Rope worms

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"Rope worms" (or "ropeworms") is a pseudoscientific term for long thin pieces of damaged intestinal epithelium or other bowel content that have been misidentified as human parasitic worms.[1][2][3] "Rope worms" were reported in 2013 in two self-published papers by Volinsky and Gubarev et al.[4] In fact, they are not actual parasites, but instead fragments of mucous membrane shed from the gut following the use of bleach enemas (usually marketed as Miracle Mineral Supplement) and other similarly ineffective and toxic cleanses, such as the essential oil enema described by Volinsky et al.[3][5]

The phenomenon results from improper identification of intestinal artifacts expelled from the body.[6] These "ropeworms" are often discussed, with images shared and claimed as evidence of successful detoxing, on autism forums and altmed Facebook groups, wherein various toxic and/or ineffective products are falsely claimed to cure autism and a myriad of other conditions and ailments.[7] In one Facebook group, 8500 members have allegedly been charged $60 to join, half a million dollars combined, leading to questioning of the leaders' intentions.[8]

Parents in these groups may be reluctant to take their children to their doctors, even when dangerous reactions to chlorine dioxide are apparent, such as vomiting, malaise, dehydration, and jaundice. Doctors and other mandatory reporters[9] are generally required to report suspected child abuse (including the use of chlorine dioxide enemas) to child protective services.[10]


  1. ^ Sapp, Sarah G. H.; Bradbury, Richard S.; Bishop, Henry S.; Montgomery, Susan P. (March 2019). "Regarding: A Common Source Outbreak of Anisakidosis in the United States and Postexposure Prophylaxis of Family Collaterals". The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. 100 (3): 762. doi:10.4269/ajtmh.18-1019. ISSN 0002-9637. PMC 6402927. PMID 30843503.
  2. ^ Tabbalat, Rinad Ramzi; Cal, Nicolas Vital; Mayigegowda, Kavya Kelagere; Desilets, David John (August 2019). "Two Cases of Gastrointestinal Delusional Parasitosis Presenting as Folie á Deux". ACG Case Reports Journal. 6 (8): e00183. doi:10.14309/crj.0000000000000183. ISSN 2326-3253. PMC 6791610. PMID 31737714.
  3. ^ a b Harriet Hall (27 May 2014). "Rope Worms: C'est la Merde". Science-Based Medicine. Retrieved 9 January 2019.
  4. ^ Self-published articles that allege the existence of "rope worms" :
    • Volinsky, Alex A.; Gubarev, Nikolai V.; Orlovskaya, Galina M.; Marchenko, Elena V. (2013). "Human anaerobic intestinal "rope" parasites". arXiv:1301.0953 [q-bio.OT].
    • Volinsky, Alex A.; Gubarev, Nikolai V.; Orlovskaya, Galina M.; Marchenko, Elena V. (2013). "Development stages of the "rope" human intestinal parasite". arXiv:1301.2845 [q-bio.OT].
  5. ^ William Parker (6 May 2015). "Helminths: ASD Cause or Potential Treatment". Autism Research Institute. Retrieved 14 February 2019.
  6. ^ Sirucek, Stefan (12 March 2015). "The Parents Who Give Their Children Bleach Enemas to 'Cure' Them of Autism". Vice. Retrieved 2 January 2019.
  7. ^ "Warning: So-called cures and dodgy interventions". National Autistic Society. 22 March 2019. Retrieved 24 February 2023.
  8. ^ Norris, Sophie; Clarke-Billings, Lucy (8 August 2017). "Secret Facebook group reveals how parents use bleach enemas on autistic children in bid to 'cure' disability". Mirror. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  9. ^ "Mandatory Reporters of Child Abuse and Neglect". Child Welfare Information Gateway. 28 January 2019. Retrieved 17 February 2019.
  10. ^ "Mother Exposes DIY Treatment for Autism". The Doctors. 19 September 2017. Retrieved 17 February 2019.