific–your remarks–are they? Still would like to know what you might find if you looked at your poop for a couple of weeks. I dare you to look at your poop for month. In fact, I dare you to do a CE a day for a month. I’m sure you’ll find an automatically negative rejoinder to my comments–that appears to be how your mind works–its a little hard to fathom. And please point me to the scientific studies that prove detox treatments interfere with normal intestinal function and in what way, and why, even if they do, that would be a reason not to take into consideration any results that are produced from that treatment. Again, your remarks sound far from scientific.

            1. Harriet Hall says:

              Taking a picture and saving a sample is not crazy, but doing it daily is obsessive. And you haven’t explained why you think it is worthwhile. What do you think is to be gained by repeating the process so many times?

              I have looked at my poo daily for a month, and I’ve never seen anything other than normal poo.

              I’m not about to try coffee enemas or any other “detox” treatment, because they are based on a myth, have never been shown to do any good, and there is a small risk of harm. I don’t need to point to any studies; it is self-evident that enemas remove normal flora and alter the normal intestinal bacterial milieu. We have a rational explanation for the products of detox: a combination of epithelial cells, bacteria, mucus, and detox ingredients.

              Your decision to “detox” is irrational; it is not based on science.

              1. Darlow says:

                Harriet–and your putting people in their place is obviously obsessive. Please provide the “science” that “detox” is irrational.

              2. Harriet Hall says:

                “Please provide the “science” that “detox” is irrational.”
                That’s not how it works. It’s up to the proponents of detox to show that it’s rational; they haven’t.

              3. Darlow says:

                Harriet–I explained in another response to you one reason why I think it is important to keep the evidence. It is because “professionals” like you are telling others that their one time look at a rope worm is the only one they’ll encounter. You made a statement about this to someone else somewhere below and I’m not going to look through every post to find it. But its there.

              4. Harriet Hall says:

                I don’t have a problem with keeping the evidence. My problem is with obsessively keeping every shred of evidence over a long period of time and with assuming the evidence is evidence of worms or any other kind of pathology, and persisting in that assumption after a plausible explanation has been offered.

              5. KayMarie says:

                Darlow -

                *stops to put on my toxocologist hat* Of course I’ll be told it just brainwashed me, but oh well, I need a good rant.

                If the body were nearly as incapable of removing all the myriad of toxins that are endogenously produced every second of every day of your life, as well as all the toxins you consume from the chemical warfare your organic plants are waging on the organic insects, not to mention the toxins from all the molds and bacteria that infest every morsel of produce (you do like to eat some/most of it raw don’t you?) you consume, humans would have been dead long before they even started.

                Yes, you can in some instances overwhelm the toxin removing organs and metabolic pathways of the body (else there would be no poisons) but nature has thrown at humans through millions of years of evolution an astounding array of toxins most of which we removed handily long before anyone discovered you could roast and brew the coffee bean much less before anyone thought of shoving it up where the sun does not shine.

                The question isn’t is there any science in all the world that even suggests the human body can detoxify and rid itself of anything sans coffee enema, the question is what part of the science doesn’t support the idea that for the most part the body does a really good job when you leave it alone and stop trying to interfere with the normal biological processes through as many orifices as possible.

                That being said, eat your fruits and veggies no matter how many toxins are in them, there are more good things in them than bad. Avoid scientifically demonstrated toxins when you can and do the rest in moderation as for some of them small amounts seem to do us more good than total abstinence. Do everything you can to allow the normal functioning of your body. Exercise it regularly. And finally do not be surprised that waste comes out of it. Better out, than in.

              6. Darlow says:

                KayMarie–yes, I agree with you. The body does a pretty good job. Its when you get a serious affliction or illness that you start looking in a different direction–unless of course you want to just take drugs and have surgery. If you guys are good with that, more power to you.

              7. Harriet Hall says:

                What serious illness or affliction do you have and why do you think detox is a solution?

              8. Darlow says:

                Harriet — you said “I don’t have a problem with keeping the evidence. My problem is with obsessively keeping every shred of evidence over a long period of time and with assuming the evidence is evidence of worms or any other kind of pathology, and persisting in that assumption after a plausible explanation has been offered.” Why would you have a problem with what I want to do for myself just because you wouldn’t do it? What difference does it make to you other than you want to be right by making me wrong? That is crazy-making. Why would I take a “plausible explanation” from someone such as yourself who is so negative towards me? It just tells me you are not a particularly thoughtful person and therefore why would I listen to you? Tell me why you are so obsessively caustic and negative in your replies. Tell me why you assume I have any idea of what I am keeping in those jars? And really, Harriet, I don’t keep every shred of evidence–I’m sure I miss a great deal of it, especially when I go on vacation.

              9. Harriet Hall says:

                By “I have a problem” I don’t mean that I have any stake in persuading you to change your behavior or beliefs. I mean I have a problem reconciling that behavior and those beliefs with science and reason.

              10. Harriet Hall says:

                Why WOULDN’T you take a plausible explanation no matter who offered it?

              11. AdamG says:

                Darlow, have you considered that your problem might go away if you stopped the coffee enemas? Wouldn’t the scientific thing be to try stopping for a month or so and seeing if anything changes?

              12. KayMarie says:

                This paper is a little old, and Dr. Ames was being a gadfly at the time, but just to show the toxins IN coffee (focusing on the carcinogenic ones) http://www.pnas.org/content/87/19/7777.full.pdf is part of why some people have questions about some of the things people use as detoxifying agents.

              13. KayMarie says:

                Oh and as for serious illnesses, while I have had a few minor surgeries along the way and I have taken medications I have also gotten a wide range of dietary interventions, biofeedback, other mind-body therapies and all of the from medical doctors. Now maybe I’m lucky I mostly go to professors in medicine on their clinic day at a teaching hospital, but there are plenty of scientifically based options that do not include only pharma or surgery.

                For my most recently discovered problem with my full professor for an MD the treatment protocol includes dietary changes, 2 dietary supplements, 1 pharma med that is doing double duty for controlling another condition and appropriate exercise. I would like larger clinical trials for most of this, but it isn’t something that is going to get the big funding bucks anytime soon or likely to get a lot of drug development dollars thrown at it.

                Being a somewhat rare disease most of the advice I have from people I know that do the woo has been either ineffective, or because of a total inability to understand the biology seems wildly inappropriate and sometimes is counter to the data we do have on the disorder.

              14. Darlow says:

                Harriet: “Plausible explanation” is your choice of words, not mine. The “problem of reconciliation” is your choice of words and problem, not mine. I have plenty of professional medical helpers. If this was a forum where people could actually talk about their problems without being immediately put down, I might participate on that level. But unfortunately, its not. The only reason I spoke up today was because my photo is posted at the top of the conversation thread and somebody here was erroneously saying stuff about who the photo belonged to. Making such an assumption about that minor thing was the first indication of the nature of this conversation. I know you all want to have the final word–you appear to be incapable of conceding anything. So that’s OK.

                And AdamG–I had my problem long before I started coffee enemas and my problem has gotten better since doing them. But I am not convinced the CE’s are the main factor since I’m doing more than one thing.

              15. AdamG says:

                Its when you get a serious affliction or illness that you start looking in a different direction–unless of course you want to just take drugs and have surgery.

                I feel bad for you, Darlow, because it seems your “professional medical helpers” have convinced you that your serious affliction was caused by ‘toxins’ or could be cured via ‘detox.’ You’ve been duped.

              16. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

                If this was a forum where people could actually talk about their problems without being immediately put down, I might participate on that level. But unfortunately, its not.

                No, it’s not. This is a forum where a scientific understanding of both biology and critical thinking is respected. Collecting your poop is not.

            2. weing says:

              @Darlow ,
              What the hell is a “detox”? What is the scientific rationale for it?

              1. KayMarie says:

                Have you read the Wikipedia article on the type of detoxification you are doing? It certainly isn’t full of science supporting the practice.

        2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

          not terribly scientific

          Things not terribly scientific:
          - coffee enemas
          - thinking your bowel movements are a novel form of life
          - storing your bowel movements in alcohol
          - measuring things in inches
          - ketogenic diet
          - thinking simple observation trumps the convergent nature of biology, chemistry, anatomy and physiology that says these claims cannot be true.

        3. Windriven says:

          Darlow, isn’t it clear: coffee enemas either cause rope worms or delusional parisitosis. Try the coffee in the other end along with a prudent Mediterranean diet.

