Perhaps this isn’t the most glamorous title for a post, and considering that I’ve posted twice before on this subject (see fecal pharma and more fecal findings!) it might be assumed that I have a fecal fixation. Let me assure you that despite everyone’s initial “yuck” factor reaction to these stories, they are quite fascinating and potentially life-changing.
As I’ve mentioned previously, our colon’s microbiome plays an essential role in the gut’s health and “happiness.” Disturbances to the tens of thousands of bacteria found in our bodies can have detrimental effects including the development of irritable bowel syndrome and ulcerative colitis. In order to restore gut homeostasis, a technique called fecal transplantation may be employed. Fecal transplantation involves collecting 200-300 grams of fecal matter from healthy donors, filtering out solid particulate, and reintroducing the remaining bacteria to the patient via a colonoscope, an enema or a naso-gastric tube.
A recent study out of the University of Chicago medical center looked at the attitudes and concerns raised by this approach. According to the study’s author, David Rubin, MD, associate professor of medicine at the University of Chicago:
Once patients get past the yuck factor they find the concept appealing. They perceive it as ‘natural,’ similar to probiotics. Patients with severe inflammatory bowel disease tend to develop a high tolerance for therapies that others might consider unorthodox.
Patients biggest concerns were that they were receiving transplants from healthy donors with healthy dietary habits. Furthermore, patients much preferred to receive the transplantation via colonoscopy or enema than through an oral NG route.
Here’s ABC News’ take on the subject:
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