Fecal Transplants to Cure Disease?

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rhody
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Interesting article: Atlantic Monthly
If his four-year-old daughter gets sick again, Chris Gorski will take a drastic step. He will collect some of his own stool, strain it, and then transfer it into his daughter's body. This procedure -- known as a fecal transplant -- has been shown to help people like Chris's daughter Maya. Meanwhile, other patients and scientists hope that this bizarre transplant might work as medicine for a range of diseases, from asthma to MS.

and...

Gorski contacted the doctors at Mass General and begged them to see his daughter. No response. He tried other doctors around the country -- no luck. Then one gastroenterologist -- whose hospital had barred him from performing the operation on a child -- agreed to help. The doctor taught Gorski how to perform the procedure at home.

Now, Gorski says, "I'm getting my stool and blood tested to make sure that I don't carry any pathogens. That way I'll be prepared, if the time comes and I need to donate my bacteria to Maya."

Gorski's plan may sound medieval, but in fact he is at the forefront of a revolution. We are about to enter the era of living medicines. Scientists in labs around the country are racing to identify the thousands of bacteria that live in our gut, and to figure out which of these species help human beings fight off disease. Ideally, they will be able to pick out the bugs that help our bodies ward off diabetes, or obesity, or asthma.

But such treatments still shimmer in the future. In the meantime, the best approximation we've got is, well, crap. A healthy person's poop teems with bacteria that keep his or her body running smoothly. Some patients believe that they're sick, in part, because they're missing crucial species of bacteria. Medical studies show they may be right -- childhood asthma and Crohn's disease, for instance, appear to be related to a disruption of the gut.

and...

A few years ago, a team of Canadian doctors published a study of patients who tried the at-home transplants. The research paper is unusual in that it includes detailed instructions for performing the DIY medical procedure. It's as if -- with a wink and a nod -- the scientists are urging patients, especially those who have been turned away from hospitals, to operate on themselves.

It's as if modern medicine, has a deep aversion to this approach to treating a family member (with safeguards in place). I say let medical scientists test and vet it, then, let the chips (pun intended) fall where they may.

Rhody....
 

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  • #3
rhody
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The "Similar Threads" links below show a thread about this from early 2011 with more info:

https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=467647
Thanks berkeman,

Dimly in the recesses of my mind I must have been aware of it, but I do find it odd that on 01/27/2011 a similar story was released and this one on 01/25/2011 by slate.com. Probably just a coincidence, right ?

Rhody...
 
  • #4
Pythagorean
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Re-establishing a healthy bacteria colony, I can believe. But curing MS I'm skeptical of.
 
  • #5
Moonbear
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Re-establishing a healthy bacteria colony, I can believe. But curing MS I'm skeptical of.

I agree. I've heard of doing it to repopulate necessary bacteria after treating C. Diff., at least in veterinary settings, but this sounds like it's being stretched too far beyond what evidence supports.
 

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