  5. goodnightirene says:

    I had to leave a neighborhood gathering yesterday after the FOURTH person I overheard blathering about her acupuncturist (quoting him as if he were a Nobel prize winner in medicine) entered the conversation. I had already corrected a number of myths, including “hypoallergenic” dogs and sensed that I was being perceived as a know-it-all pain in the patootie.

    It just never ends, but what can you expect from a gathering where you are the only one not drinking Miller Lite?

    1. irenegoodnight says:

      Oops, I left off the part about at least no one brought up this merde mess.

  6. egstras says:

    I ran into this concept several years ago when looking up the use of psyllium … several people described passing “years of accumulated gunk” after they added fiber to their diets. Were they deluded? Trying to sell something? I have no idea — but did wonder where all that “accumulated” gunk had been hiding from the surgeons, etc.

  7. Frederick says:

    WOW, c’est belle et bien une escroquerie, déguisé en MERDE.

    I was seriously laughing when i read those “stages” and how they justified there finding, Of course one of them sells the solutions to this merde.
    But since this is a real scam, and one that can be dangerous, it is not really funny.
    People will get scam, their wallet suck dry, and they are at risk of compication for something that do not exist!

  8. Carmen Czachor says:

    They make no assertions as to how these parasites get into the humans either. As a vet I have seen loads of internal parasites but none look like these and we generally look for eggs to diagnose them. So the supposition must be all the fecal exams done on people have never showed an unidentified egg or these rope parasites reproduce by spontaneous generation…probably because the hosts have bad qi.
    This is what you get when you roam outside your expertise. Wow.

    1. Angora Rabbit says:

      You know, when I first started reading this, I thought the people were giving themselves parasites from something endemic in the coffee bean enema.

      1. brewandferment says:

        wouldn’t that have to be a GREEN coffee bean enema, else the roasting would kill parasites?

        1. Thor says:

          Or they infested the beans after roasting, perhaps while amassed in storage.

    2. Preston Garrison says:

      Well, of course they get there by the aliens putting them there. We should look for a correlation between alien abduction and rope worms. Of course, the worms must be aliens, too – that’s why they’re so hard to identify. Come on, guys, get with it; you can explain anything with aliens. And it all makes sense.

      Zort

        1. CHotel says:

          Obviously even the advanced rope worms are the alien larvae of an adult being, and the childhood time spent repetitively circling the bowels of their human hosts gave them the idea for creating crop circles!

          IT ALL MAKES SENSE NOW.

        2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

          I love/hate that guy. I mean seriously History channel, how can you even pretend he’s credible with that haircut?

  9. MTDoc says:

    I wonder if the Russians have a version of “April fools”. I know that on April first, I am always careful to consider critically anything I read. If a spoof, it is at least successful, in as much as it has us guessing.

    1. MTDoc says:

      Thanks to windriven, I have learned a new word today. Of course I had to google thawb in order to accomplish that task. I learn so much on this site.

      1. irenegoodnight says:

        Me too! The thing is, I have one of these, but it was called something else–started with a ‘K’ I think. Different country of origin, perhaps. :-)

        1. Lytrigian says:

          Kandura?

          I know an Orthodox priest who uses them. In black and with a stand-up collar they’re virtually indistinguishable from a Greek-style undercassock, and are much more suitable for California’s climate than a Russian-style one.

          Heck of a lot cheaper too, which is important considering the guy is paid what would be starvation wages for him and his family if he didn’t also get free housing.

    2. Roadstergal says:

      In Soviet Russia, April fool you!

      1. Alia says:

        I am half-tempted to say “Soviet science knows such phenomena” – which is a rough translation of a saying we have over here that we use to comment such cases of “scientific” stupidity.

  10. Ed Whitney says:

    I once saw a woman who walked into my office and announced that she had mucormycosis, diagnosed via live cell microscopy by a practitioner she had seen elsewhere. She had driven herself to the office, climbed up a flight of stairs, and in general, looked awfully good for someone with that condition; you never would have guessed that she belonged in the hospital ICU. Apparently you can connect your microscope to a video screen and show the patient the movements of their cells on a prepared slide, which can create quite an impression if you are a good showman.

    Has anyone else out there had a similar “case” of mucormycosis? Is this a common phenomenon? What kinds of “diagnoses” from “live cell analysis” have others seen? Did you have to resist the temptation to tell them that they actually had the bubonic plague, which you could diagnose via iridology?

    At least the live cell analyst didn’t tell her she had hantavirus. Or Lassa fever.

    1. MadisonMD says:

      Re: Live cell analysis. See this SBM blog post on Robert O. Young, Quack.

      There were some posts by a Young acolyte, Hardo, an Australian live cell analyst and germ theory denialist, prompting me to investigate his motives.

      It is also covered on Quackwatch here and here.

  11. TiredFather says:

    I vote for joke. At least I found it funny and pictured the scene when the coauthors sat down (carefully, presumably after all those enemas) to discuss the paper. “we need more pictures of excrement or it will never survive the peer review!”

  12. Annie says:

    There is a lot of speculation on what these are. Hopefully soon we will have a definitive answer. I know they are not a “hoax” ; I am getting them.

  13. Pmoran says:

    This seems to be a spectacularly elaborated variant of the “mucoid plaque” phenomenon. Haven’t heard much of that lately.

    We can actually pass unusual mucus-based casts of the bowel if we flog it with laxatives then stop while also fasting. The overstimulated bowel produces mucus, and the otherwise empty bowel does not expel it. The moisture is absorbed so that the mucus sets into a jelly, which can then be expelled with the aid of enemata. It may have a variety of colours, often black if Cascacra or Liquorice have been used in the herbal laxative mixes often employed.

    One of many sites on this –

    http://www.naturalhealthway.com/3dayintestinalcleanse/intestinal-cleanse-3-day.html

    Needless to say, we surgeons and gastroenterologists have examined the whole length of millions of small and large bowels without encountering these creatures. (But we wouldn’t let on if we had, of course.)

    1. n brownlee says:

      Okay, you got me. EEEEWWWWW.

    2. Thor says:

      Yes! And purportedly all those “mucus-forming foods”. What a food/health religion. A great mucus-based cast of the colon is made with psyllium seed husks, combined with herbal laxatives. This cast is then claimed to be layers of compacted
      “mucoid plaque”. If that’s not evidence, what is?!
      (My colon was as clean and “pink” as a baby’s, as was personally witnessed while having a colonoscopy. Wonder where the impactions of a lifetime were.)

    3. whywouldntyoutry says:

      my gastro just called me a couple of days ago to let me know he FOUND them – with a capsule endo – exciting! right? finding something that is NEW?

      1. Windriven says:

        If you read Dr. Morgan’s comment you recognize that there is nothing “new” about it.

        1. whywouldntyoutry says:

          if it isn’t new then why don’t we know what they are?

          1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

            Um…you’ll notice that several people have pointed out we know what they are. Fiber and other undigested food, mucous, bacteria, etc.

            But hey, perhaps Volinsky and Gubarev will revolutionize biology by discovering a completely new macroscopic form of life (and humans who can survive with a blood pH of 10, which is what, 1,000 times more basic than the human norm?) if they can just muster the evidence. I mean seriously, if they can come up with some decent evidence to support their assertions, it would completely blow the lid off of entire disciplines of science! The words “revolution” and “paradigm shift” would be understatements considering just how incredibly unprecedented their discoveries would be. I wish them the best of luck with the Nobel committee.

      2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

        my gastro just called me a couple of days ago to let me know he FOUND them

        No he didn’t, you lying troll. Merely claiming something exists doesn’t make it magically appear.

        1. Harriet Hall says:

          Rather than accusing her of lying, I would rather ask for evidence. Who is the doctor? What exactly did he say? Show us the photos from the capsule endoscopy. Explain how you know those images represent a parasite. If the gastroenterologist has indeed identified a hitherto unknown human parasite, he will undoubtedly write up a case report for the medical literature and will become famous – the critter might even be named after him!

          If she will give us the gastroenterologist’s name and give him permission to talk about her case, I would love to call him and learn the details of what he found.

