Could hunter gatherer faeces (poo) hold the answer to our health problems?
The scientific world is rapidly uncovering a vast population of organisms which exist inside every human being on earth; the microbiome. These microbes mostly inhabit the human digestive system, and prestigious universities around the globe are uncovering incredible facts about their impact on human health, such as their positive effect on our metabolic, immune and neurological systems.
This significant interest in the actions of the gut microbiota has prompted a rise in treatment methods which focus on restoring a healthy microbiome after it has been damaged from, for instance, antibiotic treatment. Faecal Microbial Transplant, quite literally a ‘poo transplant’ is one of the procedures in this area gaining a lot of momentum in the medical community, quite simply because one gram of your poo contains more microbes than there are people on earth.
Largely touted for it’s almost 100% cure rate of the often deadly c.difficile infection, the procedure is now being looked at as a method to treat various other conditions from digestive ailments like irritable bowel disease and Crohn’s, immune conditions such as asthma and neurological conditions such as depression and Parkinson’s.
Professor Thomas Borody from the Centre for Digestive Diseases, who features in the film whilst performing an FMT, postulates that ‘untainted’ gut floras could be a ‘key’ ingredient in restoring specific gut microbes which may have been lost due to antibiotic treatment. As more knowledge is gained in this area it may be possible to share and assign certain microbiome signatures for various health ailments.
A poo sharing network? It may not be as farfetched as it sounds.
Journalist & filmmaker Kale Brock (previously Network Ten) investigates this phenomenon in his upcoming documentary The Gut Movie; with the curious tagline ‘A story about poo & the future of medicine.’
In the film, we follow Brock’s journey from Australia to the Namibian desert, where he pitches up a tent to live with The San, a tribe of traditional hunter gatherers who live off the land. The San take him foraging for food, dancing, and hunting with poisonous arrows amongst some of the most dangerous animals on earth in the African wild.
Brock tests his personal microbiome by conducting a ‘poo analysis’ before the trip and also tests it whilst in Africa, demonstrating the changes brought on by living with The San in their natural environment. In a quirky, hilarious scene, Brock also requests samples of The San’s own poo (this provides ample entertainment in itself) to be analysed back in Australia at the conclusion of the trip. The scientific results are a fascinating conclusion to
the story and prompt conversation about the microbiome and its role in the future of medicine.
The Gut Movie Official Australian Tour begins in Adelaide on November 5th, 2017 and travels to 10 other cinemas around the country.
Limited tickets and further details can be found at kalebrock.com.au/gutmovie.
Contact: Kale or Tim firstname.lastname@example.org