Fun Science Fact

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Anyone up for a fecal transplant (insert tasteless joke here)? Medical professionals have pursued these transplants as a way to help patients with recurring infections of Clostridium difficile infection (CDI). This is an infection of the gut which can be difficult to cure with antibiotics, and in fact, may be caused by high doses of antibiotics which kill the body’s good bacteria along with the bad.

A recent article in the Quad City Times (June 27, 2014) detailed the difficulties of one woman suffering from her seventh round of CDI. She visited the bathroom 20 to 30 times a day and made multiple trips to the hospital due to dehydration. A fecal transplant with donor material from her husband cured her CDI within a day.

Currently, most places restrict fecal donors to family members, but researchers are looking into the safety of using banked stool from other donors. These fecal transplants appear to restore healthy microbes into the guts of the patients. The Mayo Clinic claims to have a 90 percent cure rate from the procedure. That’s an amazing—if somewhat yucky—statistic.

References: http://www.mayoclinic.org/medical-professionals/clinical-updates/digestive-diseases/quick-inexpensive-90-percent-cure-rate, Quad City Times, June 27, 2014, Associated Press, “Is Human Waste an Experimental Drug? FDA grapples with oversight of fecal transplants.”

Photo Credit: ID 24636807 © Massimo De Candido | Dreamstime.com
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