The Fecal Frontier: Deluxe Edition

by Kevin Boehnke

Written for the prompt: What is the most important fundamental mystery in biology today that, if unlocked by basic research, would yield the greatest dividends for human health? Poop. This ubiquitous, noxious substance provokes an instinctive reaction of disgust, and for good reason – it harbors deadly pathogens. Despite the near-universality of poop and fart jokes, humans have spent much …

Expanding the borders of the fecal frontier

by Kevin Boehnke

The uses for feces are expanding rapidly, like the Mongolian empire.

Despite their gross out factor, fecal transplants – essentially, a poop enema – have revolutionized treatment of Clostridium difficile, a violent diarrheal infection commonly acquired in hospitals. Many researchers (myself included) have excitedly speculated about vast number of potential uses for fecal transplants: treating autoimmune disease, gut disorders, and maybe even metabolic syndromes like diabetes. Indeed, fecal transplants are conquering medicine …

The Fecal Frontier

by Kevin Boehnke

We are in the dawn of a new age. Where clean, synthetic drugs of the classic Western medicine have fallen short, doctors have started using poop to treat diseases. Poop, a hazardous substance that overwhelmingly triggers our inherent disgust, is full of bacteria which appear to be able to re-calibrate the microbiome when it is unbalanced. This may hold the key to saving …