Friday, September 28, 2012

Can A Fecal Transplant Cure IBD, Colitis, Crohn's, C. difficile, Multiple Sclerosis..?

Some call it a fecal transplantation. Others, fecal bacteriotherapy. Call it what you want, but there is regenerative power in poop for severe, bowel problems. Seriously? Yes. Cure rates are generally above 90% for Clostridium difficile; treatments for Crohn's Disease and Multiple Sclerosis are not as well studied, but appear promising. Everyone should know about fecal transplants as C. difficile infections have risen 400% since 2000 (largely due to hospitals spreading them). Just in the past year, I have had one family member and one friend come down with C. diff infection. Doctors are recalcitrant to prescribe fecal transplants, but that appears to be due to lack of knowledge rather than success.
  1. CNN raised the profile of fecal transplants a trillion fold when it posted this article on the front page of its website a couple of days ago: Little known fecal transplant cures woman's bacterial infection. If anyone was previously skeptical, this article basically legitimizes fecal transplantation.
  2. The Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, MI recently found that 43/49 patients with C. difficile infections were cured after fecal transplants; they had no problems up to three months later. Fecal transplant from mom cures ailing toddler.
  3. A 2011 literature review found that 92% of 317 patients with recurrent C. difficile infection or pseudomembranous colitis had disease resolution upon fecal transplant. 
  4. Clinics and retreats are offered! For instance in the US, the Bright Medicine Clinic in Portland, Oregon performs Fecal Transplants for many conditions discussed below.
  5. There's a blog called Fecal Microbiota Transplant that reports seemingly unpublished data on transplants improving Multiple Sclerosis in patients with bowel syndromes. At a minimum, patients were able to walk again!
  6. Two papers on inflammatory bowel disease indicate that of nine patients who were non-responsive to standard treatment, all nine of them responded dramatically well to fecal transplant therapy.  Bacteriotherapy Using Fecal Flora (2004) and Treatment of Ulcerative Colitis Using Fecal Bacteriotherapy (2003)
  7. We NEED a site that provides location information on fecal transplants. I can not seem to find one and people will clearly be asking for more information. Googling around appears to come up with specific instances, so if you search hard enough, you may find something in your neck of the woods. (There is a partial list of USA fecal transplant places here); if you're in TN, Vanderbilt's clinical chief, Dr. Michael Vaezi of Gastroenterology is doing fecal transplants in response to refractory Clostridium difficultIn Virginia at the Virginia Commonwealth University, Dr. Michael Edmond is doing fecal transplants for C. diff [news link]; In Nevada, Gastroenterology Consultants in Carson City offers fecal transplantation for C. diff
  8. There's a Facebook Page that appears to be a good social media resource, aptly named Fecal Bacteriotherapy is "The Bomb"
  9. There are reports on the internet of do-it-yourself fecal transplants. Clinics can be hard to find and the treatment is not typically covered under insurance, especially for IBD. Understandably, these barriers to a treatment have led some to pursue self-treatment with enema kits. Probiotic Therapy Home Infusion Protocol and Success of Self-Administered Home Fecal Transplantation for C. difficile Infection
  10. A University of Guelph lab in Canada has developed a Robogut machine to simulate the human gut conditions in vitro. They have successfully used it to grow a cocktail of bacteria that cured C. diff infections from two elderly patients. What a breakthrough! Symbionticism Blog Post Link
Background: Despite the conventional lexicon that poop is dirty, an agent of infection, and should be left for one place and one place only - the toilet, poop may be as powerful in its regenerative capacity as stem cells. Perhaps better. Roughly 40% of your feces is made up of bacteria living inside and shed from your gut. These species help us digest food, develop intestinal tissue, and fight off infections among many other things.

Disease: The bacteria in your gut are as much a part of you as your genes. The fact that some fraction of them come out in your waste is fortunate because these symbiotic bacteria can be used in the purest form of recycling that humans may ever know. Friends or family that are suffering month-to-month, or year-to-year, with debilitating or deadly diseases such as Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis (these first two are often referred to as IBD or inflammatory bowel disease), Clostridium difficile, etc know all too well the long and painful aspects of these diseases. In many cases, antibiotics are prescribed over and over, with each one that fails leading to more expensive ones that are also more difficult to get. The irony of the antibiotic ferris wheel is that antibiotics may be buying a little more time or even exacerbating the problem, while the solution happens to be right in front of us, or behind us to be technically accurate. The healthy bacteria in poop from a friend or family member can be "transplanted" into the gut of a sick patient and fully cure them in many cases.