          1. whywouldntyoutry says:

            @Harriet – i will absolutely ask him if i can bring him in on this – BY THE WAY, i am NOT claiming it is a parasite – Nor is he – I actually had a conversation with him about it as we are both wondering exactly what it is – I said that i think it’s some weird biofilm that COULD be housing candida, bacteria, virus – because when they ‘die’ i feel awful – AWFUl – i know i’m about to pass one because of my symptoms – and then a day or two later, there it is – gross – totally gross – i have a pic of one that i can send you now and when i see my doctor (calling him now) i will ask him to join – THANK YOU for asking the rest to stop calling me and all of us crazy and liars – i think what all of you aren’t realizing (all of you meaning traditional western doctors who nay say rope worms) is that even Volinsky is saying he doesn’t exactly KNOW what it is – all of these people who are experiencing these and or studying them or just merely trying to figure it all out – it’s been called a worm or parasite because lets face it – it LOOKS like a worm – but personally i think its a new way for microorganisms to survive – those buggers are good at hiding and thriving – THANK YOU asking for more info

            1. Harriet Hall says:

              “even Volinsky is saying he doesn’t exactly KNOW what it is”

              Read what he says again. He is convinced it is a worm, thinks he has identified parts of its anatomy, and even thinks he knows its life cycle.

              1. whywouldntyoutry says:

                yes, i’ve listened to the broadcast – but he does say he doesn’t know how it has become what it has become – like i said, is it a living organism? i don’t know, but it definitely feels like it when the burning, biting and cramping pain in your gut stops you in your tracks – but instead of picking apart one persons research on something that is truly a medical problem shouldn’t you guys help him instead of making fun of him?

              2. Harriet Hall says:

                “is it a living organism? i don’t know, but it definitely feels like it ”
                Why posit a living organism when parasitic diseases don’t cause those symptoms and when non-parasitic intestinal diseases can cause incapacitating “burning, biting and cramping” pain? That’s not a sign of a parasite, but a sign of your imagining what a parasite would feel like.

                “shouldn’t you guys help him instead of making fun of him”
                It would help him if he read my article and learned from it.
                It’s very hard not to make fun of something that is so funny. If it makes him realize how ridiculous his “research” sounds, laughing at him might even do some good. Actually I suspect he is beyond help.

        2. whywouldntyoutry says:

          such an angry guy – you treat your patients like that? if someone comes in and says ‘i need your help’ do you say, ‘your a lying troll’
          send me your info i’ll send you the pics – – i already asked him if i could have the video so i could post it for all to see and for proof and he said yes – i’ll show you – i promise

          1. Windriven says:

            ” if someone comes in and says ‘i need your help’ do you say, ‘your a lying troll’”

            Had you come here asking for help instead of spouting bullcrap you’d have gotten help instead of the double barrel load of pushback that you richly deserved.

            “send me your info i’ll send you the pics”

            Nobody wants to see pictures. A picture is not a diagnosis. The likely causes of what you think are “buttworms” have been laid out by Drs. Hall and Moran with able assists from several others. Your continued bleating doesn’t alter anything.

            1. whywouldntyoutry says:

              i think i saw probably 8 doctors that had the same terrible haughty attitude that you have – i feel bad for your patients – let me guess, you have your prescription pad in your right pocket? or is it your left? and what bullcrap have i been talking about? you really are an angry man – have you sought help for that or have you just up’d your dose of antidepressants?

              1. AdamG says:

                i feel bad for your patients

                I feel bad for your doctors.
                Hypothetically, is there any piece of evidence that, if it existed, would convince you that ‘rope worms’ do not exist?

              2. whywouldntyoutry says:

                @winddriven and i’m sure you don’t want to see the capsule endo pics – because that is proof that you would be wrong – and you don’t want to be proven wrong – and there in lies a BIG problem – the ego getting in the way of actually helping people.

              3. simba says:

                Ego of what? What do you think people are getting out of this? People aren’t attempting to persuade you just because they like to be insulted- ‘haughty’ or not they’re genuinely trying to help.

                I have no doubt there’s something on the endo. No-one has questioned that, and Harriet Hall has explicitly stated that. What people are questioning is that it is rope worms or that it is necessarily related to your symptoms. If it is a rope worm, then getting it DNA analysed, examined under a microscope, written up with the input of relevant experts (parasitology for example) and published would be the only ethical thing to do, the only thing that can persuade the skeptics.

                Photos won’t do that, because they don’t actually show that it’s a rope worm, that it caused your symptoms etc. The picture is not at all proof that AdamG is wrong- because how do you know that’s what it is and it isn’t something else? People have given you lots of examples of other things that cause something akin to what you are describing.

                It is not unethical to not accept something if there isn’t enough scientific evidence for it. There are lots of things which don’t have scientific evidence, which are wrong, and the reason science exists is to tell the difference.

                It’s up to the supporters of this theory to provide the evidence that they are right. People who thought there was a round Earth didn’t just sit back and say ‘Hey, I’m right and you’re wrong!’. Neither did Ignaz Semmelweiss, or the people who worked on H. Pylori. They took it for granted that they would have to provide sufficient evidence to support their theory, and that if they didn’t people would assume they are wrong because most people with the new Big Idea are. People aren’t mean, or evil, or unkind, because they won’t accept a new diagnosis which doesn’t appear to have good evidence.

                If I got sick, for example, and the doctor decided it was rope worms and treated it as such- they don’t know that I don’t have something else that’s causing my symptoms and the substance in the feces. They don’t know rope worms really exist (see the article) and even given they do exist, they don’t know that’s what I have because they haven’t tested. They have no idea what the right treatment is because that hasn’t been tested either. For all they know that treatment makes rope worms multiply (again, if they exist, which seems unlikely given the state of the evidence).

                They could horribly misdiagnose me and PREVENT me getting real help and real relief. The treatment could be entirely worthless, or could treat another problem that wasn’t rope worms at all. At best they could be lying to me without even knowing it, with the best of intentions, because they didn’t search the evidence for what was most likely to help me.

                You said yourself that you don’t know it’s rope worms- so why come on here and attack people? No-one’s disagreeing with you that you’re sick, that there’s something on the endo etc. Where people disagree with you is that it is rope worms.

              4. Windriven says:

                “@winddriven and i’m sure you don’t want to see the capsule endo pics – because that is proof that you would be wrong – and you don’t want to be proven wrong – and there in lies a BIG problem – the ego getting in the way of actually helping people.”

                Silly fool, I LOVE being proven to be wrong. It is an opportunity to learn something. But I have little hope that I’ll learn anything from you. I wonder what you imagine capsule endoscopy images prove about your “buttworms”? Do you believe that they prove the discovery of some new species of intestinal parasite?

                The final report from a a competent pathologist might be interesting. But if your butt snake is some exotic new species, researchers will be lined up at your door to gaze upon your glutes.

                But I’m betting it doesn’t happen that way.

              5. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

                First off, not a doctor, and neither is Windriven.

                i think i saw probably 8 doctors that had the same terrible haughty attitude that you have – i feel bad for your patients – let me guess, you have your prescription pad in your right pocket? or is it your left? and what bullcrap have i been talking about? you really are an angry man – have you sought help for that or have you just up’d your dose of antidepressants?

                Second, not on any medications. I follow conventional doctor’s advice – lots of fruits and vegetables, exercise regularly, sleep eight hours every night, and try to keep my stress low. Your guesses are wrong. I’m not particularly angry, but I’m not going to pretend respect for someone with your levels of certainty and evidence. Windriven might be angry, it’s hard to tell.

                @winddriven and i’m sure you don’t want to see the capsule endo pics – because that is proof that you would be wrong – and you don’t want to be proven wrong – and there in lies a BIG problem – the ego getting in the way of actually helping people.

                I can’t speak for Windriven, but I would assume that he’s uninterested for the same reasons I am – pictures tell nothing. You would need microscopy, DNA tests and a lot of biochemistry to determine the contents of your toilet, and you wouldn’t believe the results anyway. You’re convinced you’ve found a solution and that’s that. Your solution is wrong and crazy, and shows a complete lack of understanding of biology, but that doesn’t matter to you apparently.

  14. Mathieu says:

    “Merde de taureau” is just not something we say in French. I suppose you were hoping to write the equivalent of “bullshit” in French ? If that’s the case, just say “c’est de la merde”.

    1. Harriet Hall says:

      Merci. I was trying to be funny and swear without offending, by using the English words in disguise. My French is self taught. I read it well and have managed to get by speaking it (poorly) as a tourist in France, but I shouldn’t risk trying to write it.

    2. Lytrigian says:

      It’s a sad fact that proper French expletives are rarely taught in formal language instruction. My own French classes in public school taught us no word stronger than “zut!” So, unless we actually live for a time in a Francophone area, we must improvise.

  15. mouse says:

    If they’ve never found a patient that didn’t have evidence of these organisms then they would be incredibly common. Wouldn’t it be just as likely that these critters were beneficial rather than harmful, much like our beneficial gut flora?

