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Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Urgent Medical need for Poop Donation. Altruism trumps cash, study finds

New research as The No. 1 reason people donate 
No. 2 is benevolence, not bucks, researchers reported Tuesday.

“There’s an urgent medical need for stool donation, but many people have trouble getting over the ‘ick factor,’” said study lead author Breanna McSweeney, a medical student at University of Alberta, Canada.

One of the reasons for the urgency is C difficile (C. diff), an intestinal infection that’s common in hospitals, especially for elderly patients. C. diff infections kill 29,000 people in the U.S. and make 450,000 sick, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. FMT has been shown to be an effective cure when antibiotics fail.

“Unfortunately, potential donors can be very difficult to recruit and retain,” McSweeney noted at the Digestive Disease Week meeting in Washington, D.C. “We wanted to learn more about what motivates and deters people from participating,”
To find out, the team gave 802 people in the U.S., Canada and England a survey with 32 questions related to stool donation and fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) – the official term for poop transplants.

Nearly 42% of participants said altruism and “a desire to help” would compel them to donate. About 35% of respondents said cash payment would be an additional motivator.

Ashleigh Peterson, 34, a research coordinator at University of Alberta, has donated poop for three years.
“People do look shocked when I tell them I’ve done it,” she said. “But it’s easier than making an appointment to have blood drawn.”

Donors collect their stool at home and bring it to a lab for processing. “After a transplant, people have their lives back,” she told The News. “That was my motivation.”
FMT involves transferring good microorganisms from a healthy donor into a patient with C diff infection via colonoscopy, endoscopy or enema. Good bacteria grow in the patient’s colon and prevent C. diff from overgrowing again.
To make this life-saving therapy readily available, it is vital to have a large bank of healthy stool donors.

Compared to giving blood, “the concept of stool donation may seem strange,” McSweeney acknowledged. “But it’s important to remember that is has the potential to save someone’s life.”

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