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Fecal Transplantation: The Grossest Way to Get You Well Again
Fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) is a successful, albeit disgusting way to cure gastrointestinal diseases. It is also being tested to treat other illnesses. FMT helps replace beneficial gut bacteria whose numbers have been reduced in the microbiome of the human colon.
Here’s a weird reason to thank your mom. When you were born, you inherited her microbiome. That includes trillions of bacteria, which today inhabit your gut. Picture this, for every one cell in your body there are ten microbes that also live in it. Besides multitudes, there are thousands of different varieties. Some of these bacterial flora are beneficial, others pathogenic, and others still neutral. After inheriting it, changes due to diet, biological makeup, and environment will change the makeup of your microbiome. In time, this miniature ecosystem becomes as unique to the person as their fingerprint.
Currently, not much is known about the microbiota as it is also called. These bacteria and their impact on human health are being studied rigorously today for ways to prevent and cure illness. A balance between varieties could provide homeostasis, while an abundance of a particular kind, usually a pathogen, could mean the onset of disease. Due to this, beneficial kinds must be present en masse to fulfill important functions.
Of the beneficial varieties, one type boosts the immune system, another regulates metabolism, and others manufacture crucial hormones and neurotransmitters, serotonin being one. There are those who believe that our antiseptic environment, the widespread use of antibiotics—particularly in the food supply, and our lack of contact with soil and bacteria result in a limited amount of beneficial bacteria in our systems. This in turn contributes to disease.
Healthful bacteria reintroduced into the colon.
One instance is when something, usually antibiotics, knocks off too many colonies of healthful bacteria, allowing the pathogens to surge in number. For instance, an overabundance of one type, Clostridium difficile, or C. diff. causes a condition known as C. diff. colitis, typified by painful diarrhea. It can be deadly. A new therapy seeks to reintroduce the lost beneficial bacteria and restore balance. It is known as a fecal microbiota transplant (FMT). Here, stool from a healthy donor is screened for parasites and other pathogens, diluted, cleaned with a saline solution, strained, and implanted into the patient’s colon. Implantation occurs through an enema or a medical procedure such as an endoscopy, a colonoscopy, or a sigmoidoscopy.
Around 347,000 Americans were diagnosed with C. diff. colitis in 2012 and 14,000 died from it, according to the CDC. Meanwhile, FMT patients show an 85% success rate, as opposed to the 20% rate via standard antibiotic treatment. In many instances, a miraculous rejuvenation occurs after just one dose. There is some data that shows this therapy may also be beneficial for treating certain autoimmune disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), ulcerative colitis, or Crohn’s disease. It may someday become a standard cure for chronic diarrhea as well. It’s important to note that all of these condition are on the rise both in the U.S. and worldwide.
In 2013, the FDA classified fecal matter as an Investigational New Drug (IND) as well as a biologic. Since then, more than 7,000 FMT procedures have been performed. Few side effects have been reported. It is low-risk, minimally invasive, and cost-effective. Unfortunately, it is not often covered by insurance. Today, studies are testing FMT on colitis, obesity, diabetes, and more. So many donors are needed to feed such studies that one company, called OpenBiome, is even offering $13,000 annually for stool sample donors, if they can meet some very rigorous criteria. One must lead an exceptionally healthy lifestyle, among other parameters. Out of the first 1,000 applicants, only 40 qualified.
Also known as bacteriotherapy, FMT is practiced by just a few gastroenterologists across the country. Due to this, the fact that the procedure has not been recommended by any professional medical societies, and that it is not covered by insurers, FMT is not yet widely accepted. Also, there is sort of a regulatory backlog, since the FDA does not know how to categorize bacteriotherapy. It isn’t exactly a biologic, a drug, a vaccine, or a medical device.
Vials to be used in FMT.
