Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Biotech Medicine United Kingdom

Woman Suffers Significant Weight Gain After Fecal Transplant 378

Beeftopia (1846720) writes In a case reported in the journal Open Forum Infectious Diseases, a woman suffering from a drug-resistant intestinal infection gained 36 pounds after receiving a fecal transplant from her overweight daughter. Previous mouse studies have shown thin mice gain weight after ingesting fecal bacteria from obese mice. The woman previously was not overweight. After the procedure, despite a medically supervised liquid protein diet and exercise regimen, the woman remained obese. Her doctor said, "She came back about a year later and complained of tremendous weight gain... She felt like a switch flipped in her body, to this day she continues to have problems... as a result I'm very careful with all our donors don't use obese people."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Woman Suffers Significant Weight Gain After Fecal Transplant

Comments Filter:
  • by liquidpele ( 663430 ) on Saturday February 07, 2015 @11:42AM (#49005805) Journal
    If a fat person eats skinny people shit will they lose weight??
    • by fustakrakich ( 1673220 ) on Saturday February 07, 2015 @11:56AM (#49005891) Journal

      Now you have me wondering if we can make dumb people smart, and mean people nice. We may achieve world peace through fecal transplants.

      • by Shados ( 741919 ) on Saturday February 07, 2015 @12:01PM (#49005925)

        I know its a joke, but not really. At the end of the day, humans are just fairly complicated machines, or even just a big complex chemical reaction.

        Pretty much everything we do comes from either training/uprising, or from some biological system or another. As time goes, we'll figure out all of the later...and statistics will take care of the former.

        Will be a very boring world probably, but...

        • by Immerman ( 2627577 ) on Saturday February 07, 2015 @12:21PM (#49006081)

          Why boring? We've established that psychopaths are far more successful in modern society, so obviously the first thing anyone who wants the best for their children should do is have them engineered for psychopathy. Empathy is for the weak. Should make things *extremely* interesting...

          • by Shados ( 741919 )

            Point taken. I stand corrected.

          • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Saturday February 07, 2015 @01:04PM (#49006339) Journal

            We've established that psychopaths are far more successful in modern society, so obviously the first thing anyone who wants the best for their children should do is have them engineered for psychopathy. Empathy is for the weak

            No, game theory tells us that sociopaths do well in a society that is primarily composed of non-sociopaths, but do not do so well in a society where they are the majority (and that society also doesn't do well as a whole).

            • Can you name a single primarily psychopathic society to provide even anecdotal experimental evidence for your claim? Theory is nice and all, but is notoriously inapplicable to human behavior.

              Also, of what concern is that to the parents who can afford to have their children "enhanced"? All they have to do is ensure that most people can't afford "upgrades" and their children will make out like the bandits they were designed to be.

              • Can you name a single primarily psychopathic society to provide even anecdotal experimental evidence for your claim? Theory is nice and all, but is notoriously inapplicable to human behavior.

                I am not at all providing this as any evidence for the GP's claim, I'm just mentioning one of my favorite books by Frank Herbert; "The Dosadi Experiment". A planet full of sociopaths makes for a dangerous environment.

              • by whoever57 ( 658626 ) on Saturday February 07, 2015 @02:48PM (#49006975) Journal

                Can you name a single primarily psychopathic society to provide even anecdotal experimental evidence for your claim? Theory is nice and all, but is notoriously inapplicable to human behavior.

                That's the point, isn't it? There are no primarily psychopathic societies because they are unsuccessful -- they die out too quickly to create records.

      • Now you have me wondering if we can make dumb people smart

        No, but you can make smart people dumb. Toxoplasmosis [wikipedia.org] is spread via feces. It infects about 11% of Americans, and about 30% of people worldwide. It is correlated with lower IQ, and diminished curiosity. Infected rodents lose their fear of cats.

    • by Applehu Akbar ( 2968043 ) on Saturday February 07, 2015 @12:11PM (#49006009)

      So that's the definition of 'humanitarian.' I always wondered about that.

    • by stephanruby ( 542433 ) on Saturday February 07, 2015 @12:13PM (#49006023)

      If a fat person eats skinny people shit will they lose weight??

      I don't know about that one, but having worms in your intestine can make you lose weight for sure.

      See picture [ytimg.com]. It's just like a big bowl of yummy pasta!

