More on Excrement

Check out Carnal Carnival #1: Essentials of Elimination, hosted by Bora at A Blog Around the Clock. It's a fascinating collection of blog posts all about poop. (The post I put up yesterday on sanitation is among them.) Many of the posts are about the interesting things scientists can learn by studying excrement - human or animal, fresh or fossilized.

A couple of the posts deal with a topic that seems to be attracting more and more attention: gut flora, or the microbiome. Basically, our digestive systems are colonized by a range of microbes, some of which assist us with digestion and vitamin synthesis. As a whole, these microbes may protect us by occupying space that might otherwise allow harmful bacteria to establish themselves.

Mike the Mad Biologist focuses on the statistics in a recent study that compared the bacteria present in the stool of children from Europe who ate a Western diet to those present in the stool of children from rural Burkina Faso who ate a less-processed, more fiber-rich diet.

The Lorax at Angry By Choice describes a study in which 15 patients suffering from severe Clostridium difficile infections received stool transplants from family members with "normal" microbiota - and 13 of the 15 recovered almost immediately. (Tara Smith at Aetiology has another interesting post on an earlier case series involving such "fecal transplants.")

So, this month's Carnal Carnival includes one post about the importance of eliminating exposure to excrement and another about how exposure to certain excrement may be beneficial - plus many other poop-related posts that are well worth a read. Next month's topic will be regurgitation; host Dr. Carin Bondar has the details.

More like this

I just though you all would be interested in this ;) There's a new Chinese saying: When life hands you panda poop, make paper. Researchers at a giant panda reserve in southern China are looking for paper mills to process their surplus of fiber-rich panda excrement into high quality paper. ... The…
On an academic level, I am not a fan of bacteria. I like viruses. Thus, I usually like the idea of using viruses to kill bacteria. But I am a huge fan of fecal bacteriotherapy, aka, poop transplants. Someone is sick, they get antibiotics. Antibiotics kill off their 'normal' bacteria, and allow 'bad…
"Yes, I'd like a dozen doughnuts, please." "Are you sure, sir? If I were you I'd run as fast as I could from this shop and head for the nearest bakery for some whole grain bread." "You work here and you're trying to discourage me from buying your product?" "I know it sounds crazy, but you see - I'…
It's not often that medical science seems nuttier than its alternative.  On Respectful Insolence, Orac dismisses the enema as a cure for all ills, writing that the "liver, colon, and kidneys" are specialized to remove toxins, and you won't "become chronically ill if you don’t shoot water up your…

And for information on composting toilets, go to http://www.riles.org There are lots of examples of using the basic Clivus Multrum design in low resource or water scarce communities on this site.

By Dick Clapp (not verified) on 21 Aug 2010 #permalink