There is an old saying that goes, “With friends like this, who needs enemies?” That was a sentiment somewhat felt when I saw a tweet from my friend Judge David Langham, where he cited an article outlining the search for “Super Poo Donors” and suggesting it would be a perfect topic for one of my blogs.
Damnit, the man just gets me.
It is also ironic that the topic du jour could also benefit from a very slight modification of that old saying. I mean, when it comes to Super Poo Donors; with friends like that, who needs enemas? I suppose I should start from the beginning. It is by far a much cleaner place than the end of this particular tale (tail?).
Scientists have known for some time that the feces of healthy people might contain an ideal mix of healing bacteria to fix gut diseases. The procedure, known as fecal implantation, takes the fecal donations of one person and places them into the bowels of another. The “good bacteria” present in the healthy persons poo will help to alleviate issues in the sick patient. Early trials of the procedure have shown it to be effective for treating recurrent clostridium difficile colitis. That condition is caused by Clostridium difficile, an infectious bacterium. Colitis refers to inflammation of the inner lining of the colon, which can produce a range of symptoms. Those symptoms include diarrhea, stomach pain or cramps, nausea, fever, loss of appetite, dehydration, and in severe cases, blood in the stool.
While a C. diff infection is not often the result of a workers' compensation accident, it can be a complicating factor resulting from prolonged treatment of an injured worker. People most prone to this problem are those who are taking a long course of antibiotics, spending a lot of time in hospitals, having gastrointestinal surgery, having a weakened immune system, having kidney or liver disease or are taking proton pump inhibitors. Certainly, it is a condition that can arise out of certain workplace injuries and illness.
For the more jaded claims managers among us, fecal transplantation represents an opportunity to give your injured workers shit while still helping them at the same time.
Now scientists are coming to the belief that not all poo is the same. They believe that some people generate more effective material than others, although it is not yet clear what it is that makes the difference. The search is on, nonetheless, for so called “super-donors;” people whose feces are chock full of good bacteria that is more effective in treating certain illnesses.
According to BBC News, Dr. Justin O'Sullivan is a molecular biology expert at the University of Auckland and he has been investigating the concept of super poo donors. He says, "We see transplants from super-donors achieve clinical remission rates of perhaps double the remaining average.” He also talks about the potential of other future treatments, saying, "Our hope is that if we can discover how this happens, then we can improve the success of fecal transplantation and even trial it for new microbiome-associated conditions like Alzheimer's, multiple sclerosis and asthma."
Asthma? Really? I don't care how super-duper the poo is, I am not breathing that crap in anytime soon. Besides, it would probably clog the inhaler.
At any rate, researchers are hoping to help overcome the stigma associated with the process. They are wanting people to get beyond the “poo taboo” and be willing to give people crap – literally.
If this catches on, I wonder if they will have collection efforts similar to blood drives? We can envision the time when companies can sponsor fecal donation days and give extra incentives to employees who visit the PooMobile in the parking lot. Out of that process we are sure to find some super donors lurking in the shadows.
Maybe you should try it. You never know, you might end up being designated an SDP; a Super Duper Pooper, helping mankind one donation at a time.
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Robert Wilson is President & CEO of WorkersCompensation.com, and "From Bob's Cluttered Desk" comes his (often incoherent) thoughts, ramblings, observations and rants - often on workers' comp or employment issues, but occasionally not.
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