If you have allergies, you’ve heard me tell you that you need a tapeworm to give your immune system something to do, but a new study in rats shows tapeworm infestation may actually improve brain function. In this crazy antibacterial world we live in the immune system can evolve without infection exposure and produce abnormal responses.
For this study scientists one-two punched a group of “wormed” rats with a double infection and another “worm free” group and tested their memories against a stressful situation. The wormed rats froze in response to the stressful situation, while the worm free only showed about 50% of animals reacting to the familiar stressful area. What’s more the memory protection from the worm diversion in the immune system was shown to be passed along to the offspring of worm infected mothers.
The researchers theorize that exposure to microbes can reduce the alteration of the immune system and in the case of these rats improve memory functions.