back to article The next big thing in medical science: POO TRANSPLANTS

This is an article that some readers, particularly those of a fainter-hearted disposition, might want to avoid. It’s about a big movement that some people might find a tad distasteful. For those of a more intrepid nature: we’re going to be looking at something called “microbiome” and the impact this is having in a wide range …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sterility, the modern scourge!

    Could it be that a more sterile life is leading to various conditions?

    1. PleebSmash
      1. Ledswinger Silver badge

        Re: Sterility, the modern scourge!

        "being too clean can impair the skins ability to heal"

        My skin will be bullet proof then.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Sterility, the modern scourge!

          Re: Ledswinger

          You too, huh?

          1. phil dude
            Boffin

            Re: Sterility, the modern scourge!

            clean != sterile

            Biochem 101

            P.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Sterility, the modern scourge!

              "more sterile" != actually sterile

              grammar 101

  2. Conundrum1885
    Coffee/keyboard

    A while back

    There was a "brown ribbon day" to promote FMT.

    Also relevant, this technique has been used since antiquity by rabbit and cavy owners to "fix" a sick rabbit with gut related problems.

    The trick it seems is to use the right kind of pellet and feed it to the rabbit a piece at a time, repeating every day until it improves.

    Seems to work a lot better than antibiotics for the same reason, in fact the latest consensus is that the problem was caused by excessive use of antibiotics in farm animals and for treating colds and flu without first finding out if the secondary infection was even responsive.

    There's even a name for the FMT delivery method:- Crapsules.

    1. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: A while back

      Well, a big dose of antibiotics will kill off a lot of your gut fauna, so it's entirely possible it could cause digestive problems.

    2. Wzrd1

      Re: A while back

      Been used for thousands of years to treat diarrhea diseases, including cholera.

      Bedouins were known to pop camel droppings to treat diarrhea, to good effect and such usage was documented and revived interest in the practice, way back in WWI.

  3. fridaynightsmoke
    Holmes

    Sewerage workers

    I always assumed that the brave folk who wade through the turds of millions every day would be carriers of every disease going; but it seems that they may be invulnerable SUPERMEN!

    So, is anyone doing a study on them? Are the workers down at the shit farm living to 100?

    And, I can see a superhero origin story here.

    1. PleebSmash
      Childcatcher

      Re: Sewerage workers

      The problem there is that the aggregate of everyone's pee and poo water contains pathogens, which are apparently screened out in the NON-DIY POOP REVERSALS.

      Sanitation is a pretty cool story.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sewerage workers

      Septc Man - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2574666/

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sewerage workers

      "I can see a superhero origin story here"

      Don't let Septic Man team up with any sentient urinal cakes, they'll nullify each other...

    4. oldcoder

      Re: Sewerage workers

      What? You missed the Toxic Avenger?

  4. malle-herbert Silver badge
    Joke

    This gives a whole new meaning to the words :

    Shiat happens !

  5. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
    Boffin

    Gut feeling

    Factor in the high concentration of neurons lining the gut that some researchers have dubbed the "second brain" and our "inner worm" shapes up as a driver of both wellbeing and, possibly, behaviour.

    1. tojb
      Boffin

      Re: Gut feeling

      Gut to brain transfer of some kind of pathogen via neurons (often very long for single cells) has been put forward as part of the etiology of Parkinson's. I didn't realise that there was any specially strong gut-brain connection relative to lungs-brain or whatever, do you have some links or pointers so that I can follow it up?

  6. Banksy

    Disgusting?

    I don't consider this disgusting at all. It's a really interesting area and shows yet again how poor our medical science is in some fields.

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Re: Disgusting?

      This is certainly an area without much research until recently, but it is fair to say that throughout most of our history the more sterile the environment the better off we were, so it is not surprising it took us a while to catch on to this.

  7. David Roberts Silver badge
    Joke

    Anti rejection drugs?

    Gives a whole new take on transplant anti-rejection drugs.

    You're going to do what???

    Here, try some of this.

    WHOAH! Heavy - let's eat some shit!

  8. jake Silver badge

    In other words ...

    ... eating live food and snogging your partner's nether regions has health benefits.

    I'm fairly certain we've know this (or at least the basics) for about 100 years.

