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.