That people studying these links persisted and have created many reproducible experiments that demonstrate the connection is a testament both to perseverance and to science.
When people try to argue that science is "people making things up." as a reason for disbelieving science that challenges their beliefs, I use this example of fecal transplants as a real world case of how scientists challenge, confront, debate, and incorporate changes into their world views through process, review, and reproduction.
At some point, I would expect a fecal sample/biome to be part of one's periodic physical so that we could build a data set of biomes + medical history database that is a bit more comprehensive than the voluntary ones that exist today.
Finding a high quality doctor is extremely difficult for a normal person. You have to find someone who is young, athletic, very healthy, never taken antibiotics, and then do some medical tests on them (pretty much everything that's wrong with a person can be transferred through FMT). Finding such person, bringing up the subject with them, and getting them agree to help is very hard.
A company who could find and screen high quality FMT donors could make thousands of dollars just selling poop. Hundreds, if you're willing to drop prices to help people.
All you have to do is find a healthy person who matches the criteria, and spend $2000-$3000 doing a number of blood/stool tests (and retest them every few months). Also figure out how to freeze/package/ship the transplants in a way that does the least harm to the microbes.
If you are a healthy person who fits the description (or know someone who is), and are willing to help - please send me an email - firstname.lastname@example.org
I'm pretty sure you meant "donor" there, no?
I understand recent antibiotic use such as past 12-24 months, but never?
It's been this way for years. HN is really quite good when it comes to things in their wheelhouse (software, tech companies), but hilariously bad about diet and related issues, I suspect because it's a sore spot for many and they are in denial.
See, this is exactly what I'm talking about. I'm willing to bet that just like me, you're not an expert in that field. And there are people who are experts in the field, reviewing the literature, and have come up with a pretty good consensus.
In fact, I've recently done so owing to some recent health issues. As best I can tell there's almost no consensus among experts aside from "everything in moderation" and "eat a balanced diet" which isn't directed advice as much as hedging.
I have asked the various experts I've talked to why advice is so varied and their answer is that there is no consensus on many of these issues. Some had their own opinions about which parts might be right, others were clearly in the "it's a mess, just don't eat too much and wait and see" camp.
This is not a well developed field.
Particularly when consensus is not unanimous.
I'm basically regurgitating the Bad Food Bible book (written by Aaron Carroll, the guy who hosts HealthCareTriage).
Sources are under the video.
The guy is fighting the good fight (against USDA and so on), but this is still the HN is hilariously bad at diet and related issues.
Recommending reading one guys opinion on it sorta proves the point.
And as for diet, the studies are out there. I'm no expert, but I listen to people who could credibly be argued are (as one example Dr. Greger who reads tons of studies and cites them in his videos), and typically their advice comes down to common wisdom that people just don't want to hear: eat food, not too much, mostly plants.
We have a lot of known unknowns about gut biota. And a lot of people whose gut biota are literally killing them. And a lot of friends and family of those people. They are of course going to be frustrated. Especially when they look at how long those question marks have existed. Get to it already!
Feyman’s wife died while the antibiotic that saved people like her was in drug trials. Can you imagine being that close to a cure and missing it? When I read about people dying of infections mid century I have to pull up my calendar and just pity them a little bit more.
Listening to a recap of the effort to test the theories of relativity, it occurred to me that confirming "truth" may be just as hard as refuting falsehoods. It's certainly not easy.
Brandolini's law https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brandolini's_law
But the alternative is surely worse; to not test, to not review or to base treatment on other things than facts.
And, one more thing. The speed at which we have scienced the shit out of Covid (the amount of science that we have done in response to this virus) is, at least to me, astounding. If we succeed, which it looks like we will, to win this battle using the vaccines which are already available, it, not only, is in favour of science in fact being very quick, but could also be considered one of humanities greatest feats.
Alternatively I have been absolutely appalled at how slow our institutions have been to respond correctly in so many ways.
1. Anosmia: it took months before I heard about it, and months before it got added to lists of symptoms. A common and distinctive signal back before we had testing was an opportunity lost.
2. The emphasis on hand washing and the de-emphasis of transmission by air... dangerously retarded.
3. The whole face masks bullshit - all the probabilities pointed towards their use being beneficial... because even small reductions to the speed of transmission can reduce exponential growth.
