Enlarge / "Yep, there's definitely poop in there." (credit: Thesupermat)
Scientists often seem to be on a quest for sacred chalices or sterling ammo. But a group of microbiologists has now set out on a more odorous odyssey—one to find fantastical feces.
With data on poop’s therapeutic potential piling up, scientists have gotten wind of the possibility that some among us may be extraordinary excreters, dropping deuces with divine healing powers. In a review article published Monday, January 21 in Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology, researchers at the University of Auckland dig out all the evidence for these deific defecators from the mound of studies on fecal microbiota transplantations, or FMTs.
An FMT is exactly what it sounds like—fecal matter containing gobs of gut microbes is dumped, squirted, gulped, or otherwise delivered into the bowels of patients. The idea is that the relocated microbial communities will restore or replace the patient’s own gut dwellers to improve health. Intestinal microbes can play a role in nutrition, metabolism, immune system function, and infection protection, after all. Thus, patients with gut communities that are imbalanced and dysfunctional—aka dysbiotic—or are overrun with pathogens stand to see health benefits from such an intestinal repoopulation.
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