Demystifying Medicine Video

This video introduces the topic of obesity and gut microbiota and how they may be linked. Fecal microbiota transplants are discussed as a currently researched potential treatment for symptoms associated with obesity.

Fecal microbiota transplants (FMTs) involve transferring the microbiota from one individual to another. Recent studies have demonstrated FMTs as a possible and promising therapeutic technique to help treat obesity. A recent pilot trial studied the effect of FMTs on obese individuals. They gave obese individuals oral capsules containing microbiota from lean donors. No significant weight loss was observed; however, the researchers did see signs of progress. As a result of this treatment, the participants’ microbiota more so resembled that of the lean donor and they had reduced levels of a substance that aids in fat absorption (bile acid).

Although FMTs are unlikely to be a cure, they are an important route to consider in the treatment of obesity, especially in the current day obesity epidemic.

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  • Allegretti, J. R., Kassam, Z., Mullish, B. H., Chiang, A., Carrellas, M., Hurtado, J., ... & Blanco, J. M. (2019). Effects of fecal microbiota transplantation with oral capsules in obese patients. Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.
  • Dailey, F. E., Turse, E. P., Daglilar, E., & Tahan, V. (2019). The dirty aspects of fecal microbiota transplantation: a review of its adverse effects and complications. Current opinion in pharmacology, 49, 29-33.
  • Turnbaugh, P. J., Ley, R. E., Mahowald, M. A., Magrini, V., Mardis, E. R., & Gordon, J. I. (2006). An obesity-associated gut microbiome with increased capacity for energy harvest. nature, 444(7122), 1027.

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