Are Poo Banks The New Antibiotics?
We are not joking!
Having someone else’s faecal matter pumped into you sounds more like a scene from the recent horror film The Human Centipede. But stool banks may be the most dramatic development in human healthcare since the discovery of antibiotics, as Professor Adam Hart, author of the popular science book TheLife of Poo, will explain at this year’s Malvern Festival of Innovation.
Scientists have found that problems with the bacteria living in our gut could be at the root of many diseases that are on the increase in the 21stcentury. They have even made links between bacteria in the gut and mental health. By stockpiling healthy stools in a Poo Bank, people could be able to have a Faecal Microbiota Transplant (FMT) as a start point to getting well, as Professor Hart explains:
“The bacteria that live in our gut are absolutely crucial, not just for digestion but, incredibly, for our immune system. As bizarre as it sounds FMT has been really effective in treating people who have become infected with bacteria that are able to resist all the antibiotics we can throw at them. And FMT can also help to restore a healthy gut community after we have nuked them with antibiotics. With more and more links between health and gut bacteria being found almost daily, we are entering a new world of medicine – we are going to have to become managers of our internal ecosystem!”
There are already a few “start-up” stool banks in the world, mostly in the USA. But Professor Hart foresees a time when we might have our own personal poo bank, stocked with our own stools from when we are healthy. Professor Hart adds:
“We self-sabotage our healthy guts by eating poorly and being bad managers of our own ecosystem. If we stored our own stools at a point when our guts are healthy, they might be the only treatment we need”.
Professor Adam Hart will be talking about our complex relationship with bacteria and the future of medicine at the Next Generation Innovators Schools’ Day during the Malvern Festival of Innovation.
For more details, visit http://www.festival-innovation.com/programme