Sunday, October 12, 2014

Article: A Promising Pill, Not So Hard to Swallow

Studies show that transplanting feces in liquid form from healthy people to patients with stubborn Clostridium difficile infections can stop the wrenching intestinal symptoms (pain, cramping, diarrhea], apparently by restoring healthy gut bacteria.
The current process is long and labor intensive. However, researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston found they could make a capsule version that is easier to administer.
Inside the experimental capsule is human feces — strained, centrifuged and frozen. Taken for just two days, the preparation can cure a dangerous bacterial infection that has defied antibiotics and kills 14,000 Americans each year, researchers said Saturday.
Their study was small and preliminary, but results were striking: 19 of 20 patients with C. difficile infections were cured of diarrhea and related symptoms. Most saw improvements after one two-day round of pills, the rest after two or three rounds, said Dr. Ilan Youngster, the lead investigator.
The coolness factor here is the counter-intuitive simplicity of the treatment (fecal transplantation) in the first place.  And that people are being cured.

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