Regular Word on Health readers will recall that last year we brought you news of a successful, yet controversial, new treatment for inflammatory bowel disease – fecal microbiota transplantation. While we remembered to warn you of the “yuck factor” associated with this post, we never thought to add the caution “don’t try this at home.”
Seems we should have.
Lately, stories about the success of at-home fecal transplants have been spreading virally, or should we say bacterially, across the internet! Stranger still, some respected science writers and researchers have expressed support for the procedure. People are literally buzzing about the possibilities.
Dr. Lawrence Brandt, head of gastroenterology at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, says that he receives several emails a week from people begging for fecal transplants. While they used to come only from people suffering from bowel disease, now he’s getting requests from people who are hoping to beat diabetes, autism, asthma, MS and obesity too.
As it’s not clear whether gut bacteria can help with any of these complaints, many doctors are unwilling or unable to help.
And that’s why, it seems, patients are now doing it themselves.
Chris Gorski is one such person prepared to take this drastic step. Last year, his daughter developed a gut infection that caused severe and chronic diarrhea. Despite antibiotics, she still has symptoms and now Gorski worries that the infection will destroy the lining of her intestines and affect her for the rest of her life. Armed with what he’s read on the internet, and a burning desire to help his daughter, he’s decided to collect some of his own stool, strain it, and then squirt it into her body using colonoscopy instruments.
He hopes that his “good bacteria” will become established in the girl’s body and repair her gastrointestinal tract.
Gorski’s plan may sound gross, but he argues that what he’s doing is revolutionary. In an age when probiotics, are being extolled for their beneficial qualities, he says his solution is just an extension of living medicine.
Do you think this is a good idea, or how shall we say it, just a crappy one?!? Let us know what you think.