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Fecal Microbiota Transplantation: A Brief History


Sahill Khanna, MBBS, MS, associate professor of medicine, in the department of Gastroenterology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, provides a brief overview of the history of fecal microbiota transplantation.

Interview Transcript (modified slightly for readability):

"Fecal transplant or stool transplant—harnessing bacteria from stool from one living being and putting them into another—has been a practice that’s been around for awhile. If you go back through the history of medicine, as early as the 4th century there were reports in Chinese medicine where they were doing these procedures. There have also been reports in veterinary medicine in the 17th century that this was happening to treat horses with diarrhea.

In modern medicine, the first reports were in 1958, where a surgeon used stool from one person and placed them into another person with Pseudomembranous colitis. At that time, we didn’t even know that C. difficile existed as a cause of human diarrhea. In the late eighties, and now, for the last ten years or so, we’ve seen an upsurge of fecal transplantation being used as a treatment for C. difficile infection clinically, and also being used as research for other diseases.
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