Professor Thomas Borody (MD, PhD) is one of the leading physician scientists in this area and this video is definitely worth watching and sharing to classrooms, friends, and family.


Further Reading: Fecal Microbiota Transplantation and Emerging Applications. Borody and Khoruts 2012. Nature Reviews Gastroenterology and Hepatology 9: 88-96.


15 comments:

  1. This post reminds me of The Humanure Handbook (available as free PDF from the author's site) which begins with a good exposition on the nature of "waste".

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  2. thanks for sharing..

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  3. Dr. Borody's office says there is less than a 50% chance of remission using fecal transplant to treat UC: http://www.topix.com/forum/health/colitis/TA5ANBB43CD9AP8NP/p6#c104

    Still, if you have no other options except for surgery, it is probably worth a shot. Although it can be expensive.

    I would recommend asking your doctor for supervision, but if you want to do it yourself, here are the instructions: https://docs.google.com/document/d/182trbGk5UoLMapCoeIw8pjFmv00tIgjfySoP-gOGrrs/edit?hl=en_US&pli=1

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  4. Hey Seth,
    I just wanted to add that I recently posted a Q&A session with Dr. Davis on this exact topic, he answered 13 questions very directly with tons of great information and links to recent publications. The questions are mainly focused on the actual therapy and its potential benefits towards treating C-diff and ulcerative colitis. here's the link if you're interested:

    http://www.ihaveuc.com/fecal-microbiota-transplant-questions-and-answers/

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  5. I was able to do it myself when I was 3 days away from having surgery, a full colostomy after 12 years of Ulcerative Colitis. The key for me was to combine a few different strategies together to make it work. More detail about my experience and how you can apply the same techniques yourself on my blog http://www.FecalTransplant.org

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  6. Symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis colitis is de facto a severe illness which will bring about inflammation inside the colon. For a lot of who don't know What on earth is the colon, it could perhaps be known as the big intestine of human physique. It could possibly even be referred as an inflammatory bowel sickness that's suitable to ailment. The colon eradicates nutrition of undigested foodstuff along with eliminating squander merchandise from your anus and rectum when feces (stool) are handed. Symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis

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  7. After 9 years of ulcerative colitis I learned of fecal transplants while suffering a severe flare up in hospital. I was exhaustively researching anything that could potentially help aside from immunosuppressant drugs and/or surgery. Once I recovered enough to attempt a FT I did so at home with the guidance of a Naturopath and the support of my family doctor. It's been two years since I did the transplant and haven't had one flare up or symptom of colitis. It changed my life. I have been off all meds and eat what I want (I eat a generally healthy diet but don't hold back if I want something!) I can't stress enough how well this worked for me when I thought there was no hope.

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    1. Hi Anonymous, that is great news. Could you tell me what diet you were eating pre- and post-transplant?

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  8. Thanks for this information. My 17 year old daughter is suffering tremendously with a relapse of Crohns and we are seriously considering this protocol at home. We have been working with an excellent alternative MD and a functional med MD but have had no success.

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    1. Thanks for sharing and best of luck! I don't know what the success rates at home are (no scientific study) but there are video tutorials (http://symbionticism.blogspot.com/2014/05/do-it-yourself-fecal-transplant.html). I would also try to find a clinic that does Fecal Transplants for Chrohns such as the one noted above in Portland, Oregon.

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  9. Hi Seth, This FMT treatment has saved my life from debilitating IBS where I could not eat much for over a year, and was wasting away. I am interested in knowing if there is any info about it for bipolar or schizophrenia for a loved one. Have you heard anything about this? Thanks!

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  10. Colitis, or inflammation of the lining tissues of the large intestine (colon), can be caused by infections, loss of blood supply, or chronic diseases. Despite the cause, people suffering from colitis may have typical symptoms that include abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, and diarrhea. Some types of colitis may be associated with bloody diarrhea. Colitis can be part of a disease that affects other parts of the body, causing fever, chills, fatigue, and dehydration symptoms (weakness, decreased urine output). Ulcerative colitis is a chronic condition that has other manifestations in the body, including mouth ulcers, joint swelling, and skin inflammation.

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