Fecal transplants? What?
Recently, I was having lunch with an old girlfriend (when I say ‘old girlfriend’ these days, I mean social security plus), and she asked me what I considered to be a very odd question. If I needed a kidney, would you give me one of yours? Jeez, what a question. Like a test, or something. I answered very frankly that I loved both of my kidneys, and would have trouble parting with either one (my right kidney is my favorite). But I softened this honest, forthright response by solemnly pledging that if the need ever arose in which she required a fecal transplant, that I would certainly step forward and unconditionally donate some of my cock-a-doodle-doo. To this, she gave me this contemptuous look with her typical lip curl, gathered up her purse, and abruptly left me stranded at the restaurant (without even offering to pay half the bill). I’m tellin’ ya, no gratitude with some people, and here I was offering a piece of myself – some of my pure, precious, bodily fluids … mixed with some solids. Jeez!
The thing of it is she most likely didn’t know what I was talking about, despite the fact that microbiome/microbiota and fecal transplants are in the news all over the place these days. Microbiota refers to the microorganisms in the digestive tract. Don’t panic when you here this, but there are trillions (a trillion is a 1 followed by 12 zeros) of microbes in your gut, consisting of bacteria, fungi and a bunch of other micro stuff. They help in digesting food and support the immune system. And now… drum roll … we’re learning that these tiny little critters, what Leeuwenhoek (guy who developed early microscopes) called animalcules, can govern your mood – might even be specifically responsible for depression and bipolar disorder. Beyond that, and of interest to our group, is the tantalizing discovery relating microbiota to Parkinson’s Disease. Researchers have found that PwP (people with Parkinson’s) have different microbiota than those who don’t have PD, and that there may be a causal relationship in this finding based on a gut-brain connection.
Yes, I know what you’re thinking: How in hell can there be a connection between intestinal caca and the brain? Well, the current investigations say that PD may originate in the gut and spread via the nervous system to the regions in the brain affecting movement (substantia nigra). Based on this interaction, it has logically been proposed that a fecal transplant (more formally called “Fecal Microbiota Transplanation,” FMT) might be an effective treatment intervention for Parkinson’s.
So that’s why I was so gallantly offering my old girlfriend a free fecal transplant (see! chivalry aint dead) – to treat her foul mood, in this case. Listen, I eat Cheerios and Special K, and I make sure that I get enough roughage to keep on being the regular guy that I am. (I have very fine peristaltic movements, thank you.) I am quite sure that I am the owner of the finest quality fecal matter in the land (fortified stool, is what it is), and I only wanted to be supportive, selfless and kind, and give my fare-beating ex-girlfriend the best available (superior) feces. Did she accept my magnanimous offer? Absolutely not! She was evidently still in a high dudgeon when she delivered her simple, unrefined reply. She just said: Don’t give me any of your s…t!
Okay, I won’t. And I’m not going to tell her about some good news. Get this: Now available is a freeze-dried form of poo that can be ingested orally! Yep, you heard right. No joke. Today, modern science has enabled you to get your fecal transplant in capsule form. Not that I would swallow one of those. Lao Du
Addendum: Oh, and by the way, fecal transplants for PD is only in an experimental stage. Not to worry, though – when it’s clinically available, I’ll be around. And I promise no exorbitant fees for my pristine and immaculate excretions. My excreta is sweeta … if only I do say so myself. LD