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posted by janrinok on Monday December 05, @03:01AM   Printer-friendly
from the poop dept.

For the first time, the US Food and Drug Administration has granted approval for a feces-based microbial treatment, which is used to prevent a recurring diarrheal infection that can become life-threatening.

The approval, announced Wednesday, is years in the making. Researchers have strained to harness the protective qualities of the complex, diverse, yet variable microbial communities found in healthy people's intestines and stool. Early on, rich fecal matter proved useful for restoring balance and blocking infection in those whose microbiomes have been disturbed—a state called dysbiosis, which can occur from disease and/or use of antibiotic drugs. But, our understanding of what makes a microbiome healthy, functional, and protective remains incomplete.

Doctors, meanwhile, pushed ahead, informally trying an array of methods to transplant fecal microbiota from healthy donors to the guts of patients—via enemas, tubes through the nose, and oral poop-packed capsules. Fecal microbiota transplants (FMTs) have been used to treat various ailments, from obesity to irritable bowel syndrome, to mixed success. But it quickly became apparent that FMTs were most readily effective at preventing recurrent infection from Clostridioides difficile (C. difficile or just C. diff).

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  • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 05, @03:35AM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 05, @03:35AM (#1281214)

    I use Seirogan [] from time to time. My son brings it to me from Japan. The FDA advises against its use [], but I've not had any trouble with it.

    It has a very strong odor and must be stored sealed in a mason jar.

    Not sure I've ever had an "unshakeable" case, but its done the trick for whatever I've had.

    Do your own research.

    • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 05, @06:01AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 05, @06:01AM (#1281222)
      But why'd you care what the Philippine's FDA says? Are they really that reputable for such stuff?
      • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 05, @06:48AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 05, @06:48AM (#1281229)

        Good catch. I missed that. My intent was to warn folks that, while this is a common medication employed in Japan, it may or may not be available or legal to acquire in other countries. I looked for an online warning and found that one. Let me repeat - do your own research. I stumbled over this medication almost completely by accident and it works for me. I cannot nor am I qualified to prescribe it to others, but I am free to report treatments I have followed. As far as anyone reading here knows, this stuff may be as worthless as horse-paste. It might, however, be preferable to the treatment described in TFA in some situations.

        Beyond this, I had wanted to note that severe diarrhea can be a side-effect of using strong antibiotics which kill not only infectious bacteria but also intestinal flora and fauna. Such diarrhea might become a unshakeable problem in a hospital situation and in such a case the treatment of restoring said flora and fauna might make perfect sense, so it is good to see that a workable and FDA approved solution is being pursued.

        I have no reason to believe that the FDA of the Philippines is any more incompetent than ours in USA. Don't get me started about mercurochrome.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 06, @09:23AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 06, @09:23AM (#1281374)

      If you don't want accurate, objective and informative comments about existing treatments for diarrhea, which are neither off-topic nor flamebait, then don't run articles about diarrhea treatments. It's really quite easy.

  • (Score: 2) by ilPapa on Monday December 05, @04:13AM (4 children)

    by ilPapa (2366) on Monday December 05, @04:13AM (#1281217) Journal

    Just no.

    I'm putting capsules filled with feces in the same file as Neuralink brain implants.

    You are still welcome on my lawn.
    • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 05, @06:08AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 05, @06:08AM (#1281223)

      The target market are desperate enough.

      Go figure the amount of suffering some must have had to resort to putting someone else's poop in their body: []

      There's plenty of evidence it works. It's just hard to standardize poop as a medical treatment. After all even the same person doesn't keep producing the same poop.

      Similar situation for phage therapy.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Freeman on Monday December 05, @05:07PM

      by Freeman (732) on Monday December 05, @05:07PM (#1281285) Journal

      People with vomiting and diarrhea that just won't stop, are very desperate people. Poop capsules, enemas, literally anything to make it stop. Then again, I remember being awfully sick the last time I got bouts of both. In the event that taking a pill could possibly cure me, even a poop filled capsule. I would definitely be on board.

      Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"
    • (Score: 3, Informative) by Immerman on Monday December 05, @05:30PM

      by Immerman (3985) on Monday December 05, @05:30PM (#1281290)

      This is actually a wonderful step, long overdue. Fecal transplants have been used to incredible effect in the lab for decades now as something approaching a miracle cure for some kinds of persistent intestinal problems, with no significant side effects.

      It originates from the growing recognition that our intestines host a diverse ecosystem of symbiotic microbes on which our health relies. It's so important in fact that roughly half the sugars in human breast milk can't be digested by human babies, but instead feed the symbiotic microbes as they establish their colonies.

      And just like a macroscopic ecosystem, if that intestinal ecosystem gets too badly disrupted it can collapse to the point that it can no longer recover on its own. Especially not in a world where virtually everyone practices a level of cleanliness impossible in the world we evolved for. If you're not regularly getting a little shit in your diet, then your body has no way to replace lost species. Until a few hundred years ago that was never really a problem, quite the opposite in fact, since a whole lot of diseases evolved to transmit that way.

      So now we've developed a much safer way to do what used to happen unavoidably - transplanting a chunk of healthy gut microbiome into someone whose own has collapsed. By doing so in a controlled manner, using donors who have been screened for infectious diseases, its possible to get a supercharged version of the natural method, without the accompanying risk of disease.

    • (Score: 2) by istartedi on Monday December 05, @07:07PM

      by istartedi (123) on Monday December 05, @07:07PM (#1281302) Journal

      This is not that. This is more like a blood transfusion. The only difference is that we don't understand how it works because we haven't isolated key components. There may also be an "entourage effect"--something the cannabis community has been harping on for years, so it's interesting to see the mainstream medical system acknowledge it. Essentially, it may be necessary for you to have a concoction of hundreds ore even thousands of chemicals and/or microbes in order for the therapy to work. It may also work differently depending on what's already in your system. This is way too much to sort out for our established drug approval process which is almost always based on isolating *ONE* compound and testing it. It works so well though, that they just have to accept it.

  • (Score: 0, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 05, @07:07AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 05, @07:07AM (#1281230)

    I wonder if these patients considered eating less McDonalds and sugar ice buns and double creamy beef burrito? I'm not denying them their right to die of ass cancer but let's try the basics first.

    • (Score: 2) by Magic Oddball on Tuesday December 06, @08:10AM

      by Magic Oddball (3847) on Tuesday December 06, @08:10AM (#1281372) Journal

      That wouldn't help with the main thing that the treatment is meant to handle, which is recurrent c. diff infections:

      C. diff bacteria cause diarrhea and significant inflammation in the colon. Severe infections can be life-threatening. In people with dysbiosis, C. diff can proliferate in the intestines, producing toxins that can lead to organ failure. Older people, those who are hospitalized, and people with weakened immune systems are particularly susceptible to C. diff, which can recur over and over in some vulnerable patients. In the US, C. diff infections are associated with up to 30,000 deaths per year.