  9. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    Gut ... er journalism?

    Sorry - I couldn't resist that ... but this is old news - the practice is ancient and works well, why do you think mothers chew food for their babies? Sure, our "modern" world frowns on such simple medicine but the fact is, it works.

    It would have been a more interesting story if you'd followed up on the resistance to this type of research from the FDA and medical professions in the USA and other countries. Another interesting angle on this is that a hookworm infection can apparently cure hay-fever.

    http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2010/may/23/parasitic-hookworm-jasper-lawrence-tim-adams

    1. P. Lee Silver badge

      Re: Gut ... er journalism?

      It starts earlier than mothers chewing food for the babies - at birth IIRC.

    2. Ian Emery Silver badge

      Re: Gut ... er journalism?

      At the modern technological stage, these transplants have been taking place for a number of years, so why the sudden headlines - quiet day???

    3. teebie

      Re: Gut ... er journalism?

      "the practice is ancient" has mixed results - the precursors to aspirin have been used since Hippocrates' time, but so were treatments based on the 4 humours.

      Of course, if something seems to work it's good to know that it actually does work, and why (like discovering it isn't the surgery that fixes stomach ulcers, but the antibiotics given afterwards)

    4. airbrush

      Re: Gut ... er journalism?

      You can listen to Jaspers story here, its fascinating : http://www.radiolab.org/story/91691-sculptors-of-monumental-narrative/

  10. Michael Habel Silver badge

    What a shitty Article

    This article stinks... There it had to be said...

    1. Michael Habel Silver badge

      Re: What a shitty Article

      Actually now that I think about it... Some more....

      It brings a whole new meaning to the Phrase: "Taking a Dump". As in I'm gonna go take a Dump. Which I never really understood... Surely it should be leaving a Dump... I mean why would you want to take it for?

  11. Tom 7 Silver badge

    I was a stick insect for most of my early life

    I could (and did) eat anything and drink as much as I could and never put on an ounce. After a course of vicious antibiotics I ballooned. Spent years fighting it to no avail. I now have a dog and I think the little bastard licking my face after licking his arse has done the trick though it could be the long walks to the pub!

    1. Duffy Moon

      Re: I was a stick insect for most of my early life

      Perhaps the dog has just given you a nice infestation of parasites and now you don't absorb as much nutrition?

  12. RumRunner

    I'm starting an eBay shop selling my poo.

    Guaranteed top quality. Hardly stinks. Best prices.

    1. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: I'm starting an eBay shop selling my poo.

      eBay? peeBay, surely? It's only next door.

  13. Cipher
    Facepalm

    Really?

    Eat shit for health?

    I thought the old saying was "Eat shit and die."

    1. Big John Silver badge

      Re: Really?

      Yes, but then there's "shit-eating grin..."

  14. Johnny Canuck

    Coprophagia

    Perhaps people who indulge in coprophagia are actually responding to their bodies instinktual need for healthier microbiota.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Eat shi!t and...

      oh, alright then.

    2. Rambler

      Re: Coprophagia

      and maybe those two girls with that one cup, were actually medical students engaged in vital research ?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re. Coprophagia

    Maybe that explains 2g1c then .. DIY FMT ?

    Pretty sure I saw something else about this on FB, involving a syringe and a blender. And the fascist admins took it down!

    Still if £2 worth of empty capsules and a donor turd can cure C difficile in vivo which normally requires multiple courses of $600 a dose vancomycin to even make a dent, then no wonder it was taken down.

    Gotta protect Big Pharma's investments and all that.

    1. Omgwtfbbqtime Silver badge

      Re: Re. Coprophagia

      Are you sure it wasn't a turkey baster?

  16. Eric Olson

    The less yucky transplant is here...

    Here in the states, they've successfully taken healthy, um.... donations, screen them, get rid of the useless bits, freeze them, then deposit it into many-layered glycerin capsules that can be taken orally, no enema or GI tube needed. This allowed the bacteria make it to the intestines unmolested by the stomach acids and enzymes that often spell death to bacteria.

    Now, I think it was something like 15 capsules a day, and the capsules are pretty large... but that seems preferable to aspirating fecal matter through a GI tube or going through a colonoscopy.