    Maybe we should stop killing them and focus on fostering a healthy symbiotic relationship with the organisms. Preferably by feeding them moderate amounts of vodka and Russian cakes.

    1. MTDoc says:

      On my recent colonoscopy, my GI colleague found three polyps, but no critters that matched the description of these worms. And in my half century plus in medicine I have never seen such “organisms”. Of course in my case I solve the problem with my nightly martini (we have used ETOH for this in medicine since my earliest memory). My guess is that vodka would work just as well. But perhaps windriven should confirm that scotch is equally effective. I enjoy your comments on this blog.

      1. Windriven says:

        “But perhaps windriven should confirm that scotch is equally effective.”

        In my experience, the efficacy of Scotch is directly proportional to its age. 25 year old McCallan’s administered in the evening is as close as we are likely to come to the one true cure for all that ails you.

        1. mouse says:

          I can’t feed my symbiotic organisms 25 yo Scotch unless insurance starts paying for it. Wait, wait, health freedom is starting to look more appealing now. ;)

      2. mouse says:

        Thanks MTDoc

  16. Lytrigian says:

    I have been infected by similar parasites in my nose. I call them “rubber ticks”, for their consistency and general shape. They seem to be most common in the springtime, when trees and other plants are releasing a good deal of pollen, and, I am forced to conclude, the rubber tick eggs they’ve been hosting in dormancy all winter. They appear to metabolize incoming oxygen as I inhale, since they interfere significantly with my breathing. Respiration requires much less effort after they’re removed. There are various methods of extraction. One I haven’t tried, but which sure sounds plausible as hell to ME, would be a warm green tea/eucalyptus neti pot rinse.

    I’ve tried bringing rubber ticks to the attention of the local health community, but no one seems interested. More proof that Big Pharma is ignoring our REAL health issues when there’s no profit to be had!

    1. Harriet Hall says:

      Good one! Reminds me of something that happened when our daughter was still sleeping in a crib. We went to get her up one morning and she was standing up in the crib holding a tiny object between her thumb and forefinger. She announced, “Look, Mommy, I found a green fing.” I asked her where she found it, and she said, “In my nose.”

      1. Thor says:

        Precious and priceless. And funny! And completely on-topic, almost rounding out the whole discussion.

      2. Lytrigian says:

        Well! At least she knew her colors from an early age!

      3. Preston Garrison says:

        I remember a writer once remarking that her husband was so worry prone concerning their toddler, he would biopsy a booger.

    2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      I’ve tried bringing rubber ticks to the attention of the local health community, but no one seems interested.

      You joke, but Dr. Crislip has told a story of a patient who did exactly this – presenting him with a jar full of boogers. Poe!

      1. Lytrigian says:

        You know, I’d entirely forgotten about that story. And now, I have to forget about it again.

  17. This really is a terrific example of Poe’s Law. For anyone unfamiliar with it, I’ll save you the trip to Wikipedia:

    “Poe’s law, named after its author Nathan Poe, is an Internet adage reflecting the idea that without a clear indication of the author’s intent, it is difficult or impossible to tell the difference between an expression of sincere extremism and a parody of extremism.”

    Or the difference between a sincere rope worm report and a parody of one.

  18. dw says:

    Oh, surely it is a joke.

    Off to google…

  19. fastbuckartist says:

    This is one “crappy” topic.
    Still, more interesting reading than CNBSS mammography feud with Dr Kopans.

    1. Andrey Pavlov says:

      Yes FBA. We are all aware that you are much more interested in how to scam people than the actual science of caring for them appropriately.

    2. TiredFather says:

      So FBA are you a believer in these beasts?

      1. I am a believer in Comrade Volinski consuming large quantities of stolichnaya vodka bez zakuski before writing the manuscripts on parasites, and his ruski comrade tovarisch Pavlov here having the same blood alcohol concentration when he replies to my posts on SBM.

        Russia is an interesting place for many reasons but healthcare and healthy lifestyle isnt one of them

        1. Andrey Pavlov says:

          I am a believer in Comrade Volinski consuming large quantities of stolichnaya vodka bez zakuski before writing the manuscripts on parasites, and his ruski comrade tovarisch Pavlov here having the same blood alcohol concentration when he replies to my posts on SBM.

          I’d be pretty willing to bet that I could still do a much better job drunk than you can sober. Might make for an interesting podcast at least.

    3. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      Still, more interesting reading than CNBSS mammography feud with Dr Kopans.

      I can see why you would complain about this, since you are forced to read all the articles and are not in any way a douchebag.

  20. R3d says:

    Andrey, pH actually does vary beyond 1 and 14 for non aqueous acids and bases.

    1. Andrey Pavlov says:

      Very true R3D and thank you for the correction.

    1. AdamG says:

      Yes, and your point?
      I think you missed the point of the article, which is that “rope worms” are a fantasy.

      1. Darlow says:

        AdamG–enough people are reporting these things with photographs that it is clear they are something and not just somebody’s fantasy. What they are–that is an open question.

        1. AdamG says:

          My point was that it’s a fantasy that these are separate organisms, i.e. “worms” of any sort. This phenomenon is likely intestinal lining sloughing off as a result of nonsensical ‘detox’ diets and coffee enemas.

          1. Darlow says:

            So you know that for sure, right? You know for sure it is “fantasy” but your “likely” indicates that you don’t know for sure anything about it. Better get off the fence, AdamG.

            1. AdamG says:

              Here’s what I know:
              1. It doesn’t contain non-human DNA
              2. It is only reported by people undergoing radical, useless enema protocols.

              Point 1 alone is enough to know that it’s a fantasy that these are separate organisms.

              1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

                Point 3 – a large number of people reporting anecdotes isn’t evidence. One could get tremendous anecdotal supporting evidence for a geocentric universe, or the effectiveness of bloodletting, or the existence of qi. Trepanation, flat earth, astrology. Psychic powers, homeopathy, alien probing. Demonic possession, angels, numerology. Feng shui, climate change denial, Candida overgrowth. Need I go on?

                So on one hand, we have a lump of anecdotes that grossly contradict what is known about life in general but does quite neatly fit with humanity’s ability to fool itself. Oh, and your poop. On the other hand, we have all of science, the self-reinforcing series of interlocking fields, buttressed by numerous theoretical and empirical predictions and tests that say your poop can’t be a new life form and the “treatments” you undertake for them merely contribute to electrolyte imbalances and constipation.

                And honestly, you aren’t doing your credibility any favours by showing up here and proclaiming your convictions (nor by keeping, drying and fetishizing your feces).

    2. Lytrigian says:

      None of those photos bears a strong resemblance at all to the strings of mucus being identified as “rope worms” Tapeworms have an identifiable anatomy. These don’t.

      1. MadisonMD says:

        Tape worms also have non-human DNA sequences. These don’t.

        1. Lytrigian says:

          I thought they found no DNA in them at all…

          1. MadisonMD says:

            Didn’t bother looking up the cite, but Harriet wrote:

            When rope worms were tested for DNA, only human DNA was found.

            I’d be surprised if you didn’t find human DNA in bodily secretions. Wouldn’t be surprised to find bacterial DNA either. Our bodies are crawling with DNA… but not with tapeworms.

  21. George S says:

    These people are just doing chemistry experiments in their and other people’s colons and are part of the enema fetish crowd that do it for fun. When they find something that produces an interesting product like these worms they are delighted because they can use it to suck more gullible people in and make some money and at the same time have more fun putting stuff up people’s bums.
    I have experienced actual parasites a few times and it doesn’t just make you feel a little off, it is like you are being killed by your own body and you hope that they die first.

    1. whywouldntyoutry says:

      @George ‘I have experienced actual parasites a few times and it doesn’t just make you feel a little off, it is like you are being killed by your own body and you hope that they die first.’ That sounds exactly like what it feels like to pass one of these things – I should know, i just had a few days of feeling like i’m dying – my husband looks at me and says ‘you look terrible’ – can’t move, breathing is difficult, feels like i’m drunk or like a stroke – slurred speech etc.
      you are all here making fun of something you don’t know anything about – it’s terrible practice to be so ‘smart’ – why not do your own research? i’m here to tell you they are real and they (whatever they are) are horrible – help us out instead of poking fun

      1. Windriven says:

        @whywouldntyoutry

        I wonder if your excrement issue is a variant of Morgellon’s; a delusional parasites is? Antipsychotic drugs can help with that.

        You will recall that when investigated, nothing was found besides human DNA.

