Did you say, 'poop?'

By Liz Braun, Postmedia Network

First posted: Saturday, February 25, 2017 11:49 AM EST | Updated: Saturday, February 25, 2017 12:15 PM EST

TORONTO - One way to achieve health is to improve a person’s microbiota via fecal transfer. Fecal Microbiota Transplant or FMT involves giving a recipient fecal bacteria from a healthy person to introduce healthy bacterial flora and fight disease.

It is a particularly efficient way to combat antibiotic resistant C Diff — Clostridium difficile — and is being studied as a solution to other diseases, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

“Fecal transfer has been around a long, long time,” says Dr. Finlay. “The Chinese used to put feces in jars and let it ferment, and then use ‘yellow water’ as a way of treating diarrhea, thousands of years ago. In (Western) medicine, interest started up again in the 1950s.”

After a major Dutch study proved that fecal transfer cured C Diff, says Finlay,

“We knew that changing microbes actually works for a life-threatening disease, and I think that was a major turning point in the whole field, medically. Now there are many different trials going on — for autism, for IBS — but in all those other diseases, the results are a bit more mixed...I think in future we’ll get away from fecal transfer and will actually get to defined microbe cultures. And this is being done for C Diff already. They called it ‘repoopulate’, they put in 20 odd microbes they grew in the lab, and it worked in these two patients.

“The other thing to stress about fecal transfers — despite the amazingly hilarious youtube ads about DIYs,” says Finlay, “is that this is something you should not do yourself! If you perforate your gut you will die. And it’s a body fluid transfer and we’ve learned with (Hepatitis) and HIV and other things that we just don’t necessarily know what’s in body fluids. The sooner we can get away from fecal flurries into defined cultures of microbes — you know exactly what you’re putting into a person —the better off we’re going to be.”

— Liz Braun

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