More Fecal Transplants Coming Your Way!

(Digital Vision)

The podcast we put out a few months ago called “The Power of Poop” continues to draw incredulous e-mails. In a nutshell: throughout civilization, human feces has posed considerable health hazards; when it gets into the water supply, for instance, a lot of bad things can happen. But in recent years, a variety of medical researchers, many of them gastroenterologists, have pushed for a greater understanding of poop, and have made some startling discoveries. Among them: fecal transplants (yes, you read that right) seem to provide substantial medical benefit for several maladies.

So it’s always nice to see fecal transplants in the news, as in this report from Tampa about a woman who was suffering from Clostridium difficile and had her health apparently restored by a “transpoosion” (although the method of the transplant in this case was, I have to say, much harder to stomach than the transplants we covered in the podcast — so you might not want to open the link if you’re eating …).

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  1. Sarah says:

    Yuck

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  2. L says:

    I think I saw a demonstration video online. Horrid memory that I try to block out, but images these two girls and a cup haunt me.

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  3. Mike K says:

    Forty years ago, we treated antibiotic resistant bacteria in the colon by giving the patient a dose of antibiotic sensitive E. coli in a malted milkshake. The sensitive bacteria would replace the resistant bacteria in a day or so. Our theory, or that of my professor who devised the treatment, was that “wild” or sensitive bacteria are better adapted to the normal colon environment. Antibiotic resistant bacteria can only take over when the sensitive bacteria are killed off by antibiotics, as when a patient has been treated for an infection like diverticulitis. When the antibiotics are stopped, the normal sensitive bacteria will quickly oust the resistant ones which are less adapted for life in a normal colon. All that is necessary is to provide a dose of the normal wild bacteria.

    In the County Hospital, we used the same method although we did not have the nicety of cultured sensitive bacteria. We would take a fecal sample from a healthy patient coming in for hernia surgery, for example, and give it to the patient in a milkshake.

    Needless to say that none of the patients were ever told the extra ingredient of the milk shake.

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  4. Browntown says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  5. brandon says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  6. Michael says:

    What will we think of next?

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  7. Ryan Koch @ Health Matters to Me says:

    I think it’s wonderful that people are finally beginning to see the incredible usefulness of fecal transplants in curing many of the modern day maladies we deal with. I myself did a homemade version of a fecal transplant for chronic constipation and bloating, even going so far as using the methods described by Mike — mixing the donor’s poo with milk and guzzling it down. Although it was a fascinating adventure in bettering my health, my conclusion was that nothing changed, good or bad (besides a very temporary relief of my symptoms). It was impressive to me that I could literally eat sh*t and not die!

    I wrote about this experience and other intestinal explorations on my blog: http://www.ryan-koch.blogspot.com

    There is also a great resource available on the Healing Well forum about others’ home and hospital transplant experiences, as well as thoughts and questions on the subject: http://www.healingwell.com/community/default.aspx?f=38&m=1612467

    I hope this “fringe” therapy gets more positive publicity. Thanks, Freakonomics for getting the word out!

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  8. Howard L says:

    A fecal transplant (FT) pretty much saved my uncle’s life. He had the C. diff colitis infection and was in progressive decline. About 3 days after the FT he started feeling normal again…. get the word out!

    Even Stephen Colbert reported on this new procedure… check it out here: http://fecaltransplant.info/fecal-transplant-therapy-mentioned-on-the-colbert-report/
     
    Visit my advocacy blog for more information at http://fecaltransplant.info

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