The family of a severely autistic boy claim that he is on the road to recovery after eating worms twice a month.
Milan Solanki, four, from Redbridge, was told by doctors that he ‘would never lead a normal life’ due to his condition.
His parents were told to think about having assisted care, and were even advised to not have other children in case they fared as badly.
After becoming desperate for an answer to his problems, they sought help from a specialist in the US who recommended helminth therapy.
The experimental treatment, which revolves around consuming tapeworms, works in the same way as probiotics by boosting gut bacteria, experts claim.
Known as helminths, these are thought to reduce inflammation in the body and help treat some illnesses by inhibiting the body’s immune response.
And now his mother, Caroline, has come forward to share her delight that the controversial technique which appears to have worked.
Her son’s attention has improved, he is now very sociable and can maintain eye contact with strangers, she said.
The 32-year-old told MailOnline that her son has secured a place in mainstream school, she added: ‘The development and change in Milan is truly remarkable.
‘It feels that we are on the road to recovery from his neurodevelopmental disorder.
‘We have got Milan’s brain and body to a better place, trying to encourage better synapses of his cells, improvement of brain function, lower inflammation, lower gut inflammation and hyperactivity.
‘We know Milan’s ability to lead a normal life is really dependent on us continuing our efforts to help him find a balance in his body.’
Milan was given rat tapeworms by helminth supply company Biome Restoration, thought to be the only one of its kind in Britain.
The Lancashire-based firm shipped the family microscopic larvaes for Milan to drink once a month, as they grow into worms when swallowed.
It has an agreement with the MHRA, the UK regulatory body for medicines, to sell the organism as a food supplement.
At the same time as taking the worms, Milan was recommended transitional medicine, a new diet and homeopathy by Dr Jerry Kartzinel, a fellow in the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The belief is that most people in Westernised countries are no longer infected with helminths due to their improved sanitary conditions.
Known as the ‘hygiene hypothesis’, a range of scientists say this has sparked an increase in allergies, asthma, irritable bowel syndrome and autism because their body’s are no longer capable of fighting off parasites.
DOES EATING WORMS ACTUALLY WORK?
There is increasing evidence that a diet of intestinal worms can be good for humans, particularly those with immune-related disorders.
They are thought to work by down-regulating inflammation and rebalancing levels of gut bacteria, scientists claim.
It was 40 years ago that British scientist John Turton carried out the first study of helminths as a treatment.
He ingested hookworms and found that the symptoms of chronic hay fever disappeared, The Lancet reported.
Despite having positive results on animals, studies on human subjects have yet to conclude that the treatment is effective.
Co-founder of Biome Restoration, Judy Chinitz, said: ‘The presence of helminths in the gut improves the quality of the microbiome.
‘That is, when helminths are present, there are more anti-inflammatory species of bacteria in the gut, and fewer pro-inflammatory ones.’