        1. Windriven says:

          Goddam autocorrect. A variant of delusional parasitosis.

        2. whywouldntyoutry says:

          @ Gearge – then why do i feel like i’m dying when i pass one? and why is there intense pain around the area where the endo capsule pictured one? what lab tested the one that ended up with the verdict ‘Human DNA’? how many labs and eyes were on these things? let’s try again, lets test again – i’m telling you, this is a real problem with hundreds of people (if not thousands) and you are all just taking someone else’s word that its only human DNA – why not find out for yourself instead of making condescending comments and calling people delusional – you are the kind of person that sends a patient in to depression, possibly suicide because you make them feel crazy – there is an actual ‘thing’ coming out of them and that can be seen on an endo and they have symptoms and yet you still want to say that they are delusions – sounds like you are delusional – or at the very least, lazy

          1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

            then why do i feel like i’m dying when i pass one?

            Hysteria? You may have some other sort of bizarre, unusual or uncommon gut problem, you may have mental problems, you may have a somatic reaction to a psychological issue, you may have peristalsis that is coordinated in a funny way, what you don’t have is a new form of life in your gut.

            The intensity of your symptoms and the certainty of your beliefs in no way add to the accuracy of your claims.

            1. Darlow says:

              And the condescending nature of your reply would not give me any reason to credit what you say.

              1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

                Really? So your criteria for truth is whether someone is condescending or not? Well here’s a condescending statement for you – that’s a terrible and ignorant way to assess if someone is correct or not. I mean really, if someone nicely mugs you, your wallet is still gone. If a CAM provider very nicely listens to you and prescribes homeopathic remedies, they’re still being condescending to you and insulting both your intelligence and education.

                Look, you’re going to get mocked here. Nobody is going to respect your claims, because you aren’t even aware of how wrong they are or why (or even how science works, judging by your “why don’t you try it” or “you explain to me what it is” criteria). If you want someone to listen politely to you and make nice, sympathetic sounds, this is the wrong environment. You will be challenged here, probably with increasing brutality and diminishing patience. Windriven is actually being polite so far. It’s just going to get worse from here. Please keep that in mind.

          2. Windriven says:

            “then why do i feel like i’m dying when i pass one? and why is there intense pain around the area where the endo capsule pictured one?”

            Because it has thousands of very sharp teeth and it is eating its way out of your abdomen.

            1. Darlow says:

              Windriver–why would you post such a condescending reply? What’s the point other than to put someone down? Is that how you operate in life?

              1. Windriven says:

                I posted such a condescending reply because the only mystery about rope worms is in your mind.

                The human condition is marred by a wide variety maladies: Parkinson’s, incurable gliomas, cystic fibrosis. I have little patience for healthy people who say, “look at me, I’ve got weird worms up my ass.” Except that they aren’t. And that has been explained, carefully and repeatedly.

                If you have an actual medical problem it would seem to fall to a psychiatrist to address. I’d feel badly if I thought this was actually the case. But I don’t.

                Quit squirting coffee up the wrong end. Eat a normal diet. Stopping sifting through your poop compulsively.

                Life is filled with mystery and wonder. it is also short. Quit effing it up with nonsense.

  22. coffee clubs says:

    Green coffee bean extract has been known to effectively help people lose weight. The Chlorogenic acid in green coffee bean extract helps you speed up your metabolism especially when it comes to burning the fasts in your body. It could also slow down their formation by limiting the flow of glucose into your bloodstream. Other benefits would include suppressing your appetite and also helping you get rid of free radicals in your body which could cause various health problems later on.

    1. Harriet Hall says:

      “Green coffee bean extract has been known to effectively help people lose weight. ”
      I only found one double blind study in obese adults; it was a small preliminary study with only 16 subjects. What other evidence do you know of?

    2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      Green coffee bean extract has been known to effectively help people lose weight.

      Sure, in the same way black people are “known” to be lazy, and Arabs are “known” to be terrorists, and the Irish are “known” to be drunks, and vaccines are “known” to cause autism, and duct tape is “known” to cure warts, and it is “known” we have to drink eight glasses of water per day, and the earth was “known” to be flat.

      Other benefits would include … helping you get rid of free radicals in your body which could cause various health problems later on.

      Or, y’know, completely remove the ability to kill cancer cells and invading bacteria, and eliminate important signalling between cells.

    3. MadisonMD says:

      …helps you speed up your metabolism…suppressing your appetite…

      I prefer a cup of Joe which accomplishes the same thing using roasted beans. Well perhaps not the free radical part, but that is just made up anyway.

      1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

        Actually, coffee does have antioxidants – like nearly every plant on the planet.

        But geez, drink your coffee because it tastes good, not for its medicinal value.

      2. Windriven says:

        “I prefer a cup of Joe which accomplishes the same thing using roasted beans.”

        On days when I can’t fit in a real workout I’ve taken to doing “The World’s Fastest Workout.” I make absolutely no claims for this routine having magical super efficacy. But it can be done in four minutes and it leaves me breathing hard and gives me that little endorphin kick that I get at the gym.

        And the Joe. Community Dark Roast. Imported from New Orleans. Now available for your Keurig. ;-)

        1. Andrey Pavlov says:

          And the Joe. Community Dark Roast. Imported from New Orleans. Now available for your Keurig.

          I just recently switched over to Nespresso since it was a gift and I do rather enjoy it. However, we always keep some cold brewed CC on hand as well.

  23. sheila says:

    Do you have any theories for what they might be? I don’t want to sound like a crazy person, but I have been passing these “rope worm” things for approximately 1.5 years.
    I have been unable to find any information on them online until recently when I found those articles.

    They do not look like any other worm or parasite photos I have seen. In fact, they look exactly like the stage 5 photos.
    Perhaps they are in fact intestinal mucosa formed by some sore of bacterial overgrowth?

    If anybody has any further information on these things, please do share.

    Mine usually follow a very severe bout of constipation. I noticed that my B12 levels were at the “low end” of the “normal” range and I have very low energy. Coincidentally I began drinking a pre-workout drink with high levels of B vitamins and this is when I started to pass these things.
    The largest (perhaps 18inches) was passed following a parasite cleanse. Coincidence?

    I realized that the author of those articles does not have the training or education to be posting information on this– but I would love for anyone to lead me in the right direction if you do have any addition info on these disgusting gooey critters.

    Thank you so much!

    1. Harriet Hall says:

      It has been definitely established that they are not worms. Worms could not have only human DNA. They are artefacts consisting of mucous, bacteria from the gut, epithelial cells that have been shed from the gut lining, fiber and things that have been ingested and not digested (like some of the components of colon cleanses). They are similar to the bogus “gallstones” seen after “liver flushes.” See http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/would-you-like-a-liver-flush-with-that-colon-cleanse/ It is no coincidence that you are more likely to pass them after a “parasite cleanse.” The idea of a “parasite cleanse” is bogus; if you really had parasites, it would not be effective in removing them. You can’t attribute fatigue to B12 levels if they are in the normal range. Low normal means normal; it doesn’t mean you should take supplements.

      1. mouse says:

        My apologies for the disagreement, Harriet Hall – but my doctor told me to take b12 with a low normal test result. I checked it out at the time and it seemed it is possible to have a b12 deficiency with a low normal test result.

        “Several coexisting conditions may falsely lower serum B12 levels, including oral contraceptive use, multiple myeloma, pregnancy, and folate deficiency.15 In contrast, falsely normal levels may be seen in patients with liver disease, myeloproliferative disorders, or renal disease.15 Although many research studies and clinical laboratories define vitamin B12 deficiency at a level of less than 150 pg per mL (110.67 pmol per L), or in some cases 200 pg per mL, patients with values above these levels may be symptomatic and benefit from treatment.1 Vitamin B12 levels greater than 350 pg per mL seem to be protective against symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency.15,16″

        http://www.aafp.org/afp/2011/0615/p1425.html

        There’s follow-up testing that can be done. Also the poster might be vegetarian and need to take the b12 regardless.

        1. Harriet Hall says:

          @mouse,

          Thanks for pointing that out. I don’t disagree, but I wonder…Did your doctor base his recommendation to take B12 on good evidence, or was it more along the lines of “let’s try it just in case”? You say you checked it out at the time, so you must have wondered too.

          The link you cited went on to say “measurement of serum homocysteine and/or methylmalonic acid should be used to confirm deficiency in asymptomatic high-risk patients with low normal levels of vitamin B12.” Taking B12 just in case is probably cheaper and more reasonable than having more expensive lab tests done, since it’s safe.

