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Medicine Biotech Science

Gut Bacteria Cocktail May End Need for Fecal Transplants 183

sciencehabit writes "A tonic of gut microbes may be the secret recipe for treating a common hospital scourge. Researchers have pinpointed the exact mix of microbes required to cure mice of chronic infection by Clostridium difficile. The hard-to-treat bacterium infects alomst 336,000 in the US each year and causes bloating, pain, & diarrhea. A similar bacterial cocktail may be able to replace the current controversial treatment involving the intake of a healthy person's fecal matter to restore the right balance of microbes in the gut."
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Gut Bacteria Cocktail May End Need for Fecal Transplants

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  • Um, ew (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I'd never heard of this before, and I still wish I hadn't.

  • by retroworks ( 652802 ) on Friday October 26, 2012 @09:34PM (#41785741) Homepage Journal
    Friday night entertainment
  • Not like any yogurt (Score:4, Informative)

    by Kurofuneparry ( 1360993 ) on Friday October 26, 2012 @09:38PM (#41785781)
    Med student here, just attended three meetings on this condition, and I've had a number of patients with this condition.

    This kind of treatment has been tested before and is an exciting possibility, but there have been failures in the past. Also, this is nothing like the yogurt cultures you know.

    ......... then again I'm an idiot .........

  • Insightful numbers (Score:5, Informative)

    by manu0601 ( 2221348 ) on Friday October 26, 2012 @09:43PM (#41785825)
    To get an idea of how gut bacteria are that important: we are made of about 10e13 human cells, and we contain 10e14 gut bacterial, for about 2 kg of mass. Let a subset of the gut bacteria population become hostile pathogens, and you see that we can easily be outnumbered by attackers.
    • by muridae ( 966931 ) on Friday October 26, 2012 @10:41PM (#41786207)

      Just had that happen to me. Multiple infections meant that in the last six months I have had every type of antibiotic available. Then, surgery to remove the source of the infections. Since I'd been exposed to every major branch of antibiotics, the bacteria in my gut was now resistant to all but the 'drugs of last resort'. So of course, some of that bacteria got out and started trashing my insides and the surgical incision.

      Scariest thing in the world to hear that the normal bacteria in your gut is now resistant to everything but Vanc, Streptomycin, and Linezolid; and that it's trying to chew it's way through your kidneys. Especially since those drugs of last resort almost all cause kidney damage.

      • by TheLink ( 130905 )

        Might have to move to Georgia: []

        • by muridae ( 966931 )
          Interesting thought, but last resort drugs seem to have worked. First time in months I haven't had a PICC line, and no sign of more drug resistant crap. But I'll keep that option in mind. Meanwhile, I'll keep daydreaming of ways that breeding resistant bacteria could give me superpowers. I'd make a good arch-nemisis.
      • Since I'd been exposed to every major branch of antibiotics, the bacteria in my gut was now resistant to all but the 'drugs of last resort'

        Note that antibiotic resistance would not be a problem if your immune system had been able to cope with your pathogen species.

        The disaster here may be caused by bacterial selection through antibiotics. In normal situations, gut bacteria fight each others near equilibrium, and your immune system just have to maintain the equilibrium by reducing species that are growing too much. Antibiotics wipe out entire chunks of gut bacteria diversity, creating situations where some resistant species do not have bacteria

        • by muridae ( 966931 )

          The original pathogen was not a gut bacteria. It was something a bit stranger than that, which I won't go into here. Regardless, the available treatment was 2 weeks of antibiotics which, because of flaws unknown at the time, only killed the apparent infection and not the 'cyst' it was hiding in. So the infection returned multiple times before surgery could be scheduled. And when JAMA articles suggest that the survival rate of treating this pathogen is only 25%, you take the antibiotics.

          But treatment with dr

  • by muhula ( 621678 ) on Friday October 26, 2012 @09:43PM (#41785827)
    Science is just starting to discover how the body as an ecosystem functions. We still have a lot of progress to make from wiping out all bacteria and relying on broad-spectrum antibodies.

    The amazing thing about the bacterial ecosystem is how even different parts of your skin can be colonized by completely different types of bacteria, even just a few inches apart. There are symbiotic relationships just among the bacteria, and other bacteria which are several degrees removed from directly relying on our host bodies. It's a fascinating area of study, but one which is difficult, because it's impossible to isolate and study the bugs individually.
  • This one's better than another crappy MS slashvertisement though...
  • In regards to why anyone would need a shit transplant, I willfully remain ignorant. According to legend, there's a version of fecal transplant called a Happy Meal, which comes with free bread and sauce and a nice bag with some plastic item or something in it. It's said to be safe for children, but I'm no expert.
    • humbled by poo (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Penurious Penguin ( 2687307 ) on Friday October 26, 2012 @10:19PM (#41786071) Journal
      Hell, so it really is an actual treatment. I would never have surmised it. Pardon the crassness in the first sentence of my original comment, but it seemed ludicrous at first. Inadvertent education, ..who'd a thunk it.
    • Rather than further mod you to oblivion, I chose to leave both your initial reply, where you admit to willfully remaining ignorant on something you dismiss, and the followup where you actually admit to learn something.

