But like the ring of power, transfaunation and poo tea could not be suppressed forever. And magically, people began to talk about it over the last four years. The human microbiome became hot. Fecal transplants became a topic of conversation (with a little help from Carl Zimmer). Even Colbert covered the topic. And the final straw for me to get me to write about Mike Lagrone was when a few days ago my mom showed me an article in Scientific American by Maryn McKenna entitled “Swapping Germs: Should Fecal Transplants Become Routine for Debilitating Diarrhea?” I knew then that the time had arrived for me to write about Mike Lagrone. So I have.
I note, one reason I wanted to write up the story of meeting Mike Lagrone was because I personally had not noticed much in the coverage of human fecal transplants discussing the animal side of things. This seemed a bit odd as transfaunation and poo tea and such are clearly closely connected in concept to fecal transplants in people. A little digging (well, actually, a few Google searches) showed that many in fact have made the connection. See for example these stories/articles:
It is interesting to me how what goes around comes around (literally and figuratively). This is probably a very ancient methodology – trying to move microbes from healthy individuals to sick ones to help treat them for various GI ailments. And lets not even start talking about coprophagia which almost certainly has some “microbial colonization” component. Thus, I conclude that, though fecal transplants in people may seem gross, it certainly makes a lot of sense that it could provide some benefits. Not saying we know how to do it best or that it can cure everything – but it certainly seems worth pursuing in more detail.
Stay tuned – it seems very likely we will here much more about this in people over the next few years. For some of the latest on the human side of things see
Fecal Transplants: They Work, the Regulations Don’t – also by Maryn McKenna.
Seems that medicine is catching up to what animals (and their caretakers) have known for some time …
UPDATE 1/16/2003 – Embedding my Ted talk on a related topic here
More on fecal transplants and bacteriotherapy from my blog can be found below:
- 11/17/2012: Must read microbiome paper of the month: defined microbioata treatment of Cdiff infections
- 11/10/2012: Overselling the microbiome award of the month: Integrative medical group of Irvine
- 10/19/2012: Mouse study of fecal transplants to treat Cdiff infection
- 9/26/2012: Fecal transplants in the news
- 8/22/2012: Got poo?: Clinical trial on fecal transplants (aka fecal bacteriotherapy) to treat C. difficile infections
- 8/19/2012: Episode of Radio New Zealand “This Way Up”: “Meet your microbes” discussion w/ me
- 8/06/2012: #PLoSOne paper on the “horse #microbiome” and colitis; wonder if they will study ‘poo tea’
- 6/14/2012: The human #microbiome project (HMP): new papers and news stories
- 12/16/2011: Maybe the next thing is animal fecal transplant toys? #poop
- My science communication hero/heroine of the month – Dr. Kiki @drkiki
- 8/21/2012: More (you know you wanted it) on fecal transplants and the microbiome