          The poster says “I noticed” the low normal levels. This is a case of an ignorant person self-diagnosing and self-treating. She may or may not need supplements, but she does not have the knowledge needed to make that determination.

          I am concerned because naturopaths and others encourage the myth that health can be improved by “optimizing” lab values that were already in the normal range. There is no evidence that it can, and the belief leads to obsessive worries about lab values that naturally fluctuate and are subject to lab error. I have a rule of thumb: never believe a single test result. Example: my blood sugar has always been normal. My hematologist ordered a whole slew of lab tests to follow up on my antiphospholipid antibody syndrome (hematologists tend to do a lot of blood tests, naturally), and my fasting blood glucose was 10 points above the normal range. He knew enough not to be alarmed, and just suggested I have it repeated. I did, and this time it was smack in the middle of the normal range.

          1. mouse says:

            @Harriet Hall “She may or may not need supplements, but she does not have the knowledge needed to make that determination.”

            Good point. I missed the “I noticed” reference and was assuming that the b12 test was done and reported by a doctor.

            “Did your doctor base his recommendation to take B12 on good evidence, or was it more along the lines of “let’s try it just in case”? You say you checked it out at the time, so you must have wondered too.”

            It was a new doctor that recommended the b12 supplements (My previous one moved). She also gave me a slip to retest the B12 and other abnormal results after a month or so. She seemed kinda abrupt and fast and I didn’t quite get the thinking behind the b12 and didn’t really start to wonder till I was driving home.

            It was in the context of follow up for mild anemia (for 3ish years) and intermittent upper and right side stomach (and back) pain after endoscopy. I’d had treatment for positive h-pylori. An endoscopy had indicated chronic gastritis – there were various other normal and abnormal tests. It gets kinda complicated and boring.

            Anyway, after the appointment I wasn’t sure if the b12 recommendation was just to make me feel like she was doing something or a genuine recommendation. But my dad had pernicious anemia* which I think he didn’t supplement well and it seemed to take a toll on his cognitive skills. I was really getting a lot of other symptoms at the time (fatigue, sick headaches, burning arms, tingling fingers, etc) So I was hoping that the b12 might help.

            I’m in perimenopause, have thyroid disease, a cervical nerve root compression and diagnoses of Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Disease and anxiety disorder. So it’s pretty hard to figure out which non-specific symptoms go with which condition.

            To be honest I would have preferred the follow up labs on the B12 test, because if they were normal I could have narrowed down the suspects a bit. But I just didn’t feel up to going back and doing the diplomatic negotiations that come with stepping on a new doctors toes. So I’m just doing the b12 and the follow up lab and see what happens.

            I AM feeling quite a better, although my rheum upped my plaquenil too, so still can’t tell.

            Sorry such a long way to say. “I don’t know.” :)

            *HIS doctor said – and that’s another story. ;)

        2. Andrey Pavlov says:

          My apologies for the disagreement, Harriet Hall

          Mouse! You should know better than to apologizing for disagreeing, especially when you have legit references to back it up.

          But in any event, thanks for shedding a little light on the topic. That said, I think Dr. Hall is still likely to be correct, since this is describing a specific population that is unusual. In other words, it is a pretty safe bet to say that Sheila cannot attribute her fatigue to low B12 with a low-normal serum level. But still, as you point out, there is indeed a chance that she could be wrong (though it doesn’t sound like Sheila has liver or renal disease or a myeloproliferative disorder, thus further increasing the likelihood that she can’t actually attribute her fatigue to low B12).

          1. mouse says:

            Thanks Andrey Pavlov – In the case of Shelia – based on my inexpert reading -my main questions would be if she is a vegan or vegetarian, since that is pretty common now, age (since b12 deficiency becomes more common after 50) or other signs/conditions. And well low/normal is pretty vague, is it 155 or 275? But barring any clear indicators, yeah I certainly wouldn’t disagree that fatigue isn’t enough to say low b12.*

            My initial concern was that some person from the broader audience might read ‘low/normal b12 is normal therefore doesn’t require supplementation’ and stop taking supplementation that had been recommended by their doctor based low/normal b12 test along with other test results and their individual condition/needs. Because that sounds just like what my dad would do (see my second comment in this thread).

            Also, I spent a bunch of time checking out that b12 thing and I was a bit dismayed – hoping I didn’t have to go back and check my previous conclusion.

            Major Tangent! *When I was young and used to go to the gym regularly, I had about a week or so where I suddenly was so fatigued I had a much harder time with my work out. I didn’t think much of it until I started having blazing headaches, which I happened to mention to the HVAC guy at work (Dude, don’t bang that duct – I gotta blazing headache). He noted that the weather had just cooled and asked if I’d had my heater checked. Turned out I had a wide crack in the heat exchange and carbon monoxide in the air. That was before C2O monitors were common. Easiest fatigue and headache fix ever (since it was a rental) I only had to go without heat for a week. :)

            1. Andrey Pavlov says:

              Mouse:

              Excellent points indeed. Thank you for the excellent contribution. It is something that I will keep in mind myself.

              And an interesting, and somewhat scary, story!

            2. Windriven says:

              Mouse, many years ago a woman that I worked with would have occasional inexplicable headaches that would start shortly after she arrived at work and would clear shortly after leaving.

              Ultimately it was tracked back to the office alarm system that had several ultrasonic transmitters. When the alarm was properly disarmed in the morning the transmitters were switched off. But the alarm could also be placed in standby mode using a different code and the transmitters and other systems would remain on. As I recall only one person used the standby code and it was ultimately found that the headaches occurred when he was first to arrive.

              There were perhaps 20 people in the office and she was the only one affected. I don’t know if that owed to a particular sensitivity or to the location of her desk with respect to the axes of the transmitters.

              1. mouse says:

                That is wild. It’s amazing that you all figured it out at all. You’re not pulling my leg are you? I’m a complete idiot when it comes to transmitters and the like. I’m left having to believe engineer types.

    2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      Mine usually follow a very severe bout of constipation.

      There would seem to be a pretty good case to be made that it is merely fiber that gets bound together while you are constipated. Also, most “parasite cleanses” consist of more fiber.

      Eat apples on a regular basis instead. They taste better and cost less than a bottle full of fiber pills.

    3. whywouldntyoutry says:

      Sheila, I agree,, the author has no experience in this matter to be making comments – Harriet Hall – are you still a practicing physician? have you actually seen a patient with these? have you asked anyone who has had them how they feel when they pass one? Instead of passing on information about something that you know nothing about, why don’t you actually do some REAL journalist work and ask people who are experiencing these things instead of just reading some information and making your own assumptions and condescending remarks – it’s doctors like you that have depressed thousands of people for the last 50 years – go away or renew your passion! otherwise you are holding back progress in the medical field.

      1. simba says:

        Why would it be important to ask people how they feel when they pass one in order to establish that they exist? If thy do exist it should just come up in DNA testing and on examination of the feces. If someone has tapeworms you don’t diagnose that by asking how they feel when they take a shit, it’s basically irrelevant to actual diagnosis of the parasite infection by itself.

        The piece above examines the claims made, establishes their relation to waht we know, and then looks at the solid evidence, looking at whether or not it is true rather than whether or not it hurts people’s feelings- that is what we call journalism.

        You’re suggesting ignoring the evidence, ignoring the claims made, ignoring what we already know about this issue, not looking at the paucity of scientific evidence, and instead asking people how they feel and then deciding that represents objective facts about their condition (‘I feel this is a worm’ becomes ‘this is a worm’). That is exactly the opposite of real journalist work, it would be showing gross ignorance of journalism, science, and clinical diagnosis.

      2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

        Sheila, I agree,, the author has no experience in this matter to be making comments – Harriet Hall – are you still a practicing physician? have you actually seen a patient with these?

        Dr. Hall is a retired physician, and nobody has seen these (except in the form of fiber, passed normally). Look, we know that organisms have life cycles, DNA and organs. There are zero amorphous or blobby life forms bigger than a pinhead. It simply doesn’t work – there has to be means of delivering nutrients and removing waste, because once you pass a certain size, osmosis is insufficient. Macroscopic things like these would need specialized cells and tissues, which these do not have. They are poop. Dried out poop.

        have you asked anyone who has had them how they feel when they pass one? Instead of passing on information about something that you know nothing about, why don’t you actually do some REAL journalist work and ask people who are experiencing these things instead of just reading some information and making your own assumptions and condescending remarks – it’s doctors like you that have depressed thousands of people for the last 50 years – go away or renew your passion! otherwise you are holding back progress in the medical field.

