Science News

Alternatives needed to do-it-yourself feces swaps

"Already, instructions for home transplants are available online, with YouTube videos promoting the use of feces from friends and family. “Some have even approached us for advice about using their pets as donors,”  write microbiologist Mark Smith and bioengineer Eric Alm, both at MIT, and gastroenterologist Colleen Kelly of Brown University. Dog poop probably isn’t going to cure you of much, since dogs carry different bacteria than people do, and home procedures with pet or human stool can be dangerous, as I discussed previously. Not to mention that a home enema may not even get the microbes far enough into the digestive tract to be useful in many cases.

On the other hand, people are legitimately eager to treat their serious conditions with a method that has shown success rates of 90 percent and better in published trials treating C. difficile, a bacterium that causes severe diarrhea."

Here's the full piece.

Introducing the first bank of feces

Erika Engelhaupt, an editor at Science News and writer for the magazine's Gory Details blog, provides a synopsis of OpenBiome in a post on February 12.  The following line captures the piece:

"A new nonprofit called OpenBiome is hoping to do for fecal transplants what blood banks have done for transfusions. It’s a kind of Brown Cross."

We loved the new moniker!  In her piece, Erika also suggests that stool banks could provide an important alternative to the risky practice of at-home treatments. The full post is here