    • Doubtful (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The presence of gut bacteria with such high efficiency (they ones that make you fat by being too good at their job) won't be counter-acted by the presence of the less efficient variety.

      What this means, though, is that I can no longer feel the familiar sense of derision for fat people. Their obesity really may be a product of their microecology, rather than their laziness and hedonistic eating habits. Now I have to feel pity for them instead.

      I guess I can still feel superior to them, since I still am physi

      • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

        by Hadlock ( 143607 )

        You still need to consume > 2200-2700 calories a day for an average size human to gain weight beyond 200 lbs or so (realistically you'll top out at about 180lbs even if you sleep all day but let's use round numbers). If you're 250 lbs or 300 lbs you have to consume way more than 3000 calories a day to simply maintain that bulk of flesh. Fat people are still fat because they eat more than they ought to, this article, if 100% true, doesn't change that fact

        • Re:Doubtful (Score:5, Informative)

          by sonicmerlin ( 1505111 ) on Saturday February 07, 2015 @01:47PM (#49006589)

          Did you even bother to read the article? The woman's eating habits and calorie intake were carefully measured and she gained weight despite not changing anything. I've lost 35 lbs with exercise, but despite spending almost 100 minutes and 1100 calories a day, I still can't get rid of the last 5-10 lbs of flab. It doesn't matter how little I eat.

          • by Hadlock ( 143607 )

            You can't eat 2000 calories a day and sustain 3000 calories worth of warm-blooded flesh, either the study is in error or the laws of thermodynamics needs to be re-examined. Unless the bacteria use some sort of endothermic process and the room she was kept in stayed above 98.6F in which case I want to read the article.

            • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 07, 2015 @02:16PM (#49006799)

              You may find this article [businessinsider.com] informative.

              Calorie measurements of food are just estimates, the particulars vary. The gut bacteria of fat people absorb more of the available energy than that of skinny people, but our measurements of the calories in food aren't necessarily the max amount that could be absorbed.

              To put it simply, fat people get more calories from the same food than skinny people, regardless of how many calories the label says the food has.

            • Re:Doubtful (Score:5, Informative)

              by Cinnamon Beige ( 1952554 ) on Saturday February 07, 2015 @03:07PM (#49007081)

              That only applies when you're dealing with basically an ISO Standard nutrient processing system on a lab-made nutrient slurry--basically, lab mice on lab block.

              Basically, gut bacteria are actually a pretty essential part of processing nutrients, and in some cases the actual source of much of them. Certain types of problems basically will leave you incapable of properly processing parts--for example, with my aunt certain kinds of foods are now pretty much processed directly into fats, and the body is quite capable of taking part of those 3000 Calories' worth of warm-blooded flesh and using that to sustain it when the 2000 Calories of the food intake is being mostly stored. (And yes, the capitalization matters: nutrition uses the kilocalorie, actually, and in a confusing fit of non-standard metric renders it Calorie instead. Either way, the amount of error due to rounding introduced into the values is left as an exercise for the reader.)

              This can, however, be caused by things like a food intolerance or a metabolic dysfunction, and one of the basic tests to see if the person's obesity is a symptom is to, well, cut the caloric intake while maintaining the same levels of activity and see if weight loss happens. The wide range of things it's a symptom of--from things as amazingly cheap & easy to treat such as thyroid disease to those essential to catch early like cancer--are such that failing to check the cause is like...well...failing to check to see if the computer's problem is that it's not turned on.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              Actually that has nothing to do with the laws of thermodynamics. (Hint: read them. You figure they are easy to understand and focus around heat engines, notable about the relation between volume, temperature and pressure of gases)

              Secondly, if you had read the article, which you did mot have obviously, you had noticed that the 'victim' here has the 'wrong' gut bacterias. What is 2000kcal on paper, according to nutrition tables, is 3000 - 3200kcal for her (that is not in the paper, that is my estimate) Read m

    • I tried that with rice cakes once. It didn't work.

    • So all those people who have been telling me to "eat shit" have just really been concerned about my health. Boy, have I completely misinterpreted that phrase!
  • Okay, so... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 07, 2015 @11:43AM (#49005811)

    Figure out which bacteria the obese patients have in common that the thin ones don't, and figure out a way to eliminate it.