        I’m sorry to inform you of this, but reality dictates reality, not passion. Having a “passion” for something doesn’t make it exist. Just ask UFOlogists, or David Icke. Or, rather, dont’ ask them because they are delusional. People claim to experience all sorts of things, but what they are actually doing is interpreting their experiences to support an unsupported idea. Merely because you think your poop is filled with a novel form of life doesn’t mean your poop is anything but poop.

      3. n brownlee says:

        The desire to describe to an audience your ‘feelings’ during a bowel movement is more than weird, whywouldntyoutry. Why would you think (hope?) this is usual, in medical diagnosis?

      4. mouse says:

        Hmm – I took it that Shelia was talking about the authors of the rope worm articles not having enough experience, not Harriet Hall.

        funny what we do and don’t read into short comments, huh?

  24. sheila says:

    I don’t think it’s a scam because I’ve seen them in my own stool.
    They may not be parasitic. The only real info those articles supply is that they are anaerobic– which makes me think that they are some sort of baterial overgrowth.
    Either way, they can’t be good and I feel better after they leave me.

    The real question is: How many more are in me?
    And are they really stealing my nutrients?

    If someone wants to tell me how to post pics on here, I can upload some pics that were definitely not created in a lab! They’re gross!

    1. Harriet Hall says:

      There is no reason to think there are any more inside you; doctors have never seen any such thing inside any patient during surgery or colonoscopy and other imaging procedures. They are not “stealing your nutrients” any more than the normal bacteria that live in your intestines and are essential to your well-being.

      Of course you “feel better” subjectively, but only because you think they represent something harmful. You are not really better in any objective sense.

      Stop doing colon cleanses, stop looking in the toilet, and try to forget about the idea of worms.

      1. Darlow says:

        Harriet–can you please provide scientific studies to confirm your comments? I challenge you to look to do CE’s and look in the toilet for month.

        1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

          The onus is on the claimant. It’s up to you to provide positive evidence to support your claim, there is no way to test an infinite number of possible hypotheses. If you would like to get an idea of why Dr. Hall and others object to your beliefs, a basic anatomy and physiology textbook, and a high school biology book, would be an adequate starting point.

      2. Darlow says:

        Harriet says “there is no reason to think there are any more inside you..” One reason I decided to keep them — have two quart bottles with whatever these things are in alcohol from a 7 month period of time with photos–was because people like Harriet are so condescending about it. Harriet was dismissive of me doing that, and yet she is certain you don’t have any more of them. Can’t have it both ways, Harriet.

        1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

          You aren’t proving that these are worms though. You aren’t really proving anything. All you’ve proven is that stuff comes out of your butthole. And that’s not unusual.

  25. whywouldntyoutry says:

    So, I am someone who has a chronic illness – while pregnant, without doing colonics or taking any crazy supplements etc… I started expelling these rope things – and in the years that followed, my illness got worse, no doctor believed me – nothing was accomplished – recently, when i was FINALLY diagnosed by a REAL doctor who didn’t have a stick up his ass because he thought he was WAY too smart, when i was FINALLY diagnosed by someone who decided to DO THEIR JOB as a doctor and look at all of my symptoms WITH COMPASSION, I am FINALLY able to get up and out of bed in the morning, without limping, without stopping half way between my bed and the kitchen to catch my breath – You all sit their behind your computers (Harriet Hall) and laugh at people who are at least TRYING to do something about weird illnesses – i find it so pathetic – pathetic! Why not try? Why not look at these things yourself? Why not ask the people who have these things? ASK ‘tell me more?’ They are definitely NOT something that is a result of a colonic or a cleanse – i just had a capsule endoscopy that showed these things in my small intestine – you guys just don’t get it – you think because you spent hundreds of thousands of dollars going to school and learning text book information that you know EVERYTHING – and you refuse to look at something new – so, if the blood PH is wrong, why don’t you HELP? HELP that guy get it right – HELP the rest of us who are suffering or in pain – No, you decide to laugh and throw out all of your numbers and ‘experience’ – fuck experience if it blinds you to what you used to do when you took that oath. Remember that oath? remember when you wanted to actually HELP people? Or was it really only about the money…? I had one pathetic doctor actually say to me ‘I don’t know, i’m not House’…l are you fucking kidding me? YOU SHOULD TRY to BE House! JUST TRY for christsake. Use your brain instead of your pride and get over the fact that you think your brilliant. Stop criticizing and HELP!

    1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      Most of us don’t laugh at you, I just feel sorry for you being trapped in your cracked mirror world of self-confirmation. And if you’re going to point to House, a fictional doctor I might point out, one must remember that House was a staunch believer in science and the unusual operation of usual organs. He would be the very first to mock you for your belief that your poop-ropes are a novel form of life.

      Say, what was your ultimate magic doctor’s name? Were they a physician, or a doctor of osteopathy, or a naturopath? Or a chiropractor? You wanted us to ask some questions – here they are! What was your blood pH? What were your previous diagnoses? What was your ultimate diagnosis? How was it treated?

      Inquiring minds want to know.

      1. whywouldntyoutry says:

        lyme disease and ultimately this has led to epstein barr – it’s awful to live like this – i have had tons of legitimate tests from a few labs to prove this – and yes i am using House as a reference to get all of you to TRY HARDER. I believe in science that is why i would like the scientific community to jump on board and figure out what these things are – if i have to say things to get you angry in order to light the fire under your ass then i guess it has come to that. i’m not bringing my TWO doctors names in to this conversation – but i will say that they are at least open to all ideas, trying to help in any way – One is a physician and the other is a gastro – you should stop condescending and start helping – do research, do some work – HELP! your pride is getting in the way of real progress.

        1. AdamG says:

          i would like the scientific community to jump on board and figure out what these things are

          The problem is you’ve already concluded that “these things” exist. What happens when the scientific community ‘jumps on board’ and still finds nothing?

          Let me put this another way. Hypothetically, is there any evidence that, if it existed, would convince you that the ‘rope worms’ aren’t actually real?

        2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

          lyme disease and ultimately this has led to epstein barr

          You mean chronic Lyme disease? Yeah, your doctor is a quack willing to tell you anything and charge you lots of money to provide you with something resembling reassurance.

          Keep in mind as well – the gut can be strongly and powerfully affected by the mind; that’s not to say your symptoms are psycosomatic, merely that they could be caused by purely cognitive factors. Maybe add a therapist to the list of the specialists you see regularly. Even if it’s not purely a cognitive issue (and I’m not downplaying cognitive issues – suffering is real even if it’s restricted to the mind) then they could be useful in developing coping mechanisms for whatever your situation is.

          At least CFS wasn’t included in the list.

  26. Amber says:

    I have something batshit crazy! I was always healthy but lately everything is wrong with me. I started to get really worried when I realized I have blood in my stool.
    I will make the long story short. Yesterday I noticed something else in my stool. First I thought it was a string, but it looked more like my intestine or something…. This “string” had pouches filled with it’s own feces! I took a picture of it, put it in a bag and went to the emergency with it. They sent it to a lab. The doctor in the emergency kept saying: “Strange!” She looked like she had no idea what it is.

    1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      Sigh.

      1. Windriven says:

        I suspect it was part of her dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. Does that mean she has $hit for brains or brains for $hit? Or both?

    2. Harriet Hall says:

      You saw blood in your stool and didn’t realize it can be a sign of cancer and didn’t seek medical care for that, but you rushed to the ER because your poo looked strange? You need to get your priorities straight.

      You say they sent it to a lab; what did the lab report say?

  27. Deb says:

    Maybe rope worms arent real but most humans have parasites. Nobody wants to know that though because it is so disgusting. It’s also just human arrogance to think that we are so far above other creatures on earth that we could not have parasites. Therefore nobody will ever fund a scientific study because it would destroy our delusions, especially those held in “civilized” countries. I put civilized in quotes because we have allowed our food sources to become so bad that it would follow that parasites are starting to become more common.

    Once I started reading and researching I had a hard time with it just like everyone else. I am very healthy but I started taking a few anti parasitic supplements but really felt like I was doing it just to be sure. Then one day while doing a plain water enema and out came two small dead worms. Sorry I’m not stupid –no mistaking them. So as healthy as I was before, they are obviously some improvements to be made. I shudder to think of those with less overall care of their bodies.

    For the sake of yours and other people’s health, stop being arrogant and stop hiding brhind a “scientific” mask becsuse you think that will keep you above biological realities.

