Health Waste not want not

Waste not want not

Researchers at The University of Adelaide have taken recycling to a whole new level, using faecal transplants to treat chronic disease.

Their study shows stool samples from healthy donors can reduce the symptoms of a painful bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, proving we all have something to contribute.

A growing body of evidence links thriving gut bacteria to a range of positive health outcomes, including bowel function.

The University of Adelaide research confirms some of this can be shared via a process referred to as “faecal microbiota transplantation (FMT)”.

The treatment is just as effective as drug-based therapies, without any of the nasty side effects.

It does have its downsides, however: transplants are inserted via a less-than-comfortable process involving colonoscopy and enema.

Lead researcher Sam Costello says the next goal of research is to replace this with a simple pill.

“Our long-term aim is to develop rationally designed microbial therapies that can replace FMT,’’ Dr Costello says.

“These will have bacteria in a pill that can carry out the therapeutic effect without the need to take whole faeces.

“This is obviously a better and less smelly option.”

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