    • Re:Okay, so... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Megane ( 129182 ) on Saturday February 07, 2015 @11:47AM (#49005827) Homepage
      Fecal transplants from thin people to fat people causing weight loss is actually a thing. What I hadn't heard of before is the reverse, but I am certainly not surprised.
      • by Z00L00K ( 682162 )

        Probably because the weight loss industry would work against such methods - they will lose the customers.

    • Re:Okay, so... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 07, 2015 @12:02PM (#49005937)

      Figure out which bacteria the obese patients have in common

      They've done some perliminary studies, and one major difference is the proportion of Firmicutes [wikipedia.org] to Bacteroides [wikipedia.org]. Fewer Bacteroides and more Firmicutes are correlated with being obese. Those are borad classes, though, and not particular strains, and it's not clear if it's the presense of Firmicutes, or the abscence of Bacteroides which is related to obesity.

        Bacteroides likes to eat complex polysaccharides, like those found in many plants, so it's speculated (but not known) that a diet high in plant polysaccharides would promote the presence of Bacteroides, and correspondingly reduce the number of Firmicutes

      • Re:Okay, so... (Score:4, Informative)

        by wiredlogic ( 135348 ) on Saturday February 07, 2015 @02:33PM (#49006877)

        Bacteroides likes to eat complex polysaccharides, like those found in many plants, so it's speculated (but not known) that a diet high in plant polysaccharides would promote the presence of Bacteroides, and correspondingly reduce the number of Firmicutes

        What would be more interesting is if these bacteria actually influenced their host's behavior to drive more consumption of sugars. I'm skinny and have never had a strong desire to consume sweets. The majority of the overweight population who can't naturally control their consumption of high-energy foods seem alien and puzzling to me.

        • Re:Okay, so... (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Evtim ( 1022085 ) on Sunday February 08, 2015 @02:43AM (#49009511)

          There is something to what you say. My own experience was that once the gut flora got out of balance, yeast took over.

          During those few years of yeast overgrowth I developed very weird craving for sugars were often I won't be able to go to sleep [and shake like I am dying of starvation] if I did not eat sweet. Once the problem was identified I was put on no sugar at all diet. It took some discipline in the beginning, but to my delight once the yeast began dying [regular lab tests showed that] this maniacal cravings just disappeared and did not come back [1 year so far].

          So there is something about this. The guys in our intestines seem to have profound effect on many, many things in our physiological and psychological health.

          Tully, the old saying "tell me what you eat and I'll tell you who you are" seems to be spot on. During one of my doctor's visit I quoted the fad line "Well, those guys are sometimes called the second genome, right?"

          To which the doctor banged with her fist on the table and said "No, they are the first genome! They got more genes than us, their network of biofilm comprises an actual organ [without which we will be dead] , making it the largest organ in the body, 60% of your immune system happens in the intestine. Those guys can make us sick, the can cure us, they can make us crazy. And they were doing that job well before Homo Sapiens came to be. They are the first!"

      • Re:Okay, so... (Score:4, Informative)

        by TheNarrator ( 200498 ) on Saturday February 07, 2015 @09:03PM (#49008581)

        Good find! Here's an interesting study on how over-activation of Toll-Like Receptor 5 by certain bacteria was highly correlated with obesity:

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pu... [nih.gov]

  • by NotQuiteReal ( 608241 ) on Saturday February 07, 2015 @11:49AM (#49005845) Journal
    Only eat at places run by skinny people.
  • by kencurry ( 471519 ) on Saturday February 07, 2015 @11:50AM (#49005849)
    What in the name of god is a fecal transplant?
    • by Shados ( 741919 ) on Saturday February 07, 2015 @11:59AM (#49005915)

      When something happens and your guts flora goes out of wack, because of a previous illness, some surgery, whatever, your digestive system suffers quite a bit, and has no way to recover (those bacterias don't come out of nowhere...if 100% of them are gone, they're not coming back...).

      So the only way to get them back is to transplant bacterias from someone else, to "bootstrap" your system anew. And the easiest way to get a bunch of those bacterias is in, well...yanno...

      So they either take a piece and stick it in you, or they make a pill out of a little bit of it. Gross as hell, but less gross than dealing with a fucked up guts flora.

