How John Scott's restless leg syndrome was 'cured' by hookworms

Restless legs

Restless Leg Syndrome was a problem for me for many years.

Having M.E./Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, I desperately needed all the rest I could get and relied on a good sleep at night and two lengthy periods of deep relaxation/meditation during my waking hours in order to get through the day without feeling too dreadful.

But, as my health steadily declined, I began to develop a tendency to become uncontrollably restless just as I was going to sleep, and also after I'd been meditating for 10 or 15 minutes, a situation that threatened to scupper the energetic equilibrium that I was already having to work so hard to maintain.

I reported the problem, which mostly affected my right leg, to my GP, but he didn't recognise any specific condition and could only suggest that I take sleeping tablets to knock me out at night, and prescribed an -azepam drug, which was fine for one night, but, if I took it for more than two nights, it actually made the problem worse.

When I returned to see the doctor, after doing some homework, I was able to give him detailed information about Restless Leg Syndrome, which was clearly the problem I was experiencing. He admitted that he had not heard of this, but he was willing to learn and, together, we explored several therapeutic approaches. Unfortunately, none proved successful.

I then tried electroacupuncture ? again unsuccessfully ? and sought, but could not find, an osteopath familiar with the use of the Dalrymple pump technique, which I had heard might help.

Taking magnesium, calcium and potassium, and avoiding caffeine didn't work either, nor did vitamin E or a strong B complex formulation, nor even drinking tonic water (for the quinine). And, as the problem got worse, I began to find that drugs taken for other conditions, such as metoclopramide to treat gastroparesis, could dramatically worsen the symptoms.

It was at this point that I first encountered helminthic therapy, a development that was eventually to transform my health in many ways.

So many of my multifarious symptoms disappeared or were significantly reduced after getting 'hooked' that I was overcome by all the remarkable improvements I was enjoying, and didn't immediately notice the actual moment of cessation of several of these, including my restless legs.

I was looking at a list of autoimmune diseases when I happened to notice that RLS was among the 150-plus diseases included, and the realisation suddenly dawned that this - one of 'my conditions' - was no longer a problem for me. I was almost as shocked to acknowledge that I hadn't noticed its passing as I was relieved that it was finally gone.

I immediately looked up the record I had begun after getting my hookworms, and found that references to RLS began to reduce rapidly from the fifth week after inoculation with the hookworm larvae. There was no record at all of restlessness from weeks 6 to 10, only a few mild episodes between weeks 10 and 19, and then absolutely nothing from then onwards!

It's now 18 months since I adopted my treasured harem of hookies, and there has been no sign at all of any restlessness in my legs since week 19, a fact about which I am even more relieved, having just read that, in the absence of other effective medical options, doctors have recently begun to use the drug Qualaquin to treat RLS.

Qualaquin is approved for the treatment of a type of malaria, not RLS, and it has the potential to adversely affect almost every body system. The list of its effects includes permanent kidney damage, deafness, blindness, cardiovascular problems, severe nose bleeds, dizziness, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. The FDA have already released a statement alerting consumers to these dangers, after receiving a slew of reports of side effects including serious and life-threatening reactions.

My hookworms initially caused some gastric symptoms, particularly diarrhoea, but this was only transient, and the small number of worms that I have will never cause any further health issues, so I'm hugely relieved that I discovered them before my GP got round to suggesting I try Qualaquin!

(Written Aug 2010, updated Jun 2015)


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