4. The lack of information about real-world testing of transmission - presumably virus transmission was tested on people in more than one authoritarian country, yet I never saw the results of that testing surface.
The above are only some of the significant delays that I saw in the transmission of science and fact during the epidemic, and I haven’t even really looked into the topic in depth (mostly I just skimmed HN for information).
My best guess is my pinched nerve caused the sensation which I then experienced emotionally. Exactly no one any where suggested the possibility of a physical cause to an emotional state.
Scientific progress is not a straight line. More like bumps in the dark.
I think the body plays a much larger role in our emotional and mental states than we give it credit for.
This isn't an argument for rushing consensus before the evidence is strong enough, but the reasoning behind the initial mistakes was consistently laughably stupid, relying on vague platitudes instead of intellectual rigor. Medical culture is plagued with innumeracy, illusory hard binaries, poor critical thinking, and knee-jerk hyper-conservatism. While the first three are an unforgivable gap that the medical establishment needs to engage in some hard self-examination over, the latter is possibly a reasonable baseline culture for normal circumstances. However, it's horribly maladaptive in a situation like a pandemic, where time is a critical factor and the baseline cost of inaction is thousands of lives a day, trillions of dollars, as well as the PV of the future cost of exponential spread.
As always, I'll clarify that this is not a criticism of _doctors_ as individuals. All of the doctors I know are at least moderately intelligent and well-intentioned, but professional culture is a powerful force and medical school is a heavy-duty indoctrination device that I've seen make too many people _worse_ at thinking. I'm fairly close socially to a lot of doctors of various ages, and I've only seen the most intelligent ones I know manage to shake off this brainwashing enough to recover their critical thinking abilities.
Throw in the challenges of political engagement with expert fields....suffice it to say that Alex Tabarrok's fucking Twitter account was a better source of public health understanding than the WHO/CDC/FDA/policymakers combined.(I started that sentence as a joke, but I'm actually pretty sure that those ignoring the latter in favor of the former would have had a healthier, happier, safer pandemic experience).
 For example, Bob Wachter, the chairman of the Dept of Medicine at UCSF, came around to the idea of loosening the second-dose-reserved-at-all-costs orthodoxy after a little while, citing the basic math that the numerate among us had been screaming about since the beginning of the vaccine drive. His reason for his initial disagreement? "An unnecessary curveball". Doctors' misuse of and amateurish engagement with science would be amusing if it wasn't killing so many people.
 though the lever is probably jammed too hard in one direction due to liability concerns and inaction bias
 To the extent that pedigrees are useful for calibrating where this bar is: my double-Ivy-League-educated physician sister is miles below this intelligence bar
 As far as I'm concerned, the FDA has more blood on their hands than anyone at this point. Anybody who paid any attention to them before March 2020 should be completely unsurprised
But, as you elude to, none of that matters if public officials and decision makers don’t care for science.
Reasoning in this world is based on that. We only make predictions when something is tested, established or pure fact.
What I mean by pseudo-science type reasoning is; not based on any fact, nor any position which has been tested (scientifically), nor any established knowledge.
Instead it is often based on anecdotes or the reason is motivated or heavily biased.
Frankly, I don’t care too much about bad reasoning. But when there is risk that it might be understood as recommendations, and it might be unsafe for someone reading it, then I think it’s dangerous.
Or is transplanting a requirement?
It's pretty crazy that your gut biome can change the way your body responds to skin cancer treatment.
Could this work for basically anything immune-related? Maybe people who got COVID but were asymptomatic could donate some poop.
I was on lots of anti-biotics as a kid and I turned from skinny to fat at some point.
We know already from experiments/treatments being made that fecal transplants can make a fat person skinny for example (no I didn't do that :))
Personally I transformed my life from being very lethargic and not being able to tolerate anything but small amounts of certain foods and also alcoholic beverages without getting major migraines by getting the right probiotics. To give you an idea, eating leftover lasagna two days in a row was a sure fire way to get a migraine, as was drinking a bottle of alcohol-free beer and anything with alcohol was even worse. Even just small amounts. We're talking migraines where you feel like you're gonna puke and my eyesight was affected as well.
