http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/17/health/disgusting-maybe-bu...When Pills Fail, This, er, Option Provides a CureBy DENISE GRADYNew York Times: January 16, 2013 ...C. difficile [Clostridium difficile, an anaerobic bacterium] is a global problem. Increasingly toxic strains have emerged in the past decade. In the United States, more than 300,000 patients in hospitals contract C. difficile each year, and researchers estimate that the total number of cases, in and out of hospitals, may be three million. Treatment costs exceed $1 billion a year....This stubborn and debilitating infection kills 14,000 people a year in the United States. The infection is usually caused by antibiotics, which can predispose people to C. difficile by killing normal gut bacteria. If patients are then exposed to C. difficile, which is common in many hospitals, it can take hold.The usual treatment involves more antibiotics, but about 20 percent of patients relapse, and many of them suffer repeated attacks, with severe diarrhea, vomiting and fever. ...Transplanting feces from a healthy person into the gut of one who is sick can quickly cure severe C. difficile infection. It involves diluting stool with a liquid, like salt water, and then pumping it into the intestinal tract via an enema, a colonoscope or a tube run through the nose into the stomach or small intestine.Stool can contain hundreds or even thousands of types of bacteria, and researchers do not yet know which ones have the curative powers. So for now, feces must be used pretty much intact. ... [end quote]Western culture has a well-founded disgust for feces, since many deadly infections are spread by fecal contamination. However, new research shows that 90% of the cells in the human body are actually non-human -- they are tiny bacteria, virus and fungal cells that are called the "microbiome" and defend us against pathogens. The inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis result from alterations in intestinal microbes and the immune system. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microbiomehttp://dnaresearch.oxfordjournals.org/content/16/1/1.abstrac...http://genomebiology.com/2012/13/9/R79The new research described in the New York Times article shows that fecal transplantation with a healthy person's feces into a person with a person with a C. difficile infection is far more effective than continued treatment with antibiotics.Notice the "medicalization" of this procedure -- the desire to process the feces to isolate the active ingredient and the insistence that it be classified as a drug and done by a doctor. In fact, this is one procedure that can easily be done at home. All you need is a healthy donor who can contribute feces, a food processor and an enema bag.The most difficult part is overcoming psychological disgust for this natural, free cure for a life-threatening infection.Wendy
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