In the pursuit of unraveling the complexities of sepsis, a team of researchers at Radboud University has been conducting groundbreaking studies, deliberately inducing a controlled form of sickness in healthy volunteers for over two decades.
Their unique approach involves injecting small amounts of endotoxin— a component of bacteria that triggers the immune system's response. This controlled infection model serves as a valuable tool for lead researchers Peter Pickkers and Matthijs Kox, to study the immune system's dynamics and enhance ICU treatment.
This research is what sparked the now famous 2014 endotoxin study with Wim Hof, which overthrew the notion that we cannot voluntarily influence our immune system response.
Sepsis is when the immune response goes haywire, leading to widespread inflammation and potentially damaging organs. The results of the 2014 study revealed that with Wim Hof Method practice, the immune response could be suppressed, thus making it an effective countermeasure to sepsis.
The relevance of Pickkers’ and Kox’ research has heightened in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, as severe cases of the virus often manifest as sepsis. The researchers are now exploring the impact of sepsis on the brain, investigating inflammation and potential connections to conditions like dementia.
As the team continues to push the boundaries of medical research, the intentional induction of illness in healthy volunteers, coupled with the insights from Wim Hof's participation, has not only expanded our understanding of sepsis but also contributed to advancements in ICU care.
This article is based an original publication from Radboud (in Dutch).