      • by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Saturday February 07, 2015 @12:13PM (#49006021) Homepage

        It doesn't have to be all that bad. You freeze dry the feces (that can't be fun). The smelly parts go up the evaporator, mostly. Some protocols spin out the debris (yesterdays burrito bits) leaving you with some flotsam that should be mostly bacteria. You put that in an enteric coated pill (so the stomach acid doesn't clobber everything) or you shove it up the butt using one of a number of techniques (insert, so to speak, favorite joke here).

        Wait a bit and see what happens.

        This is a very trendy field since 1) it clearly works for a defined illness (Clostridium difficele infections) 2) has an interesting and biologically plausible mechanism(s) 3) is easy to make (see above, do not try this at home, professional driver on closed course and all that) and has virtually limitless advertising possibilities. Even aside from the Holy Grail of weight loss and 4) should be able to keep Jon Stewart, 4chan and the rest of the planet in bad jokes for quite some time.

        • 3) is easy to make (see above, do not try this at home, professional driver on closed course and all that)

          Actually, people are doing it at home.

          It's a SFW thing to search for, as long as you get your search terms right.
          "diy" or "home" and "fecal transplant"

          There's really no difference between what you can do at home and what a doctor can do for you, other than ordering up disease and parasite screening tests for your donor.

        • "should be able to keep Jon Stewart, 4chan and the rest of the planet in bad jokes for quite some time."

          No sh*t, Sherlock!

          (Sorry, it's a sh*tty joke, but someone had to say it :-)

          I remember how weird it was when I was visiting someone in the hospital and saw the sign on the door saying the room was for fecal transplants. Must be a real sh*tty job working there ... especially as the janitor.

      • That's not quite accurate. Those bacteria are all around us and especially on the food you eat. It may take a while for those bacteria to increase enough in population so to speed things up you inoculate your system.

        The same thing can happen with bread,beer or wine. You can go ahead and wait for the natural yeast to take over or you can take a vial of ready to go yeast and pitch it in to get things started right away.

        I know this personally because when I met my wife her family ate beans quite often. I was v

        • The same thing can happen with bread,beer or wine. You can go ahead and wait for the natural yeast to take over or you can take a vial of ready to go yeast and pitch it in to get things started right away.

          The same thing that can happen with bread, beer, or wine can happen in your body, too: the wrong (undesirable) flora take root before the stuff that you want, and it outcompetes the desirable organisms and then you suffer. Or in the case of beer, you get nasty beer. It may still be alcoholic, but it will probably be gross.

      • ...your digestive system suffers quite a bit, and has no way to recover (those bacterias don't come out of nowhere...if 100% of them are gone, they're not coming back...

        Where do babies get them from? Surely there is no interintestinal transfer from mom to womb.

        • by Chris Mattern ( 191822 ) on Saturday February 07, 2015 @01:28PM (#49006459)

          Where do babies get them from? Surely there is no interintestinal transfer from mom to womb.

          The child's intestine gets colonized during childbirth. That's been discovered to be one of the problems with Caesarian section, in fact. The baby's large intestine doesn't get the proper bacterial colonization.

        • ...your digestive system suffers quite a bit, and has no way to recover (those bacterias don't come out of nowhere...if 100% of them are gone, they're not coming back...

          Where do babies get them from? Surely there is no interintestinal transfer from mom to womb.

          If you've ever changed an infant's diaper you'd have seen that green-yellow mess that comes out for a while.

          Kids put everything in their mouth. Put them on the floor, they'll lick the carpets. Unsupervised they'll eat the "poopsicles" in the cat litter, and play with the dogs "turdles." Every time they find something they'll put it in their mouth.

        • From med school: they swallow the mother's fluids during childbirth.

      • "has no way to recover" Well there is the Appendix, but nothing is foolproof.
    • by itzly ( 3699663 )

      Moving beneficial intestinal bacteria from one person to another.

    • It's just what it sounds like. You take poop from one person and inject it into another person's colon. The goal is to transfer useful microbes. For obvious reasons, they generally try to use family members or spouses.
    • by SuricouRaven ( 1897204 ) on Saturday February 07, 2015 @12:02PM (#49005935)

      Exactly what it sounds like.