The regulatory confusion and the snail’s pace of science has left many desperate patients wrestling with excruciating situations. Some are taking matters into their own hands. Today, a small but growing cadre of patients are trying do-it-at-home fecal transplants. Blogs, videos on YouTube, Facebook pages, and others tout techniques and miracle turnarounds. Apparently, a chocolate milkshake-like consistency works best. There are even broker websites such as PowerofPoop, which will connect a patient with a fecal donor for a fee, costing anywhere from $30 to $200. A lab screening fee is included. Patients receive the donation then use an enema to insert it into the colon.
Though some patients claim that the home therapy has saved their life, the unregulated nature of this phenomenon has some public health officials and medical professionals concerned. In one reported case, a woman who received a donation from her obese daughter rapidly gained 30 pounds. Researchers believe certain bacteria are responsible for storing and burning calories. For those interested in going DIY, be sure to discuss it with your doctor and remember, this is a new therapy, and the side effects are still not well known.
To learn more about FMT click here:
Sample Melbourne's best coffee without leaving an ecological footprint.
- The massive increase in single-use coffee pods has led to an environmental catastrophe.
- Plastic pods are notorious for their inability to break down in landfills.
- Thankfully, a new wave of eco-friendly compostable pods is coming to the market.
Can an orgasm a day really keep the doctor away?
- Achieving orgasm through masturbation provides a rush of feel-good hormones (such as dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin) and can re-balance our levels of cortisol (a stress-inducing hormone). This helps our immune system function at a higher level.
- The surge in "feel-good" hormones also promotes a more relaxed and calm state of being, making it easier to achieve restful sleep, which is a critical part in maintaining a high-functioning immune system.
- Just as bad habits can slow your immune system, positive habits (such as a healthy sleep schedule and active sex life) can help boost your immune system which can prevent you from becoming sick.
How masturbation affects your brain...<p>Orgasms are a very common human phenomenon. The physical and mental health benefits have been researched frequently as a result, and yet, there is still so much to be learned about how our bodies and brains react to the chemicals and hormones released during and after experiencing this type of sexual release.</p><p>"The amount of speculation versus actual data on both the function and value of orgasm is remarkable" explains Julia Heiman, director of the <a href="https://kinseyinstitute.org/" target="_blank">Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction</a>.</p><p>Masturbation causes a rush of <a href="https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/what-is-dopamine" target="_blank">dopamine</a>, which is a chemical that is associated with our ability to feel pleasure. Along with the rush of dopamine that is released during an orgasm, there is also a release of a hormone called <a href="https://www.livescience.com/42198-what-is-oxytocin.html" target="_blank">oxytocin</a>, which is commonly referred to as the "love hormone."<br></p><p>This concoction of chemicals does more than just boost our mood, it also can play a key role in decreasing stress and promoting relaxation. Oxytocin decreases <a href="https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/what-is-cortisol" target="_blank">cortisol</a>, which is a stress hormone that is usually present (in high volumes) during times of anxiety, fear, panic, or distress. </p><p>According to BDSM and fetish researcher <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists/dr-gloria-brame-colbert-ga/278388" target="_blank">Dr. Gloria Brame</a>, an orgasm is the biggest non-drug induced blast of dopamine that we can experience. </p><p>By boosting the oxytocin and dopamine levels and subsequently decreasing our cortisol levels, the brain is placed in a more relaxed, euphoric, and calm state. </p>
Masturbation boosts your immune system and raises your white blood cell count.<p>How do those effects on the brain from reaching orgasm translate to boosting our immune system and making our body healthier?</p><p>The increase of oxytocin and dopamine that causes a decrease in cortisol levels can help boost our immune system because cortisol (well-known for being a stress-inducing hormone) actually helps maintain your immune system if released in small doses. </p><p>According to <a href="https://www.health24.com/Sex/Great-sex/incredible-health-benefits-to-masturbating-20181030-2" target="_blank">Dr. Jennifer Landa</a>, a hormone-therapy specialist, masturbation can produce the right kind of environment for a strengthened immune system to thrive. </p><p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15316239" target="_blank">A study</a> conducted by the Department of Medical Psychology at the University Clinic of Essen (in Germany) showed similar results. A group of 11 volunteers were asked to participate in a study that would look at the effects of orgasm through masturbation on the white blood cell count and immune system.