Comparable strategies started to catch on with European veterinarians and physicians. Within the seventeenth century, Italian anatomist Girolamo Fabrizio described a easy method in cows, sheep and different ruminants that required solely the switch of chewed meals from a wholesome animal to a sick one to deal with gastrointestinal issues. Veterinarians now name this remedy “transfaunation”. The method, after all, additionally transfers micro organism, protozoa and fungi. Veterinarians use a siphon to transplant the contents of a donor animal’s rumen, its first abdomen compartment, to a recipient, very similar to a motorist would possibly siphon petrol into an empty gas tank.
In 1696, German doctor Christian Franz Paullini penned his infamous and immensely widespread Heilsame Dreck-Apotheke (Salutary Filth-Pharmacy). Paullini compiled a whole lot of prescriptions from the medical literature and his personal observe, all dedicated to the healing powers of faeces, urine and different bodily secretions starting from menstrual blood to earwax. Amongst his many recipes, he included one which used poo to deal with dysentery.
One of many first indications that microbial remedy would possibly assist rebalance the human intestine arrived in 1910, when the Journal of Superior Therapeutics reported briefly on a brand new method for treating “continual intestinal putrefactions”. The journal described how a health care provider had handled the intestinal dysfunction by injecting Bacillus micro organism into the rectum of every affected person each 4 days, resulting in a noticeable shift within the resident bacterial inhabitants.
Practically 50 years later, a health care provider named Ben Eiseman, Chief of Surgical procedure on the Denver Veterans Administration Hospital, used faecal enemas to treatment three males and one lady of a life-threatening inflammatory situation referred to as pseudomembranous enterocolitis. Though Eiseman linked the intestinal illness to a widely known pathogen referred to as Staphylococcus aureus, scientists now suspect the true offender was C. diff. Amid the dry medical language of his case experiences, Eiseman recorded remarkably related outcomes for every. “There was a right away and dramatic response by this critically ailing affected person to a fecal retention enema,” he famous for the primary. However, he concluded, “enteric-coated capsules could be each extra aesthetic and more practical”.
An advert hoc experiment involving capsules, in truth, was already underway on the east coast of the USA on the route of a surgeon who frightened that the heavy use of pre-operative antibiotics was disrupting the traditional intestinal flora of his sufferers. In 1957, the surgeon instructed a younger bacteriologist named Stanley Falkow to start gathering stool samples from surgical sufferers admitted to an unnamed hospital. Falkow, now a microbiologist and immunologist at Stanford College in Palo Alto, California, remembers dividing every affected person’s poo into 12 massive gelatin capsules earlier than stashing the gathering in a refrigerated ice-cream carton. The sufferers have been then despatched residence with a prescription of two capsules per day in an try to re-establish their pre-surgical intestinal microbes.
Anecdotal experiences on the time advised that enrollees on this uncontrolled medical trial have been faring higher than different post-surgical sufferers. However Falkow writes that they in all probability by no means knew what they have been ingesting. The experiment got here to an abrupt finish when the chief hospital administrator came upon and accused him of feeding sufferers their very own shit.
Medical doctors have since developed greater than half a dozen methods to switch faecal microbes to their sufferers, however a extra formal follow-up to Eiseman’s suggestion must wait one other half-century.
When you ask individuals from Burkina Faso, India and the UK what disgusts them, chances are high excessive that their lists will all embrace poo. “Most likely of the entire elicitors of disgust that we’ve collected from research all over the world, that’s essentially the most common,” says Valerie Curtis, a self-described “disgustologist” and Director of the Hygiene Centre on the London College of Hygiene and Tropical Drugs.
There’s a great motive for that “yuck issue”, she says. Researchers have recognized dozens of widespread species of disease-causing organisms in our poo, starting from parasites and amoebae to micro organism, fungi and viruses. For our ancestors, Curtis hypothesises, revulsion at that potent reservoir of illness might have been a matter of self-preservation. Those that didn’t keep away would have fallen ailing extra usually, reducing their possibilities of reproducing efficiently.
It’s not simply poo. Something that comes out of one other human physique – blood, sweat, vomit, urine, semen, saliva – can elicit a fear-based feeling of disgust that it’d get into yours, she says. “As a result of different individuals are the prime sources of the ailments which may make you sick, we actually don’t need to produce other individuals’s stuff inside us.” The identical is true of our personal secretions, as soon as they’ve been expelled. “Attempt spitting in a clear glass, then ingesting it!”