Fecal Transplants Show Promise For IBD
Fecal transplants, while not new science, are gaining new ground in the area of gastroenterology. Most recently fecal transplants have been used to treat chronic Clostridium difficile infection or C.diff, an infection that occurs when the organism overtakes the healthy gut flora. Symptoms of c. diff can be severe and often lands patients in the hospital.
C. diff occurs by overtaking the GI tract after the healthy bacteria has been demolished, such as after long term use of certain antibiotics. The reason that the fecal transplants work so well in treating C. diff is because they replenish the healthy GI flora. During transplantation fecal matter from a healthy individual is placed into the GI tract of someone with C. diff. This allows the healthy bacteria to replenish and knock out the opportunistic C. diff infection. The fecal transplants have shown success rates of up to 98% in treating C. diff infections according to recent studies.
Newer research is looking into whether fecal transplants may offer new hope for treating Inflammatory Bowel Disease. It has been shown in various studies that those with IBD tend to have different gut "microbiomes" than healthy people. While we don't know exactly how that effects the disease process of IBD it does seem to play some role.
The newest research published in Cell Host and Microbe suggests that fecal transplant may offer some curative effects in mice with IBD but it has not been established with certainty in human populations. A review of the research prior to this date showed that fecal transplant may be a safe and effective treatment when standard treatments have failed but that there is not yet enough studies to provide conclusive results.
While more research is needed these new studies are a step in the right direction. Compared with almost all other treatments for IBD the fecal transplant is fairly benign. My hope is that with continued research scientists will find a cure for IBD.
For more info on gut bacteria and IBD:Balancing Gut Bacteria Shows Promise for IBD Treatment - See more at: http://www.healthcentral.com/ibd/c/70966/168171/balancing-bacteria-ibd-treatment#sthash.y5lmto5l.dpuf