- The Loom
Taking the Yuck Out of Microbiome Medicine
I can still remember the shock I felt when I heard about fecal microbiota transplants for the first time. It is not the sort of thing you forget.
At a microbiology conference, a scientist was giving a lecture about the microbiome–the microbes that live harmlessly inside of us. She described one unusual case she was involved in where a doctor named Alexander Khoruts used the microbiome to save a patient’s life. The patient had taken antibiotics for a lung infection. While the drugs cleared that infection, they also disrupted the ecology of her gut, allowing a life-threatening species of bacteria called Clostridium difficile to take over. The pathogen was causing horrific levels of diarrhea. Khoruts couldn’t stop it,