Sterility, the modern scourge!
Could it be that a more sterile life is leading to various conditions?
This is an article that some readers, particularly those of a fainter-hearted disposition, might want to avoid. It’s about a big movement that some people might find a tad distasteful. For those of a more intrepid nature: we’re going to be looking at something called “microbiome” and the impact this is having in a wide range …
There was a "brown ribbon day" to promote FMT.
Also relevant, this technique has been used since antiquity by rabbit and cavy owners to "fix" a sick rabbit with gut related problems.
The trick it seems is to use the right kind of pellet and feed it to the rabbit a piece at a time, repeating every day until it improves.
Seems to work a lot better than antibiotics for the same reason, in fact the latest consensus is that the problem was caused by excessive use of antibiotics in farm animals and for treating colds and flu without first finding out if the secondary infection was even responsive.
There's even a name for the FMT delivery method:- Crapsules.
I always assumed that the brave folk who wade through the turds of millions every day would be carriers of every disease going; but it seems that they may be invulnerable SUPERMEN!
So, is anyone doing a study on them? Are the workers down at the shit farm living to 100?
And, I can see a superhero origin story here.
Gut to brain transfer of some kind of pathogen via neurons (often very long for single cells) has been put forward as part of the etiology of Parkinson's. I didn't realise that there was any specially strong gut-brain connection relative to lungs-brain or whatever, do you have some links or pointers so that I can follow it up?
Sorry - I couldn't resist that ... but this is old news - the practice is ancient and works well, why do you think mothers chew food for their babies? Sure, our "modern" world frowns on such simple medicine but the fact is, it works.
It would have been a more interesting story if you'd followed up on the resistance to this type of research from the FDA and medical professions in the USA and other countries. Another interesting angle on this is that a hookworm infection can apparently cure hay-fever.
"the practice is ancient" has mixed results - the precursors to aspirin have been used since Hippocrates' time, but so were treatments based on the 4 humours.
Of course, if something seems to work it's good to know that it actually does work, and why (like discovering it isn't the surgery that fixes stomach ulcers, but the antibiotics given afterwards)
I could (and did) eat anything and drink as much as I could and never put on an ounce. After a course of vicious antibiotics I ballooned. Spent years fighting it to no avail. I now have a dog and I think the little bastard licking my face after licking his arse has done the trick though it could be the long walks to the pub!
Maybe that explains 2g1c then .. DIY FMT ?
Pretty sure I saw something else about this on FB, involving a syringe and a blender. And the fascist admins took it down!
Still if £2 worth of empty capsules and a donor turd can cure C difficile in vivo which normally requires multiple courses of $600 a dose vancomycin to even make a dent, then no wonder it was taken down.
Gotta protect Big Pharma's investments and all that.
Here in the states, they've successfully taken healthy, um.... donations, screen them, get rid of the useless bits, freeze them, then deposit it into many-layered glycerin capsules that can be taken orally, no enema or GI tube needed. This allowed the bacteria make it to the intestines unmolested by the stomach acids and enzymes that often spell death to bacteria.
Now, I think it was something like 15 capsules a day, and the capsules are pretty large... but that seems preferable to aspirating fecal matter through a GI tube or going through a colonoscopy.
However unlike other pseudo medical treatments this actually could be plausible.
What we need now are decent quality studies.
And no, even if this can be a treatment to certain conditions, it doesn't mean that sanitation isn't one of the greatest achievements in health care. The situations where you have to little bacteria in your guts are rare, for example after a long treatment of antibiotics. Normally we all have a decent amount of gut bacteria. The gut normally regulates itself rather well.
Koalas do not naturally digest gum leaves - gut bacteria break them down & the koalas absorb the byproduct as nutrients.
Mum koala, when she is ready to wean her young, poops a special poop that is very high in the appropriate gut bacteria & the young climbs round the back and consumes same, and thus gets the bacteria & can start on those oh so yummy gum leaves (note the old urban legend about them being drunk is false , the leaves are so low in nutrients they conserve energy by sleeping 20 hours a day)
Then one is also reminded of the story that kissing came about because in pre knife days mum chewed the food to make it easier for young immature teeth & jaws to handle, and start the digestion process
So having being involved in the treatment of some patients, I feel the need to state a couple of facts:
1) faecal transplants are for prevention of relapse, at which they are very effective. Without the preceeding course of antibiotics for the C.diff, you will not cure it (or at least are unlikely to do so).
