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Cure versus Disease: Which is more repugnant?
November 14, 2007 10:48 AM   Subscribe

Nasty super-bug Clostridium difficile undone by poo transplant! C. difficle, the drug-resistant bum-spelunking organism that's currently the bane of health-care professionals around the world, has been cured. The probiotic treatment, however, has made some medical lab technicians squeamish as it involves liquifying donor faecal matter and then injecting it via enema into the suffering patient.

Sure, it lacks the panache of donating a kidney, but think about it: could your poo be repurposed to help others?
posted by CheeseburgerBrown (49 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Is anyone else horrified that this post was written by "Cheeseburger Brown"?
posted by zebra3 at 10:54 AM on November 14, 2007 [24 favorites]


ShitQuil anyone?
posted by dov3 at 10:54 AM on November 14, 2007


please, no!
posted by blue_beetle at 10:55 AM on November 14, 2007


How do you even discover something like this works? That's what I always wonder. I mean, what scientist is sitting around thinking, "lets give people shit enema's and see what happens."
posted by chunking express at 10:56 AM on November 14, 2007 [3 favorites]


This is the future?? THIS?
posted by CautionToTheWind at 10:57 AM on November 14, 2007 [3 favorites]


You forgot "through the nose".
No thanks, I'll die.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:57 AM on November 14, 2007 [10 favorites]


NOW they tell me!
I thought I was supposed to DRINK it!
posted by Floydd at 10:58 AM on November 14, 2007 [2 favorites]


I don't think HR is going to support the Red Cross Poo Drive.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 11:00 AM on November 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


chunking express, imagine all the trial and error experiments they had to perform in order to come to it:
inject poop, failed.
chew poop, failed.
insert poop trhough rectum, failed.
snort poop, it works!!
posted by dov3 at 11:01 AM on November 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


This explains the robust health of men and women who star in German pornography!
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:01 AM on November 14, 2007 [4 favorites]


Why did I have to see this right before lunch?
posted by 0xFCAF at 11:06 AM on November 14, 2007


"Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job!"
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 11:06 AM on November 14, 2007 [5 favorites]


How do you even discover something like this works? That's what I always wonder. I mean, what scientist is sitting around thinking, "lets give people shit enema's and see what happens."

It's pretty well known that the proper functioning of the digestive tract requires a healthy & properly balanced population of microbes. So it makes perfect sense to me that you might put some microbes in there in order to fix this sort of problem.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 11:12 AM on November 14, 2007


I think TOCT is spot-on. Just think of it as transplanting a healthy culture. Like sourdough.
What, you're not going to finish your panera sandwhich now? Don't mind if I do.
posted by luftmensch at 11:20 AM on November 14, 2007




)) .... ((
posted by condour75 at 11:33 AM on November 14, 2007


oh what a load of shit
posted by tylermoody at 11:33 AM on November 14, 2007


Reminds me of this extremely gross urban legend: Jenkem.
posted by Skygazer at 11:34 AM on November 14, 2007


Previously.

I guess that makes this post #2.

Get it? #2? Ha ha! I'm funny. Wait, where are you going?
posted by fandango_matt at 11:45 AM on November 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


))<>((, condour?
posted by wemayfreeze at 12:00 PM on November 14, 2007


"Despite the positive results, doctors stress that they still regard the faecal transplant as a "last resort" because it is cumbersome and the idea of [it] is unpleasant."

Of course! Antibiotics are easy and effective and do not have any bad consequences.
posted by parudox at 12:04 PM on November 14, 2007


this is what's known in the medical industry as a "manhattan transfer".
posted by quarter waters and a bag of chips at 12:11 PM on November 14, 2007


Of course! Antibiotics are easy and effective and do not have any bad consequences.

That's particularly apt here, as the runaway nature of C. difficule is facilitated by the state of biotic desecration wrought in vulnerable patients' ass-systems by "broad-spectrum antibiotic treatment."

In short, this organism has been selectively if unwittingly bred by the medical abuse of antibiotics -- it has picked up the challenge of that arm's race and folded itself into an ultimate weapon of anal discharge, cramps and general unpleasantness.

My favourite part of the CBC Radio One coverage this morning was when the lab technician tried to stymie the doctor administering the treatment by challenging him to explain how the lab could be expected to keep the samples sterile.

Quoth the physician: "It's human waste. Sterility's a bit of a non-starter, really."
posted by CheeseburgerBrown at 12:19 PM on November 14, 2007 [4 favorites]


This thread needs more "Just leaving, I'll get my coat" icons.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 12:25 PM on November 14, 2007


The organism's proper name is Clostridium difficile, in case the spelling errors above are confusing anyone. It's often called C-dif (pronounced "SEA-diff.")

Much like yeast infections, it can't get a foothold unless the normal colon flora are totally disrupted. That's why it often attacks really sick people, many of whom are on hard-core antibiotics for other purposes. It makes sense to put some normal flora back into the affected person's colon because those can crowd out the clostridium.

