Rebuilding the bacteria species residing in the gut could help both Crohn’s disease and MS.
A study published in PLOS Biology reviewed the growing prevalence of fecal transplants, which has increased as a last resort treatment for certain infections found in the human gut.
Fecal transplants have shown success in treating Clostridium difficile colitis, and has shown preliminary evidence of the efficacy of stool transplantation from healthy individuals in order to treat Crohn’s disease and multiple sclerosis. “This research is just getting started,” said study author Seth Bordenstein. “It is driven by the new paradigm of the microbiome which recognizes that every plant and animal species harbors a collection of microbes that have significant and previously unrecognized effects on their host health, evolution, and behavior.”
There has been accompanying growth in fecal material being used in animal experiments. In one particular study, researchers found that fecal transplants from lean mice turned sterile mice into lean mice, while transplants from obese mice turned sterile mice into obese mice.
The use of fecal transplants to treat Clostridium difficile infections has a 95% cure rate, according to the study. “There is no doubt that poo can save lives,” Bordenstein said. “Right now fecal transplants are used as the treatment of last resort, but their effectiveness raises an important question: when will doctors start prescribing them, or some derivative, first?”
Healthy human stool contains an average of 100 billion bacteria per gram, but it also contains 100 million viruses and archaea per gram. Furthermore, there are approximately 10 million colonocytes and a million yeasts, and other single-celled fungi per gram.
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