2) route doesn't matter as success is ~90% with all routes: capsules (expensive), NG tube (faecalent belching), UGIE (expensive, belching again), colonoscopy (expensive, possibly very expensive if you can't get the ports unblocked and bin $1000 kit following a procedure, time consuming), enema (simple, cheap). You'll guess the route we use locally. It is of surprise to our dept which sees
foolish doctors colleagues around the world using complex and difficult procedures rather than quick cheap ones. In infection control we spend our days trying to stop between 1-100 bacteria getting into the gut; in faecal transplant if you squirt in 10-50ml enema with 10^10-10^12 bacteria/ml, you seem to have a larger number...
3) this procedure is inevitably described as "icky" or similar. It is always welcomed by patients, as C.diff is seriously unpleasant. The ick factor is experienced by the doctors/relatives/readers of websites.
4) there are many many crazy people out there, claiming many many crazy things. Let's not attribute magic powers to faecal transplants: I remain sceptical about correlation v causation for obesity, weight loss, etc. "Further trials are needed..." and Crohns: definitely not. Sorry.
Finally, what medical school did the author attend if he is not capable of using Linnean binomials correctly? It's Clostridium difficile. Capital, small. Hence icon...
I've actually observed a fecal transplant procedure in the hospital in which I work. It was to a patient with C. diff, and apart from the discomfort of the nasogastric tube, went very well. It takes just a few minutes to complete, and the patient gets no icky taste of poo, because the tube is placed into the duodenum (initial part of small intestine for those not medically inclined). A rather interesting procedure, actually.
This just goes to show how much we have yet do discover.
It is common practice in a lab to "spin down" cultures using a centrifuge and you get a pell of bacteria. Loads of them.
The problem is we don't know *which* otherwise there would be a pill you can take, or they could stir it in the yoghurt with out calling it chocolate...
Beer, it has microbes too.
As someone that suffers from severe IBS & Diverticular disease I've been following this for a few years. Just hope at some point it gets Nice approval and becomes available on the NHS.
Not particularly bothered about the delivery method oral capsules would be nice but if it helps rid me of my condition would accept it via colonoscopy or whatever was needed. Pretty sure it would be cost effective as well, currently taking 13 different medications daily so surely long term this would be a cheaper option for the NHS.
You guys need to catch up...
You'll laff, you'll cry, you'll hurl...
Faecal transplants have been around for many years.
There is increasing credible research re priobiotics
No real insight as to which why when as yet.
No ability to reproduce the true gut milieu as yet
No ability to recolonize the gut with the trillions of bacteria required.
It is interesting that probiotics are classified as "foodstuffs", not drugs and therefore the pharmaceutical companies cannot license/patent/own as yet, so no real $$ at stake for them ..yet..
Mostly the fermenting scale required for probiotics rests in the hands of big dairy companies so far.
The corollary is that without TGA type review/quality control, you may have no idea as to what you are putting in yo mouth: could be a right mix of shyte.
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I (coincidentally(*)) listened to 2 podcasts about this at the same time, one was about 2 years older, and outlined the possibilites of fecal transpants, one was up to date and said that, if a fecal transplant was made from a skinny twin to a fat twin the fat twin would lose weight.
So 2 years is how long science takes to get from "early implementation" to "psychotic pranksterism"
(*) I don't have a google alert for "pooh transference"
Engineers at the University of Pennsylvania say they've developed a photonic deep neural network processor capable of analyzing billions of images every second with high accuracy using the power of light.
It might sound like science fiction or some optical engineer's fever dream, but that's exactly what researchers at the American university's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences claim to have done in an article published in the journal Nature earlier this month.
The standalone light-driven chip – this isn't another PCIe accelerator or coprocessor – handles data by simulating brain neurons that have been trained to recognize specific patterns. This is useful for a variety of applications including object detection, facial recognition, and audio transcription to name just a few.
Video Robot boffins have revealed they've created a half-millimeter wide remote-controlled walking robot that resembles a crab, and hope it will one day perform tasks in tiny crevices.
In a paper published in the journal Science Robotics , the boffins said they had in mind applications like minimally invasive surgery or manipulation of cells or tissue in biological research.
