The Miracle Cure of Poo?

Today we come to you with something a little bit out of the ordinary, even by our standards. I first came across this topic while listening to Freakonomics Podcast. Def one of my favourite podcasts so check it out if you haven’t already. The title of this particular podcast I listened to was ‘Power of Poop’. Now if you have already listened to it, you know where I’m going and might want to just all out stop reading now.

Mr Hanky- about as far as I'll go to putting an actual picture of poop. Image by cobalt123

Mr Hanky- about as far as I’ll go to putting an actual picture of poop. Image by cobalt123

The podcast is about a relatively new form of medical transplant. Often when we think of transplant, you think of a kidney or liver transplant. You don’t often hear of a poo transplant…yeah that’s right, poop. Inserting poo from one person into the body of another, affectionately dubbed a ‘transpoosion’.

The general idea of a transpoosion is that poo should be more thought of as an organ of sorts. Yes it contains lots of waste material, but it also has a lot of bacteria in it that helps a person’s regular bodily function.

If a person is sick, perhaps, just perhaps, there is an imbalance in the bacteria in their body that isn’t allowing regular function. So by doing a transpoosion, you can get that bacteria back into you quick smart. Another thought is that the bacteria from a transpoosion displaces the more pathogenic bacteria, so you heal better.

It’s definitely a far cry from regular forms of medical treatment like taking drugs, but this apparently works. It’s seen as a last ditch attempt and for good reason. It can be quite dangerous to simply be inserting poop randomly and you do need specific poo donors.

The mode of insertion is also rather…unappealing. If you’re lucky, poo inserted rectally does the job. But sometimes, you need the poo in your stomach rather than just your colons…so what better way than to get poo in your belly than a Poopshake. Yes, a poo milkshake.

I'll let you decide whats in this milkshake. Image by The Smokey

I’ll let you decide whats in this milkshake. Image by The Smokey

The Power of Poop podcast can be found here and due to popularity, they’ve released a second one here (that I’ve yet to listen to). Have a listen, let me know what you think. It’s certainly an interesting read but seeing as its quite a young field of research (though has been around in animals for quite some time), it’s difficult to tell whether it’s the miracle cure that it’s claimed to be.

So far, it’s been reported to treat everything from multiple sclerosis to severe diarrhea. But yes, I doubt any one of us is just dying to get a transpoosion any time soon…

Click here for a more technical analysis of poo transplants and some of the barriers

Over to you:

  • Would you consider getting a transpoosion?
  • If you had to have a poopshake, what flavour would you choose to mask the poop?
  • Do you know of any other outrageous medical cures?
  • What other crazy things could we do with poop?

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