      I think I like it better this way.

      • You almost sound like a creepy control freak. From my initial impression, I envisioned you having a new pair of trousers reserved for every set of mod-points you receive. Maybe you have a grudge for some reason, in which case I would recommend from experience "a mirror" as the best therapist. But that is probably my imagination getting carried away, so I dismiss it entirely and offer you the following instead:
        Regarding the dismissal of information, the comment was jocular; it was the wording, e.g. "Fecal
  • We had a son that was born at 23 weeks/0 days. Yea, that is 4 months premature. At this time (he turns 4 in December) the biggest problem he has is chronic issues with his gut. The odds are that he never got the correct mix of bacteria in his gut early on, because he was in a sterile environment when his body should have been getting mama milk and the crap that goes along with it. ;)

    This is good.

    • I remember encountering some research strongly supporting pre-biotics over pro-biotics. From my own experience, a blend of the two can be very effective. "Pro-biotics" are things such as kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, strains like lactobacillus, etc.
      "Pre-biotics" are, for example, raw garlic, raw onions, raw leeks, certain bitter raw leaves and so on. Kimchi seems to fit both profiles, to me, especially if made with green onions. When both are included in a regimented diet, a lot can happen. Another factor in
    • by i ( 8254 )

      Why don't You give him an enema with tiny bit of Your feces dissolved in (salt) water, about 0.1 - 0.2 liter. If You are healthy and have a good stomach health of course.
      Normally the babies gets these bacterias at birth from the mothers (unvoluntary) released feces. Unfortunately the idea of totally antiseptic birth have caused many of these problems.

  • by jd2112 ( 1535857 ) on Friday October 26, 2012 @10:10PM (#41786027)
    Do they call it a brain transplant?
  • this had to be green lighted at dinner time? Seriously.
  • No Shit! (Score:2, Informative)

    by fm6 ( 162816 )

    Come on, somebody had to say it!

  • Like I told my donor, "Get lost, buddy, I don't need your shit any more".

    Try the veal.

  • why bother with feces when you've got a good excuse to shoot an acidic coffee enema up your rectum? i hear its a better high than meth...

  • by Sentrion ( 964745 ) on Saturday October 27, 2012 @12:00AM (#41786605)

    A researcher once tried to test me. I ate his shit with some fava beans and a nice gut bacteria cocktail... (slurpslurp)

  • Wasn't some fucked up fantasy - it was a medical documentary!
  • []

    And it has been used medically in treatments for ages, I actually fail to see what is really that new with this(especially since the mouse microbiota is so fundamentally diffent from the human's), albeit it interesting.
    In this context it means that introducing a new bacteria to the gut microbiota that consumes a certain resource, starves other bacteria that lives on that resource.
    It is very useful, as literally hundreds of studies show.

    - begin rant

    • I actually fail to see what is really that new with this

      Reading is one thing, comprehending is another. For the first time, we know what can get rid of this very bad bug in a mammal, without using the previously accepted (and not at all controversial) fecal transplant when other antibiotics fail.

      Mouse or not, this gives a target to look for in humans. And assuming all of the ingredients are human-compatible, this should result in a good step towards curing a very painful and debilitating condition.

      The pr

  • Just doing this to clear a bad mod. Sorry... it's a shitty situation.
  • You're shitting me?!
  • by Eugenia Loli ( 250395 ) on Saturday October 27, 2012 @11:16AM (#41789225) Homepage Journal

    All what's needed is the patient making their own, home-made goat kefir (if they're not terribly allergic to dairy -- although even dairy allergies are a para-symptom of wheat allergy in reality). Kefir's 43 different bacteria and yeasts can kill CDiff, and it's being shown to do so in research (Minnesota university professor/doctor tried it recently too). But the kefir must be home-made (bottled ones don't include the full spectrum of bacteria/yeasts because of bottling regulations regarding alcohol the yeasts create), it must be from goat, sheep or buffalo milk (for less casein irritation, as the A2 casein is more compatible with humans), and it must be fermented for 24 hours (to minimize the amount of lactose ingested). Two-three cups a day of kefir (with a few berries in it, maybe with some pine and walnut nuts, also maybe with some raw, unfiltered and local honey too), and CDiff should be back in check within 3-4 days. No need for antibiotics, for pill probiotics, or doctors for that matter.

    • by Fubari ( 196373 )
      I've heard nothing but good things about Kefir.
      If I didn't travel as much I'd be trying home made Kefir, but some days I just just want to take a pill.
      So your plan A:
      1) Acquire goat, sheep or buffalo milk.
      1.5) Acquire Kefir starter culture (I think you left this step out based on what I've read: "For more information on the starter culture," []).
      2) Ferment for 24 hours
      3) Drink 3x day
      4) CDiff gone.

      Plan B:
      1) Pop some probiotics pills
      1.5) skip
      2) skip
      3) skip
      4) CDiff gone probiotics-c-diff []

I THINK MAN INVENTED THE CAR by instinct. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.