Tuesday, January 06, 2015

fecal transplants

nice new fad. blame everything on microbiome. alzheimers. diabetes. whatever.

Fecal transplantation—or fecal microbiota transplant (FMT)—can be a hard concept to stomach, but given the procedure's success and despite recent regulatory interference, it appears to be here to stay. FMT has a nearly 90% cure rate for patients with Clostridium difficile infection, far higher than that of antibiotic therapies. Many initial FMT attempts involved physician- or patient-prepared enemas and colonoscopic transplantations. Thankfully, researchers and industry are developing more palatable and convenient approaches to FMT, including orally administered frozen fecal capsules and stool banks. Therapies aimed at restoring the gut microbiome show promise in numerous other conditions too. Microbial imbalance in the gastrointestinal tract has been implicated in conditions as diverse as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and even disorders of the brain. Both autism and multiple sclerosis have recently been associated with altered gut flora profiles.

Calling All (Healthy) Stool
The increasing popularity of FMT has brought with it a demand for stool. However, screening fecal donors and processing stool can be arduous. Enter stool banks, such as OpenBiome. Colleen R. Kelly, MD, assistant professor of medicine at Brown University's Warren Alpert Medical School in Providence, Rhode Island, told Medscape Medical News, "OpenBiome has shown that they can provide material to a large number of clinicians and researchers at a reasonable cost ($250 per dose). This is very advantageous for patients, who may not be able to identify a suitable donor, and for physicians, who may spend hours on the donor identification/screening process." It's arguably safer as well. "They monitor donors carefully at and between donations, quarantine all material for 30 days until donors can be rescreened, and preserve safety aliquots on all material," she said. Institutions are also setting up their own stool banks.
sent from samsung galaxy note, so please excuse brevity


Sujeev said...

Off Topic:

Just noticed this article in the NY Times poking fun at Astrology.


I had an intuitive feeling that such an article was going to appear sooner or later, and I wonder what would be good enough proof of the acceptance of Astrology as a science for everyone?

Here is a possible scenario, and my question is how should Hindus react if it unfolds as outlined below?

Insurance companies across the world suddenly start noticing that Hindus are getting huge payouts after paying premiums for only a short while. A little bit of digging on their part, and they figure out that Hindus are taking out huge insurance policies of various sorts just before astrological predictions of bad times. So they file suit to start denying payouts to Hindus who took out big insurance policies based on their horoscope, and start modifying their policies for Hindus so that the policies come into effect only beyond the predicted bad period.

In such a scenario should Hindus keep quiet, and accept a court verdict denying a Hindu's claim based on Astrology being recognized as a science, or should they fight the verdict insisting they should not be discriminated against by insurance companies because of Astrology?

I raised this issue with Rajiv Malhotra during the Intellectual Kshatriya workshop held in Toronto in August, 2014, but he brushed it off as a trivial one, and I was inclined to agree with him.

But the above article in the NY Times again got me wondering whether we need a court case filed by an insurance company denying a Hindu's claim to prove that Astrology is indeed a science.

Sujeev said...


Anyone wants to come to Astrology's defence? Anyone?