    1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      Maybe rope worms arent real but most humans have parasites.

      Yes, humans have parasites (most or not depends where you live – most humans in the first world do not and there is a large school of thought and debate over whether this is a good thing). However, all of those parasites have DNA different from humans, have recognizable organs, and have essentially nothing in common with the claims about rope worms. It’s rather like saying cars exist therefore UFOs exist.

      Therefore nobody will ever fund a scientific study because it would destroy our delusions, especially those held in “civilized” countries. I put civilized in quotes because we have allowed our food sources to become so bad that it would follow that parasites are starting to become more common.

      Pubmed has 187,615 studies involving the word “parasites”. Many of these parasites are found in the third world, but can be found or imported to the first world. There are currently studies about how they impact our biology. There’s even a SBM post discussing the idea. Don’t let your ignorance about a topic fool you into thinking that nothing is known about a topic. Instead, exercise your library card.

      Food in the first world is generally problematic because of calorie excess, and more rarely E. coli, which is a bacteria, not a parasite. Though trichinosis is a parasite.

      Seriously, read a book. A real one, like an anatomy and physiology book, followed by perhaps a book on infectious tropical parasites, or even general parasitology. Something from a university press, not something written by a quack trying to sell you something.

      Then one day while doing a plain water enema and out came two small dead worms. Sorry I’m not stupid –no mistaking them.

      Even if they were worms (how do you know? Dd you have them tested? Did you take them to a parasitologist or lab to be analyzed? How do you know they were not undigested food, or a fingernail, or anything else that might look like a dead worm but wasn’t? My feces are routinely full of things I can’t recognize but aren’t brown, that doesn’t mean I’m creating new forms of life in my butt), they would be real worms with separate DNA, not the “rope worms” that don’t exist and are impossible.

      You may or may not be stupid, but there is every indication you are mistaken. People make mistakes all the time. Strength of conviction is actually totally uncorrelated, in some cases negatively correlated, with accuracy of beliefs.

      So as healthy as I was before, they are obviously some improvements to be made. I shudder to think of those with less overall care of their bodies.

      Yeah…we actually know what happens to people with real parasites. It’s not the vague symptoms of rope worms, it’s anemia, stunted growth (and reduced allergies). They are real and measurable, and they have a surprisingly minimal impact on human health. It’s better if you don’t have them, but you can easily live your entire life in relatively excellent health with worms firmly attached to your intestinal lining. “Taking care of your body” has almost nothing to do with it – without a clean water supply and specific, rigorous food inspection and treatments for livestock and humans, worms are pretty inevitable and your preoccupations with ritual purity won’t actually help you in any way.

      You can find this out in, again, any textbook on parasites. For instance, this one.

      For the sake of yours and other people’s health, stop being arrogant and stop hiding brhind a “scientific” mask becsuse you think that will keep you above biological realities.

      Actually, the problem is that you don’t have an appreciation of biological realities. Human DNA cannot be used to make a helminth. Vague symptoms and the dried up undigested fiber of a bowel movement are not sufficient to overturn the basic principles of biology. It’s not arrogance to point out that your assertions and the assertions of anyone who talks seriously about rope worms are so incredibly unlikely, so unbelievably at odds with what is known about life, that it’s basically impossible it is true. And even if we are arrogant, that doesn’t mean we’re wrong. Being humble isn’t the same thing as being right. And who is the arrogant one here? You are the one essentially demanding that the laws of biology, evolution, epidemiology, parsitology, gastroenterology and who knows what else be rewritten merely because your poop looks weird. Don’t you think you should set the bar a little higher?

      Or perhaps not. But my bar is set at a height where you need this much knowledge of biology to ride the rollercoaster, and in this scenario you are not tall enough.

    2. simba says:

      If you were taking anti parasite supplements and got worms, that seems to be pretty good evidence those anti parasite supplements don’t work.

      Head down to your doctor or pharmacy, ask them about it, maybe get some parasite testing done so you can find out what species it is, and then get an appropriate antihelmintic (aka the good old traditional worm dose). Left untreated worms can give you some not nice complications- I knew someone who had appendicitis linked to a long-standing worm infestation. Growing up I, along with many other country kids with dogs or cats, was worm dosed regularly. There’s nothing strange or against science about having worms, lots of people get them occasionally. It really has little to do with how healthy you are initially, many types like healthy hosts too.

      Science doesn’t ignore these parasites, it investigates them. The CDC’s page on them has some good information.
      http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/

      Some of them are absolutely fascinating, especially the tropical ones. There are some good books out there on them too, particularly books of tropical medicine. Hand washing, thoroughly cooking food, insect control, and regularly treating your pets can have a huge impact on your parasite risk.

      No-one is disputing the existence of human parasites. They’re disputing the existence of ‘rope worms’ (as described in the article). It’s like how everyone agrees there are horses, that doesn’t mean unicorns exist just because they are similar.

  28. Deb says:

    I know what happened to me. There was no poop because my lower colon was empty–only 2 worms. The more you argue and nit pick the moret I know you are just twisting inside at the thought. Trying any argument to ignore realiry.

    Why don’t you get your lazy arrogant scientific butt up and prove it wrong since it is bothering you so much. Give us “weirdos” some proof. You wont do it because you dontcreally want to know.

    1. n brownlee says:

      You said that most humans have worms. Then, you said you had worms – that is, “two small dead worms”. Okay, I believe you. So what? Pinworm infestation isn’t uncommon- in fact it’s extremely common, especially in children- but anyone can get them. Even roundworm infestation turns up pretty regularly in ordinary middle class Americans, especially those who have pets, though that’s no requirement. Got a dog?

    2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      I know what happened to me. There was no poop because my lower colon was empty–only 2 worms. The more you argue and nit pick the moret I know you are just twisting inside at the thought. Trying any argument to ignore realiry.

      Assuming that what you are saying is reality, and not an error, or a lie, or something innocuous like, say, two actual dead helminths that aren’t rope worms but some well-recognized species of intestinal parasite.

      Since you’re posting this on the article about rope worms, I assume you’re trying to defend the existence of rope worms. And my response to that is “your example of two dead white worms falling out of your asshole is irrelevant to the existence of rope worms.” I’m not even sure why you bring it up. Yes, actual parasitic worms do exist. Rope worms do not. As for what fell out of your asshole, I have no idea – but it wasn’t a rope worm.

      Why don’t you get your lazy arrogant scientific butt up and prove it wrong since it is bothering you so much. Give us “weirdos” some proof. You wont do it because you dontcreally want to know.

      The burden of proof is on the claimant – that’s you. You want me to believe that you have rope worms, as described by Gubarev and Volinsky? You have to do better than “two white worms fell out of my butt”. According to Gubarev and Volinsky, at minimum, rope worms aren’t white.

      I would love, love, love for something as weird as rope worms to be real – it would point to a novel form of hitherto-unappreciated life and a dramatic twist in the story of biology. It would revolutionize biology. It would give scientists something to do for decades and open up whole worlds of knowledge. But the reality is there, if faced with a choice between “there are things in our colons that completely violate everything we know about biology” and “Deb is wrong”, the latter is orders of magnitude more likely. Your burden of proof is massive, but the chance that you are simply wrong is even bigger.

      The only thing that bothers me are ignorant, credulous fools claiming certainty where there is none because they don’t understand enough about the body and the mind to realize how impossible their claims are and how easy the mind can fool itself. In addition to books on parasitology, you should look up Mistakes were made (but not by me), The Invisible Gorilla and You are not so smart.

      1. Windriven says:

        ” As for what fell out of your asshole, I have no idea – but it wasn’t a rope worm.”

        I have a theory but I’m too much a gentleman to give it voice.

    3. Windriven says:

      “Why don’t you get your lazy arrogant scientific butt up and prove it wrong since it is bothering you so much.”

      Because it has already been done. Did you trouble yourself to read the post or are you only interested in getting people to talk about your poop chute and the fauna that call it home?

      The notion of parasites doesn’t trouble me at all. But then I’m not the one who believes I have worms slithering around in my gut. Why don’t you collect up the evidence and ankle on over to your local friendly parasitologist? She would either be delighted to discover a hitherto unknown human parasite or she would have sympathy for your delusional parasitosis and refer you for a work up and an anti-psychotic. Wouldn’t either outcome be preferable to making an ass of yourself on a science site?

      Or is this really about getting a bunch of scientists and physicians to pay attention to you and to your ‘dirty places’? Does that give you a sense of importance? Power? Sexiness?

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