I felt really sick for about 2 weeks after starting the right probiotics. And it wasn't just any probiotics that would do. I tried out different ones, until I found a specific one that mainly differs in one bacterium from all the others I tried. Bacillus subtilis in case you're wondering. During that time my then current microbiome would've been fighting with the newly introduced strains. After that, I was no longer lethargic and slowly but surely I was able to tolerate foods in normal quantities again. Leftover lasagna is just awesome now, like it should be!
So yeah that's just a personal anecdote on how gut health can really eff up your life and health. So I can very well believe that people with a 'broken gut' would die more easily from COVID or get infected more easily with other things as well. But where's the money in simply fixing peoples guts? Isn't it 'better' if we make them sick, so we can then prescribe them stuff?
It has Saccharomyces Boulardii, like many if not most Probiotics, which is already good and I tried that one in isolation before as well. Then it has various Lactobacillus strains that are common in most Probiotics in some combination or another. If you specifically have problems with histimine, like me, then the different strains actually matter, because some produce histamine, while some reduce it or have no effect on it. I had tried various other probiotics that basically had zero effect, while this one had an effect. I can't prove it, but the only real difference on the labels I found was that this one had Bacillus subtilis, while none of the others I tried had it.
There are actually some Lactobacillus, that made my condition _worse_. You may know Danone Actimel, which makes probiotic claims. I can attest that they are true. The do have active Lactobacillus casei. I know, because it caused me headaches, because Lactobacillus casei actually _produces_ histamines, which is the cause of my migraines.
Worst headache I've ever had in my life was with a Zinc pill. Back then I had no idea why I sometimes got headaches. The capsules were Zinc + Histidine. Histidine being converted by the body into Histamine ... Which btw. is (big part of) what makes your hangover headache.
The other good thing is that if I now have a "slipup", I just take a Benadryl and it's all gone :)
Now I'm on one in the morning and one in the evening but I don't sweat it at all if I forget. I might be totally fine with just one.
Some of the strains definitely just stay for a little while. Saccharomyces Boulardii for example IIRC usually isn't capable of hanging around forever if it's not replenished from the outside. You can get a lot of these from eating things like Sauerkraut. AFAIK Bacillus Subtilis is a bacterium that people in previous times would have naturally gotten from eating stuff from their garden, i.e. it's a "soil bacterium", so if you ate cabbage from the garden and you couldn't get _all_ the dirt and included bacteria off it, you might have gotten some Bacillus Subtilis with it.
I do have a garden but don't eat enough stuff straight from it I suppose :)
So what characteristics would a good vs bad donor gut biome/fecal biome be?
You and the rest of the medical community. This is largely still an open question.
Thankfully this person seems to be responding to therapy, but it makes me wonder whether they will end up benefiting from microbiome therapy in the future.
Could it be diet, exercise, other things?
If this response turns out to be valid, in that fecal transplants materially affect these kinds of therapies ... it would seem to me that we need to spend a few $Billion researching this immediately, the potential outcomes for relatively non-invasiveness ... seems like massive ROI opportunity.
I’m convinced that pharmaceutical corporations have nothing to benefit from more effective treatments, which could largely be why we see smaller players doing these types of honorable and groundbreaking studies.
One study I’d love to see is the effect of treated tap water on our microbiome. If tap water is designed to kill micro-organisms, what could it be doing inside us?
Anecdotally, I have learned that immortality tends to be effective, and less hard on patients than other types of cancer treatment, but is held off because insurance providers don’t want to pay for it.
So a bad diet can definitely kick your microbiome out of whack, but I don't think that's the only cause.
True, but I think it's just one of those truths people know but don't want to hear: a baseline of good health is behaviors/habits that boost it, and that includes things like getting enough good sleep, adequate exercise and a diet that is not just enough food (not too little and not too much), but the right kind of food. If we're going to go down the path of judging some gut flora as "better" than others, it behooves us to discover how to get those gut flora, and it only makes sense a large part of that is what we ingest.
And yeah, I'm opposed to overuse of antibiotics too. In the same vein, fecal transplants seem like a quick fix that might be justifiable (ie cancer cases), but shouldn't be seen as a "get out of jail free card" for bad habits.
It's a clue, at least. So much we don't know.