With a round tick-like body and 10 protruding legs, the smaller-than-a-flea robot crab can bend, twist, crawl, walk, turn and even jump. The machines can move at an average speed of half their body length per second - a huge challenge at such a small scale, said the boffins.
Updated Intel and QuTech claim to have created the first silicon qubits for quantum logic gates to be made using the same manufacturing facilities that Intel employs to mass produce its processor chips.
The demonstration is described by the pair as a crucial step towards scaling to the thousands of qubits that are required for practical quantum computation.
According to Intel, its engineers working with scientists from QuTech have successfully created the first silicon qubits at scale at Intel's D1 manufacturing factory in Hillsboro, Oregon, using a 300mm wafer similar to those the company uses to mass produce processor chips.
The largest academic supercomputer in the world has a busy year ahead of it, with researchers from 45 institutions across 22 states being awarded time for its coming operational run.
Frontera, which resides at the University of Texas at Austin's Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC), said it has allocated time for 58 experiments through its Large Resource Allocation Committee (LRAC), which handles the largest proposals. To qualify for an LRAC grant, proposals must be able to justify effective use of a minimum of 250,000 node hours and show that they wouldn't be able to do the research otherwise.
Two additional grant types are available for smaller projects as well, but LRAC projects utilize the majority of Frontera's nodes: An estimated 83% of Frontera's 2022-23 workload will be LRAC projects.
Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute and ETH Zurich in Switzerland have managed to accomplish a technological breakthrough that could lead to new forms of low-energy supercomputing.
It's based around something called artificial spin ice: think of water molecules freezing into a crystalline lattice of ice, and then replace the water with nanoscale magnets. The key to building a good spin ice is getting the magnetic particles so small that they can only be polarized, or "spun," by dropping them below a certain temperature.
When those magnets are frozen, they align into a lattice shape, just like water ice, but with the added potential of being rearranged into a near infinity of magnetic combinations. Here the use cases begin to emerge, and a couple breakthroughs from this experiment could move us in the right direction.
British outfit First Light Fusion claims it has achieved nuclear fusion with an approach that could provide cheap, clean power.
Rather than rely on expensive lasers, complicated optical gear, and magnetic fields, as some fusion reactor designs do, First Light's equipment instead shoots a tungsten projectile out of a gas-powered gun at a target dropped into a chamber.
We're told that, in a fully working reactor, this high-speed projectile will hit the moving target, which contains a small deuterium fuel capsule that implodes in the impact. This rapid implosion causes the fuel's atoms to fuse, which releases a pulse of energy.
The European Space Agency's Solar Orbiter followed up its whizz past Earth as 2021 drew to a close by passing through the tail of a comet. Again.
While eyes were turned to French Guiana and the impending launch of the James Webb Space Telescope, for a few days around 17 December the spacecraft flew through the tail of Comet C/2021 A1 Leonard.
It's not the first time; the spacecraft also passed through the tail of the fragmenting comet C/2019 Y4 ATLAS in May and June 2020, a few short months after its launch.
UK minister for science and research George Freeman has admitted that vital EU funding for research is in limbo while the nation continues to negotiate Brexit sticking points, namely Northern Ireland and fishing rights.
Speaking to Parliament's Science and Technology Committee late last week, Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy minister George Freeman said the geopolitics of Anglo-European relations – in particular Anglo-French relations – around fishing and the Northern Ireland Protocol were complicating the decision over "association" with the European Commission's €95bn Horizon research programme.
"I think it's pretty clear that we're in a holding pattern, with our association not being granted," he told the committee.
Lack of support for software engineering is holding back efforts to improve reproducibility and openness in the UK's scientific research, a panel of MPs was reliably informed yesterday.
With data analytics at the heart of a great number of leading-edge scientific fields, the need for support from software engineers has never been greater, but it is sadly lacking, according to two researchers speaking to the Parliamentary Science and Technology Committee.
The World Meteorological Organization, the United Nations' weather watching agency, has certified two new world records for lightning.
The organisation measures two qualities of lightning: duration of a flash, and distance for a single flash.
In 2016 the outfit awarded world records to a flash that blasted across France for 7.74 seconds in 2012, and a bolt that traversed 321km in the skies above Oklahoma in 2007.
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