</p><p>During this experiment, the white blood cell count of each participant was analyzed through measures that were taken 5 minutes before and 45 minutes after reaching a self-induced orgasm. </p><p>The results confirmed that sexual arousal and orgasm increased the number of white blood cells, particularly the natural killer cells that help fight off infections. </p><p>The findings confirm that our immune system is positively affected by sexual arousal and self-induced orgasm and promote even more research into the positive impacts of sexual arousal and orgasm. </p>
Masturbation can ease and prevent pain, which allows you to achieve the restful sleep that helps your immune system stay strong and healthy.<p>The benefits of masturbation have long been debated, but the more research that is done on the topic the more we understand that there are many positive reactions that happen in our bodies and brains when we orgasm.</p><p>Orgasms can help prevent or mitigate pain, which boosts the immune system, preventing cold and flu symptoms. </p><p>According to neurologist and headache specialist Stefan Evers, about one in three patients experience relief from migraine attacks by experiencing sexual activity or orgasm. Evers and his team <a href="https://www.livescience.com/27642-sex-relieves-migraine-pain.html" target="_blank">conducted an experiment</a> with 800 migraine patients and 200 patients who suffered from cluster-headaches to see how their experiences with sexual activity impacted their pain levels. </p><p>The study showed that 60% of migraine sufferers experienced pain relief after participating in sexual activity that resulted in orgasm. Of the cluster-headache sufferers, about 50% said their headaches actually worsened after sexual arousal and orgasm. </p><p>Evers suggested in his findings that the people who did not experience pain relief from migraines of headaches during their sexual activity did not release as large amounts of endorphins as those who did experience pain relief. </p><p>According to <a href="https://www.sharecare.com/health/chronic-pain/chronic-pain-affect-immune-system" target="_blank">rheumatologist Dr. Harris McIlwain</a>, people who suffer from chronic pain have immune systems that are simply not functioning at full capacity - therefore, alleviating pain (through orgasm, as an example) can help boost the immune system. </p><p>Orgasms can also promote relaxation and make it easier to fall asleep. Serotonin, oxytocin, and norepinephrine are all hormones that are released during sexual arousal and orgasm, and all three are known for counteracting stress hormones and promoting relaxation, which makes it much easier for you to fall asleep.</p><p>There are <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1233384" target="_blank">several studies</a> showing that serotonin and norepinephrine help our body cycle through REM and deep non-REM sleeping cycles. During these sleep cycles, the immune system releases proteins called <a href="https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/how-sleep-affects-your-immunity" target="_blank"><span id="selection-marker-1" class="redactor-selection-marker"></span>cytokines<span id="selection-marker-2" class="redactor-selection-marker"></span></a>, which target infection and inflammation. This is a critical part of our immune response. Cytokines are both produced and released throughout our bodies while we sleep, which proves the importance of a good sleep schedule to a healthy immune system.</p>
Masturbation promotes a high-functioning immune system; a healthy immune system prevents cold and flu.<p>The immune system is a balanced network of cells and organs that work together to defend you against infections and diseases by stopped threats like bacteria and viruses from entering your system. While there are many things we need to do to keep our immune systems functioning at optimal levels, masturbation (or other means of achieving orgasm) has proven to have positive effects on the immune system as a whole.</p><p>Just as bad habits (such as an inconsistent sleep schedule or harmful chemicals in your body) can slow your immune system, positive habits (such as a healthy sleep schedule and active sex life) can help boost your immune system. </p>
Workers are adjusting to their new employment reality on couches and kitchen tables across the nation.
A new study suggests that an old tuberculosis vaccine may reduce the severity of coronavirus cases.
- A new study finds a country's tuberculosis BCG vaccination is linked to its COVID-19 mortality rate.
- More BCG vaccinations is connected to fewer severe coronavirus cases in a country.
- The study is preliminary and more research is needed to support the findings.
Professor Luis Escobar.
Credit: Virginia Tech