It's definitely not a silver bullet... I feel like we still don't understand enough about the mechanisms surrounding the gut flora. This is flailing in the dark. Fingers crossed these results encourage more research into the biological chemistry behind this.
I'm not a scientist but isn't that a tiny sample?
> Artificial intelligence linked these changes to the gut microbiome, likely caused by FMT.
I have heard of fecal transplants being effective administered orally via capsule. Though that might be a bitter pill to swallow, I might prefer it to the other route...
I guess the counterpoint is that maybe we don't have to sanitize every damn thing in the world, since a sanitized world isn't a healthy world - and perhaps contributes to an individual's wonky biome.
It might actually be the transplanting of immune cells that helps strengthen the recipients' immune action
E.g. everyone in a 250 mile radius get fresh poop injections from the mother queen
I think both "digestive microbiome transfer" and "digestive microbiome transplant" sound perfectly fine, as both get rid of the "gross" part of the name. But I think that "transfer" is slightly better, because "transplant" invokes associations with something being surgically put into my body and attached to stay there permanently. While "transfer" doesn't have the same sense of permanence and seriousness attached to it.
I hear stories of people using alternative “medicine” and eschewing (normal|western)? medicine, so I think you are incorrect. Anecdotally I personally know of one person who used indigenous herbs to treat their cancer (I don’t know the outcome of that).
"early digestive microbiome transfer" would be .. bar.. puk..
emetic reflux transplantation.
Hmmm ... for some reason they decided to rebrand themselves as Coherent, Inc.
 - https://inhabitat.com/starbucks-admits-its-strawberry-drinks...
Aside - tracts of Australia, and doubtless elsewhere, have a major problem with the cactus that was introduced specifically to feed these beetles -- Opuntia aurantiaca, aka tiger pear.
A cousin of the better known (and edible-fruiting) prickly pear, this one has smaller pads, grows only about 30-50cm high, but has much fiercer spikes, propagates way more easily, and the biological controls (cochineal beetle) are woefully less effective than, say, the Cactoblastis moth that's used to control prickly pear.
Back to cochineal - for a very long time it was one of the very few ways to produce a reliable, consistent, persistent red dye. The incidence of anaphylactic shock and similarly strong reactions to cochineal, while non-zero, is tremendously low.
Artificial dyes also have some non-trivial health concerns , and some manufacturers are moving back to cochineal for this reason.
A vanishingly tiny number of people care whether their food coloring contains crushed up bugs. I can guarantee you eat similar insects (aphids, etc.) on a regular basis in "vegetarian" or "vegan" food.
Satoshi actively encouraged other blockchains, even encouraging namecoin to run their own chain separate from bitcoin back when the proposal was called "bitdns":
Back has been nothing but a frothing-at-the-mouth altcoin hater.
Comments like @gridder's do an injustice to Hal Finney.
I would argue the conversion is the one you're utilizing, from "taxation" to "extortion."
Extortion is a specifically defined crime, and of course, it is the role of the government to define criminal behavior. In the same way that getting arrested by the police isn't kidnapping, paying taxes isn't extortion.
The consent of the governed and all that.
Can you explain what you mean by this?
Lot of laws and rules are arbitrary, so a government official get a “fine”, sometimes massive fines, placed against you.
You pay it or lose everything, go to jail, or get shot for refusing.
Lots of struggling business owners are finding themselves in this situation lately.
Many have already been given major fines, had utilities shutdown, etc.
Friends our shutdown there restaurant last week.
Because everywhere you look... with or without lockdowns, COVID is spreading... California, New Jersey, Florida, Texas... all different approaches. All spreading in "2nd waves"...
Not everyone is okay with following "decree's from on high by a benevolent master" without end because "the war will never be over so give me more power"...
There were pandemics and lockdowns all the way back to the founding fathers, which I still find very strange to hearken back to, they made a lot of poor decisions too - but I digress.
What law is being broken?
I have many ever-so-slightly aged cookbooks (Asian-themed, in particular) that would always recommend, "Use rapeseed oil for stir-frying, due to its high smoke point" and driving myself nuts trying to find rapeseed oil at grocery stores. Even at Asian marts! I could find grapeseed oil, but never rapeseed.
For example, it amazes me how many questions on r/Spanish could be answered in 5 seconds by pasting the title into Google, but OP also wrote two paragraphs to explain their predicament of being unable to translate a common word.
