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Fecal transplant more effective than antibiotics for bacterial infection: study

By Samantha Kimmey
Thursday, January 17, 2013 10:08 EDT
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T-cells attacking an infection. Photo: Shutterstock.com, all rights reserved.
 
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While many people might be more comfortable taking pills to fight off a dangerous infection, it turns out that there may be a more effective treatment: excrement.

A new study found that fecal transplants can be a dramatically more effective course of treatment than antibiotics in the case of at least one kind of bacterial infection, reported the Los Angeles Times.

The study found that transplanting the feces of a healthy individual into someone with the infection Clostridium difficile, or CDI, which kills about 100,000 people annually, cured three times as many people as those who took just antibiotics.

In fact, the study ended early because the researchers decided it would be unethical to continue to provide some participants with only antibiotics, reported the New York Times.

Fecal transplants has garnered more interest recently, as bacteria have become more resistant to antibiotics, although records of the treatment can be found as far back as the 4th century in China.

Scientists believe that the treatment works through the microbial diversity in healthy feces, as the normal balance of microbes may be diminished in those with CDI. They hope that, eventually, fecal transplants may help treat other health problems, such as irritable bowel syndrome and anorexia.

The leader of the study, Dr. Els van Nood from the University of Amsterdam Department of Internal Medicine, said that though they were hopeful, “we did not anticipate such a big difference.”

But he also said that the treatment had a “gross factor,” especially with younger patients.

[Image: T-cells attacking an infection. Photo: Shutterstock.com, all rights reserved]

 
 
 
 
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