Thursday, July 17, 2014

Another Fecal Transplant article

Not a new article, but another reason to think seriously about fecal transplants as potential cure for hard-to-diagnose multi-systemic problems.

From The Scientist
Same Poop, Different Gut

For physicians and researchers alike, fecal transplants present an opportunity to gain insight into disease

By | November 3, 2010

 Most people might find the idea of having another person's feces injected into their intestine hard to stomach, but for those with intractable gastrointestinal problems, another person's bodily waste is all that's standing between a lifetime of severe illness and a full recovery.

Image: siteflight via stock.xchng

This therapy—known as fecal transplants, bacteriotherapy, or human probiotic infusions—has taken to the limelight in recent years, not only because its gross factor makes for great headlines, but in great part because of the growing epidemic of a particularly toxic strain of Clostridium difficile that has been plaguing hospitals across the U.S. for the past decade and affecting more than a quarter of a million Americans per year. By producing sturdy spores that can linger in the intestinal tract even after repeated antibiotic treatment, C. difficile can continually give rise to new toxin-producing colonies that wreak havoc on the colon.

But these colonies prove no match for fecal transplants, which boast a cure rate of up to 95 percent. At the heart of these transplants are the trillions of microbes that inhabit the gut and have a profound impact on the host's biology—for better or worse. As Australian gastroenterologist, Thomas Borody, jokingly puts it, "we are 10 percent human, 90 percent poo."

Borody did his first fecal transplant back in the mid 1980s, when he was confronted with one of the most difficult cases he had seen at the time: a woman who had vacationed at Fiji and had developed an incurable colitis through an unknown pathogen. While searching the literature for alternative treatments, he stumbled upon a paper published in 1958 in the journal Surgery that described four cases in which a similar condition was cured by infusing the inflamed guts of the patients with fecal samples from healthy donors. "So I looked at the method and I kind of made up the rest of it," Borody said.

The rest of the story is here:

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