Posts Tagged ‘sickness’

Pills Made From Poop

pillYes, it’s true, researchers are actually developing a medication based on feces. Though the pills are extracted from it, they contain everything but the unpleasant stuff.

Clostridium difficile infections are among the most common and toughest ailments to treat in hospitals, spreading to about half a million Americans each year and causing about 14,000 deaths. Antibiotics can treat the bacterial bug, but overuse of these medications can lead to resistance and make people more vulnerable to other infections.

Which is where the poop comes in. It turns out that some people are better at fighting off C. difficile  than others, thanks to the good bacteria that live in their gut. And for severe cases of the infection, which can cause diarrhea, nausea and vomiting , doctors have been taking advantage of this fact and performing fecal transplants; giving sick patients some of the good bacterial microbiome, as it’s called, from healthy folks who are able to fend off the bug.

For patients already sick from C. difficile, the last thing they want is a colonoscopy for such a transplant. So researchers developed a pill that concentrated the good bacteria from feces, minus the digested food and other contaminants, into a gel capsule that patients could swallow more easily. Among 27 who tested the pill, none had recurrent symptoms of their infection after taking p to 34 capsules. And since bacterial cells outnumber human ones by 10 to 1, we may not be far from the day when treatments are focused on boosting populations of (good) bacteria rather than wiping them out.

~ courtesy TIME and OMG

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