      Humans have gut bacteria. These bacteria are required for the gut to function properly. In some cases a person can lose theirs following a course of really powerful antibiotics - they'll kill whatever's causing their disease, but kill all the required bacteria in their gut too. This is a bad thing: Gut without bacteria doesn't work very well and, though it's not fatal, is going to leave the patient suffering a number of unpleasant conditions. The solution is very simple though. Just take someone with a healthy bacterial ecosystem in their gut, extract a handy lump of bacteria, insert it into the unhealthy patient. The ready-made bacterial colony then takes hold there and returns things to a healthy balance. It sounds disgusting and, well, it is. But it works.

    • You eat the poopoo!

      (ok, I know, not quite, but hey, when can you actually use that meme without going off topic?)

    • by gmuslera ( 3436 )

      God have nothing to do with that. More than a single entity we are a community, not just formed by our own cells and ADN, but also by several bacterial ecosystems that we have in different places of our bodies. We get the first load right in the birth canal, then though our mothers milk, and from there influenced by our own environment, food, etc.

      One of the mainly studied ones are the gut bacteria, that do things like processing the food that we can't, or influences our mood and other cognitive processes.

  • So, don't take any shit...

  • Being ill takes a lot of energy, being healthy again but still eating and exorsizing to the same level could result weight gain.
    I would think a search though the data should start to answer this question. Or relationship with our gutflora is more complex than can be summed up. There may be lots of changes in peoples that could be made this way. More collecting of before and after facts (even things like concentration, strangth, dexterity) should be considered.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    She wasn't overweight when she had a persistent intestinal infection and gained weight after it was cured. She might well be eating more simply because it doesn't cause her discomfort anymore, or her body uses fewer resources because it doesn't have to fight an infection, or her colon has become better at absorbing the nutrients in her food because it's no longer infected.

    Worth looking into, but if your conclusion is that the bacterial composition in the colon makes people fat, you're getting ahead of yours

    • Or it could be that the bacteria break down the nutrients that reach the intestines better so that it eases their absorption by the gut. It is well known for example that termites can only digest cellulose tanks to microbial flora.

    • She wasn't overweight when she had a persistent intestinal infection and gained weight after it was cured. She might well be eating more simply because it doesn't cause her discomfort anymore, or her body uses fewer resources because it doesn't have to fight an infection, or her colon has become better at absorbing the nutrients in her food because it's no longer infected.

      Actually, according to TFA, she was overweight prior to the treatment, with a BMI of 26 (which is borderline overweight). So yeah, I th

  • by asjk ( 569258 )
    no text
  • by Pezbian ( 1641885 ) on Saturday February 07, 2015 @12:11PM (#49006001)

    More evidence to support my hypothesis that gut flora plays games with us. All it takes is one bacteria secreting a chemical that makes us feel like crap if we don't eat the sugars or whatever it craves and secreting something else that makes us feel good when we do.

    Maybe resisting that sick feeling and staying on course means the rogue organism will starve to death?

    There are gut flora organisms which can't be cultured outside the gut, or even outside certain portions of the gut. We don't know what a lot of them do, but there are something like 2kg (~4lb) of them in each of us. Being quite small, each of us is vastly outnumbered on the scale that war against these beasts is basically genocide (How To Make A Vegan Explode -101).

  • the important question is did the procedure solve the intestinal problem?

  • actual study (Score:5, Informative)

    by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Saturday February 07, 2015 @01:05PM (#49006341) Journal
    Here's a link to the actual study [oxfordjournals.org].

    In brief:
    Woman weighed 136 pounds, daughter weight 140 pounds. After transplant from daughter to woman, she didn't return for 16 months (according to my reading of the article). The woman had gained up to 177 pounds, while the daughter gained up to 170 pounds.

    So this is more a case report than an study. Journals are used for communication between professionals. This doctor is saying, "hey, something weird happened.....it might be a coincidence (there is a lot wrong with this woman), but keep an eye out for anything similar."
    • Why not put it to the test? Flush her gut out again, then do another transplant with fecal matter from a skinny person. She certainly is incentivized to give it another try, and it would be another data point.
  • I'm just about to have lunch, thanks.

  • by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Saturday February 07, 2015 @04:12PM (#49007411)

    ... the Macrobiome in her Gut Fauna [xkcd.com] could have been out of whack.

Long computations which yield zero are probably all for naught.

Working...