You Can Finally Save Your Poop In A Personal Microbiome Bank

Illustrated by Ly Ngo.
We were excited when we learned we could bolster our health with other people's poop, but there was something about it that felt, well...impersonal, you know? [Ed. note: Insert "O.P.P." joke here.] Thankfully, with the arrival of personal-poop-banking service PersonalBiome, our bacterial health woes have been answered. You can now preserve your personal microbiome — the community of microbes and bacteria in the body that, among other things, helps prevent infection — from a sample of your feces, which goes on to be stored in one of a few different forms, depending on how you may need to take the microbes later on (via capsule or enema, for example). Currently, fecal transplants are mainly recommended for people afflicted with Clostridium difficile infections, and PersonalBiome says its service is best suited for those who are preparing to have surgery or antibiotic treatment, since those folks are at a higher risk of developing C. difficile.
The service is actually an offshoot of OpenBiome, the very same resource that will sell you fecal transplants from other people. It's great to see that PersonalBiome is keeping diversity (of bacteria and patient options) at the core of its mission. The benefits of PersonalBiome over OpenBiome, as described on the former's site, is that it's a less-generic form of treatment (in other words, we called it). Given what we know about each person's microbial signature, a sample of your own microbiome, taken when you're healthy, would be a preferable transplant over a sample from another person. Really, the only downside to taking the personal-banking route (rather than providing your fecal samples to other patients via OpenBiome) is the fact that you can't make up to $13,000 returning bacteria to yourself.

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