Episode 42: Fecal transplants and eye development

This week Zach and Kelly discuss a study that used infusion of donor feces to treat a bacterial infection, and a second study that found that light is important for eye development in fetal mice.


Zach and Kelly stuff!

Zach has a Kickstarter running for his new science-themed comic book!

Zach and Kelly will be part of the Story Collider show in NYC on Feb. 5th!

The Small Dinosaurs have put out their first album!

Bandcamp (where the album can be streamed):


iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/the-small-dinosaurs/id592783699

Music video: http://youtu.be/-5B4067Y2u8

Paper 1: Nood et al. 2013 Duodenal infusion of donor feces for recurrent Clostridium difficile

Clostridium difficile

Nature coverage

Paper 2: Rao et al. 2013 A direct and melanopsin-dependent fetal light response regulates mouse eye development

MedicalXpress coverage

3 thoughts on “Episode 42: Fecal transplants and eye development

  1. Peter Cress

    I have a friend who underwent a fecal transplant procedure a couple years ago, and although I was not privy (ha ha) to all the details of her treatment, I think I can clarify a couple things from your podcast.
    1) C. diff is not an infection that you pick up in the hospital; on the contrary, we are all chock full of C. diff. However, under normal circumstances there is enough competition for resources within the gut that C. diff cannot completely take over. Typically, a C. diff “infection” occurs because an inpatient has been on antibiotics for some other reason; in my friend’s case, brain surgery. Because C. diff, as you mentioned, is highly resistant to antibiotics, the other flora in the gut are killed off and C. diff gets to monopolize the gut.
    2) Diarrhea is one symptom of C. diff, but it is much more. My friend developed colitis to the point where she appeared nine months pregnant. When you’re that bad off you’ll take any bizarre treatment that some copromanic quack can come up with…especially if it has shown a 98-99% effectiveness.
    3) Fecal donation doesn’t work like organ donation, where anonymous volunteers register and wait to be called upon. Care providers prefer to use feces from a person who lives with the patient. A fecal transplant procedure includes the termination of antibiotics, so they are giving up control of the intestinal bacterial community to good old fashioned nature. People who live in the same house tend to have the same spectrum of bacteria, and the same developed immunities, so by matching the gut flora they reduce the chances of developing some other bacterial infection. Last thing you need when you’re fighting C. diff is a case of dysentery.

  2. Pingback: Episode 47: Biofilms and bumblebees | The Weekly Weinersmith

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