Last year, we put out a podcast called “The Power of Poop,” which looked at the use of fecal transplants (a.k.a. “transpoosions”) to treat everything from multiple sclerosis to Parkinson’s disease. A fascinating Scientific American article explores how gut bacteria may have even further-reaching functions:
In the past few years scientists have been discovering that these microscopic inhabitants of our body may be subtly altering our moods, emotions and perhaps even our personalities. Gut microbiota appear to alter gene activity in the brain and the development of key regions involved in memory and learning. These denizens of our intestines could help explain why psychiatric symptoms vary among individuals, as well as their responses to medications. Gut microbes could also account for some of the differences in mood, personality and thought processes that occur within and among individuals.
(HT: Market Design)
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 …).
Might want to carry your Purell to the ATM from now on. A new study finds that the numeric keypads on London ATMs are as bacteria-contaminated as the seats of public restrooms. Read More »
You know those reusable cloth bags that environmentally-conscious shoppers proudly tote to the grocery store? It turns out they may be making you sick. Read More »
Evidence that any publicity can be good publicity: Reading this story about an E. coli outbreak in the pepperoni on Totino’s pizzas reminded me of my 20-year love affair with Totino’s. Why haven’t I been eating them lately? I will have to get some immediately. Maybe I’ll start with the sausage pizza, though. Read More »