Other famous Clostridium species cause botulism and tetanus, and from the former is derived BoTox, which fashionable people get injected into their faces in order to paralyze the muscles of facial expression, which would otherwise generate wrinkles in the course of their normal use.
posted by ikkyu2 at 12:29 PM on November 14, 2007


Everything comes down to poo.
posted by utsutsu at 12:53 PM on November 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


If there ever was a post that could have used a [more inside], this was it.
posted by tommasz at 12:53 PM on November 14, 2007


During my undergraduate medical microbiology training, this procedure was rumored to occur with some frequency in Russia following intestinal surgery, hence the "Moscow Milkshake".
posted by corranhorn at 1:05 PM on November 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


Couldn't they simply make a culture of the good bacteria and use that? That seems to be what this treatment actually does.
posted by mike3k at 1:08 PM on November 14, 2007


i'm so happy to see so much back and forth in this thread.
posted by snofoam at 1:13 PM on November 14, 2007


in the anals of medical history?
posted by snofoam at 1:16 PM on November 14, 2007


Couldn't they simply make a culture of the good bacteria and use that? That seems to be what this treatment actually does.

The physician interviewed on the radio (Silverberg? Can't remember -- trying to avoid people killing me while I commuted) mentioned that this was a sort of stop-gap measure until the pertinent probiotics could be rarified into a more dignified medical-type drug treatment.

This news was no doubt met with no small amount of applause when the lab technicians who are asked to do the actual dirty work.
posted by CheeseburgerBrown at 1:24 PM on November 14, 2007


PoopPoop!
posted by loquacious at 1:48 PM on November 14, 2007


[more inside] heh.
posted by theora55 at 1:51 PM on November 14, 2007


Makes you look at 2girls1cup with a new perspective! Its a medical documentary!
posted by pearlybob at 2:07 PM on November 14, 2007 [2 favorites]


Please, please don't go searching for what pearlybob has just mentioned.
posted by Jimbob at 2:24 PM on November 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


This is some really shit science.
posted by never used baby shoes at 2:32 PM on November 14, 2007


I agree. Don't go looking for it. Haven't watched it myself but I know the um...outcome.
posted by pearlybob at 2:51 PM on November 14, 2007


ah yes, wemayfreeze - i've never been good at poo emoticons.
posted by condour75 at 3:20 PM on November 14, 2007


C- Diff is a total drag and if you are weak, will kill you. If you have ever known someone who was suffering from it and being subjected to endless rounds of heavy duty antibiotics that do not cure them, you would be very happy to hear this news.
posted by flummox at 3:48 PM on November 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


...administered via a tube through the nose into their stomach.

Eponysterical!
posted by Tube at 6:22 PM on November 14, 2007


"Marcia Munro, a Toronto resident, received a fecal transplant from her sister Wendy Sinukoff after suffering from C. difficile for 14 months several years ago.

'I had to collect stool samples for five days prior to our leaving Toronto, and I collected it in an ice cream container and kept it in the fridge,' said Sinukoff.

She had to then fly the samples to Calgary . . . — a process that involved getting the sample through airport security.

'My biggest fear was that my samples were not allowed to be frozen, so I had to take them as carry-on luggage in the airplane and I was terrified that I was going to be asked to have my luggage searched,' she said."

Good thing they found a Canadian doctor who does it. Imagine explaining to a US border official why you're trying to board the plane with 5 days' worth of your own poo in your carry-on.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 6:48 PM on November 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


'Tis now the season of Kris Kringle,
When heavenly aromas mingle.
(Poor buggers with C. difficile
Drink Stool-Aid as their midday meal
Or down it Army-style — shit/shingle.)
posted by rob511 at 7:31 PM on November 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


Okay, it was in Scotland that they figured this out.

I never did get around to eating haggis, and I guess now I never will.
posted by yhbc at 7:53 PM on November 14, 2007


Thank you for the term bum-spelunking. I'm going to fit that into a conversation today. Somehow.
posted by longbaugh at 5:19 AM on November 15, 2007


This will not end well.
posted by lukemeister at 6:21 AM on November 15, 2007


They were talking about this on the radio last night but said that the insertion was via enema, not through a tube in the nose. Not nearly so disgusting.

They also talked about how the hospitals where the doctors wished to perform this was being really really stupid...like they wanted to sterilize the poo before using it, and they "don't have a blender to use for that" (because stirring shit up requires special equipment?). In the end (heh), the doctor ended up doing at-home treatments.
posted by Kickstart70 at 6:37 AM on November 15, 2007


I recall reading that someone was trying out something like this as a treatment for Crones/Colitis. Very squicky.

Of course, I got a bone graft from cadaver bone, which is also kind gross if you think about it.
posted by kjs3 at 9:22 AM on November 15, 2007


zebra3 Is anyone else horrified that this post was written by "Cheeseburger Brown"?


CheeseReburger
posted by cjorgensen at 6:14 PM on November 15, 2007


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