I don't want to pile on our friend above, but it's a good example. We are all seconds away from just looking up rapeseed oil and learning some interesting things about it, but we don't even do that (myself included in all of this).
It reminds me of the parable of the lumberjack who is found trying to cut down the same tree all day with a dull axe because he says he doesn't have time to sharpen it.
I understand people asking about subjective stuff but objective stuff like this is so easy to Google.
From what I've seen in passing most people attribute rising heart disease to economic prosperity leading to a more westernised diet but I haven't really looked into it.
All kinds of connective tissue and meat plant scraps, as well as anything that grows in it during it's unrefrigerated transport and storage, go into gelatin.
Also, gelatin is in EVERYTHING. Good luck eating virtually any dessert if you're a strict vegetarian.
I think I found it again by searching for "reverse gummy bear video". I won't link it directly, so that if you really don't want to see it, there's less chance of reflexively clicking a link. ;)
The video, for anyone wanting a direct link (be warned, it's exactly as gknoy described):
The video is not actually gory - shows parts of the cleaning and butchering process, but not the slaughterhouse.
Getting past that, I was pretty sure I knew what a sheep pelter was, but I did not expect that there is in fact a product (TM!) named the Pelt-O-Matic.
Reading the description it sounds very.... efficient.
Outside of jello itself, the common desserts that contain it are chewy candies and some mousse type desserts. So canolli, mousse, and flan frequently have gelatin, along with things like Starbursts and some chewing gums, but other than that I have not found it to be a common ingredient.
Definitely not in anything like a bar of chocolate.
> ice cream
Oddly, this seems to vary a lot by country. It's rare in the US, though. Guar gum is common, though.
Usually nougat uses egg whites so it doesn't need gelatin as a protein. Marshmallows are arguably nougat, though, since they're also sugar bound with protein. Marshmallow cream usually uses egg.
All of the major nougat US candy bars I can find use egg and not gelatin.
I've seen chocolates with marshmallow in them.
The common places you might not expect it are sour cream, yogurt, fondant, and some Planters dry-roasted nuts.
But this video shows it to be made from pig skin https://vimeo.com/180163754
Everybody turning strict vegetarian would create an ecological disaster at planetary level.
My species also "evolved" to constantly fight wars against everyone not in my family; I'd say it's really good news that we were able to develop moral and conceptual systems to overwhelm our evolutionary tendencies.
(in reality there's almost no chance, synthetic glues are way easier to manufacture and manage, outside of gelatin animal glues would near-only be used for restoration or specialty applications e.g. some lutherie and other speciality woodworking)
Of course this conversation also ignores the fact that fining agents are removed from wine before bottling as part of their purpose - they bind with the crap you don't want in your wine. Typical store-bought wine will have no detectable amount of a fining agent in it.
I’m an Australian of Anglo-Celtic descent and I’ve always been keen to try “weird” foods. Never had cow feet soup, but sounds tasty. I’m sure I’m not the only Westerner with this attitude either
That said, they're an acquired taste, so you may think it's an overpriced sugar-free lump of Jello in greasy water... YMMV. :)
Burritos with an actual foot inside of, well coworkers say it’s good.
bait -> sushi
Theft -> Quantitative Easing
Further, a lower price for meat may stimulate demand but it will more likely suppress production rather than increase it. It depends on the costs of raising the animals and the opportunity costs of the farmers. Excess profit is what generally attracts competition and more production. Lower prices are not normally associated with larger profits. Only a few "markets" are much different; e.g. oil, gas, etc.
There's two sides to every price setting action, supply and demand. The current price is where they cross now, so the shapes of the respective curves aren't necessarily clear.
You might have missed the premise where the reduced prices in meat are a direct result of competition and increased profits due to better margins on non-meat products. The specific demand elasticity is irrelevant for this scenario - as long as pig hides and lard are not Veblen goods.
If more consumer money is put into the animal product market then there are two possible outcomes: either they all go into the profits of the manufacturers in a perfectly monopolistic market, or they go towards higher quantities being produced in a competitive market. It's economically impossible to depress production by increasing demand for the products of a certain industry - except very particular market anomalies, luxury and status goods etc.
Yes, animals are being killed and ground up to make gelatin.