    Source: NPR

  17. Rol Silver badge

    About my pay rise

    "You're not going to thank me immediately for this, but I'm gonna have to shit in your mouth to rule out a medical condition for refusing my pay rise"

  18. Christian Berger Silver badge

    We'll need to wait for studies

    However unlike other pseudo medical treatments this actually could be plausible.

    What we need now are decent quality studies.

    And no, even if this can be a treatment to certain conditions, it doesn't mean that sanitation isn't one of the greatest achievements in health care. The situations where you have to little bacteria in your guts are rare, for example after a long treatment of antibiotics. Normally we all have a decent amount of gut bacteria. The gut normally regulates itself rather well.

  19. Diogenes
    Boffin

    Koalas do it

    Koalas do not naturally digest gum leaves - gut bacteria break them down & the koalas absorb the byproduct as nutrients.

    Mum koala, when she is ready to wean her young, poops a special poop that is very high in the appropriate gut bacteria & the young climbs round the back and consumes same, and thus gets the bacteria & can start on those oh so yummy gum leaves (note the old urban legend about them being drunk is false , the leaves are so low in nutrients they conserve energy by sleeping 20 hours a day)

    Then one is also reminded of the story that kissing came about because in pre knife days mum chewed the food to make it easier for young immature teeth & jaws to handle, and start the digestion process

  20. ricardoscotland
    Coat

    It seems time and again 4 billions years of evolution finds the best answer, I'd rather take a crap capsule than antibiotics for a desired outcome (in theory anyway).

    Surely "who gives a shit" will be the perfect slogan for marketing to donors...

  21. DocJames
    Headmaster

    C.diff treatment

    So having being involved in the treatment of some patients, I feel the need to state a couple of facts:

    1) faecal transplants are for prevention of relapse, at which they are very effective. Without the preceeding course of antibiotics for the C.diff, you will not cure it (or at least are unlikely to do so).

    2) route doesn't matter as success is ~90% with all routes: capsules (expensive), NG tube (faecalent belching), UGIE (expensive, belching again), colonoscopy (expensive, possibly very expensive if you can't get the ports unblocked and bin $1000 kit following a procedure, time consuming), enema (simple, cheap). You'll guess the route we use locally. It is of surprise to our dept which sees foolish doctors colleagues around the world using complex and difficult procedures rather than quick cheap ones. In infection control we spend our days trying to stop between 1-100 bacteria getting into the gut; in faecal transplant if you squirt in 10-50ml enema with 10^10-10^12 bacteria/ml, you seem to have a larger number...

    3) this procedure is inevitably described as "icky" or similar. It is always welcomed by patients, as C.diff is seriously unpleasant. The ick factor is experienced by the doctors/relatives/readers of websites.

    4) there are many many crazy people out there, claiming many many crazy things. Let's not attribute magic powers to faecal transplants: I remain sceptical about correlation v causation for obesity, weight loss, etc. "Further trials are needed..." and Crohns: definitely not. Sorry.

    Finally, what medical school did the author attend if he is not capable of using Linnean binomials correctly? It's Clostridium difficile. Capital, small. Hence icon...

  22. elitejedimaster
    Holmes

    I've actually observed a fecal transplant procedure in the hospital in which I work. It was to a patient with C. diff, and apart from the discomfort of the nasogastric tube, went very well. It takes just a few minutes to complete, and the patient gets no icky taste of poo, because the tube is placed into the duodenum (initial part of small intestine for those not medically inclined). A rather interesting procedure, actually.

    1. DocJames
      Stop

      Sadly faecalent belching is still reported from duodenal insertion. And can I ask how was anyone sure the NG in the duodenum? (NJ route also reports occasional problems, but then that's additional complexity for not much improvement.)

  23. Happy Ranter

    My boss can be a donor

    He is full of s**t but I suspect most of it will be useless

  24. Crisp Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    The Scrubs musical episode was right!

    Everything does come down to poo!

  25. Friendly Neighbourhood Coder Dan
    Joke

    RIM jobs good for those who still have one?

    GPs suggesting their patients to watch and be inspired by "The human centipede" and "Two girls one cup", saving the NHS billions of pounds?

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