The Loh Down On Science

Strange Medicine

Sorry, Mary Poppins--no spoonful of sugar will help this medicine go down!

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Clostridium difficile, or C. diff., is a terrible intestinal infection that kills over 14,000 Americans each year.

The traditional treatment? Antibiotics. But these very same medications are actually making the problem worse. Why? Because antibiotics kill all bacteria, good and bad. And knocking out helpful bacteria along with the C. diff. puts patients at even greater risk.

The newest treatment? Brace yourself--here it comes--fecal transplants. That's right. Healthy family members of C. diff. patients donate poop to the patient! Usually via colonoscopy or nasogastric tube.

Doctors hope this highly effective treatment will offset the damage done by overuse of antibiotics.

Fecal transplants help restore healthy bacteria to the intestines and colon. Over a two-year study, researchers found that roughly 90 percent of transplant patients fully recovered from C. diff. with no adverse side effects.

Except an occasional shiver when they thought about it. Euuuh. I'm okay!

The Loh Down on Science is produced by LDOS Media Lab, with 89.3 KPCC Pasadena, California. And made possible by the generous support of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

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