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Sweden looks to fight superbugs with 'other people's poop'

The Local · 8 Nov 2010, 13:11

Published: 08 Nov 2010 13:11 GMT+01:00

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Swedish researchers hope that bacteria extracted from healthy faeces can be used to develop new medicines to battle superbugs following the successful curing of a 60-year-old American woman who suffered from resistant bacteria in her stomach, the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper reported on Monday.

The woman beat the illness after doctors, following advice from Swedish researchers, administered an enema injecting the faeces of her healthy husband.

Physician Per Dahl of the infection clinic in Växjö in southern Sweden, who administers the technique to a handful of people each year, told the newspaper that the suggestion is not always met with resounding approval by the patient.

"Their first reaction is that it sounds disgusting and unpleasant to get another person's poop put into them," he told DN.

Doctors in Minnesota turned to the technique after they had exhausted all available antibiotics without any effect being registered on the woman's deteriorating health.

After having been administered the enema of her husband's bacteria-free faecal matter, the woman made an rapid recovery and immediately began to regain some of the 27 kilogrammes in weight she had lost over the previous eight months.

"It was very exciting to see if the new bacteria would grow. I examined the waste and there was an enormous difference," said microbiologist Johan Dicksved at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) to the newspaper.

Dicksved explained that his analysis showed that after a month the offending Clostridium difficile bacteria which had caused the woman's debilitating condition had gone, to be replaced by the new bacteria.

The method is becoming a more common feature of Swedish healthcare as cases of resistant bacteria increase, DN reported.

Around 8,000 people are diagnosed every year with the Clostridium difficile bacteria in Sweden, mostly elderly people. A number of those infected develop newer, serious bacterial infections with occasionally fatal results.

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The technique is generally applied as a last resort when other cures have been tried and it is usually a healthy family member that is invited to make a donation.

The healthy faeces is then mixed with around half a litre of water and inserted into the rectum, where it is held for around half an hour before being rinsed out.

Researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm are hopeful that they can use bacteria extracted from health faecal matter to develop new medicines to tackle the growing problem of resistant bacteria.

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

13:20 November 8, 2010 by zircon
As long it's not oral.
14:59 November 8, 2010 by Tanskalainen
I will donate.
15:18 November 8, 2010 by Swedesmith
Sounds like a load of crap.
15:39 November 8, 2010 by Mb 65
she is full of s--t
16:14 November 8, 2010 by SarahRF
Half a liter of someone else's poop water in your own bum?! I think I just lost my appetite...
16:18 November 8, 2010 by calebian22
I can't wait to read the medical journal detailing this new procedural fudgepackostomy.
16:26 November 8, 2010 by Tanskalainen
If I get sick it's Sofia Jannock's poop or nothing.
16:30 November 8, 2010 by facetedjewel
I was interested to read that they exhausted every antibiotic trying to kill the infection first, before they tried introducing healthy bacteria from an outside source.

There was this old joke I first heard in the gastroenterology dept. . . .

When the Lord made man, all parts of the body argued over who would be boss.

The brain explained that since he controlled all the parts of the body, he should be boss. The legs argued that since they took man wherever he wanted to go, they should be boss. The stomach countered with the explanation that since he digested all the food, he should be boss. The eyes said that without them man would be helpless, so they should be boss. Then the a**hole applied for the job. The other parts of the body laughed so hard at this the a**hole felt insulted and closed up.

After a few days . . .

The brain went foggy, the legs got wobbly, the stomach got ill, and eyes got crossed and unable to see. They all conceded and made the a**hole boss.

This proves that you don't have to be a brain to be boss . . .

Just an a**hole.

A joke about some employers, but it works here too.
16:56 November 8, 2010 by Swedesmith
My boss is an a--hole, too!
19:09 November 8, 2010 by facetedjewel

. . . so you are self-employed? LOL! Me too!

I introduced the joke for the same reason Flip Wilson did long ago . . . there are several ways to look at it. Aristotle is credited with first talking about classifications of 'being'. The heirarchy of taxonomy has grown considerably since then. Human beings as social creatures assign value to that heirarchy and become attached to that value the higher they see themselves in the order. The heart and brain have gotten alot of very flattering press over centuries of human history.

However . . . there was an article on Google sometime within the last month or so, about some scientists who went to X African country, trying to better under stand why Western countries are plagued with many diseases, and some African countries are not at all. They collected fecal samples from people living out on the countryside and what they found surprised them. Not only did they find the usual the common bacterial colonizations, but also many rarer bacteria and in great numbers. Was there a correlation between their absence of disease and the health of their colons?

In the event of a pandemic, the rich can have the high-end (pun intended) antiboitics. The rest of us can order up some poop online and survive; the ick factor be darned. We could say things like, 'I have a fine cask of Tanzania '08 in the cellar. Shall we crack it open?' and have that be the new height of hospitality.
19:14 November 8, 2010 by frey
reminds me of mrs. peshocks czech folk remedy for tapeworms: fried goat feces. did they try yogurt first? did they stop the antibiotics before the enema infusion?
22:09 November 8, 2010 by Swedesmith
@facetedjewel Ahh, I set myself up for that one. Good one!

Actually, I believe many problems in the colon originate with overuse of anti-biotics which kill the natural flora and fauna that live in our colons and help digest food. My solution, eat dirt! Tastes much better than sh1t...or so I've been told.
03:39 November 9, 2010 by Da Goat
Puts new spin on the old saying "eat ship and die"

you can now take it and live!
09:09 November 9, 2010 by mojofat
So funny...this is basically a bit from last week's "The Office" where Dwight insists that instead of hand sanitizer in the office they should have bowls of vomit, snot, and feces for everyone to put their hands in.
13:12 November 9, 2010 by Svenskamartian
This is not as crazy at it may appear at first.

In the old Soviet Union, because they did not have access to the wide range of anti-biotics that the West had, they use to use small viruses called bacteriaphages to kill off bugs. Bacteriaphages are available nearly everywhere there are bugs multiplying, especially in sewerage. They are naturally occuring viruses that selectively kill bacteria. There is a small virus ( bacteriophage )specific for each bug, so of course there are specific viruses that can kill off bugs that have become resistent to anti-biotics.

This technology has been known about for decades, yet the big pharmaceutical companies block any form of investigative research as it will critically harm their profits from anti-biotics. No state organisation is interested as it means investing years and years in costly clinical trials to get such technology 'approved' for license by the US Federal Drug Administration. As the bacteriophages are naturally occuring they can not really be patented, or made commercial.

So an easy, available solution to the problem is being blocked by vested interests, and 'big money'. What is new !!

However, there is a repository of these 'bacteriophages' in an institute in Tbilisi Georgia.
03:07 November 10, 2010 by MarkinBoston
"This technology has been known about for decades, yet the big pharmaceutical companies block any form of investigative research as it will critically harm their profits from anti-biotics"

Yes. And the pantyhose manufacturers hide the secret of run-free nylons to protect their super-profits. Damn them!
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