Sell your poop for $40 a shot and save lives!

You can change “shot” to another word in the title, but this is a family friendly website.

On the subway to Cambridge yesterday, I saw this ad inside the car:

Now what do you suppose this is all about? Although it’s properly multicultural, how could you earn money to donate your stool, and save lives at the same time?

When I photographed the sign with my iPhone, a professor-type (this was at Harvard Square) told me he found it amusing as well, and suspected that “givepoop.org” was trying to isolate gut bacteria from different people as a way to cure those with intestinal problems.

He was right. The site, givepoop.org, leads to a Stool Donation Project run by Boston University. If you’re between 18 and 50 (I don’t qualify), take some tests, and agree to bring in stool samples regularly, you can get $40 a pop (or should I say “poop”) for your efforts.

It turns out that the microbiota in your stool might help cure those having colon inflammation due to the bacterium Clostridium difficile, which can be serious and even fatal. But transplants of bacteria from other people’s stools, as described below by the Mayo Clinic, seem efficacious:

Fecal microbiota transplant (FMT). Also known as a stool transplant, FMT is emerging as an alternative strategy for treating recurrent C. difficile infections. Though not yet approved by the FDA, clinical studies of FMT are currently underway.

FMT restores healthy intestinal bacteria by placing another person’s (donor’s) stool in your colon, using a colonoscope or nasogastric tube. Donors are screened for medical conditions, their blood is tested for infections, and stools are carefully screened for parasites, viruses and other infectious bacteria before being used for FMT.

Research has shown FMT has a success rate higher than 90 percent for treating C. difficile infections.

Now that is a useful treatment!

This study will undoubtedly involve finding out which combination of bacteria, or which strains, can be used as therapy to replace the flora in infected people.

Doing this several days a week for 60 days, at $40 a shot (pun can be made again), can earn you substantial money, and of course is less intrusive than blood donation. Here’s a video from the poop.com site explaining how fecal transplants work. While the idea of absorbing someone else’s feces might be distasteful, if it could save your life it’s well worth it.

 

56 Comments

  1. Jake Sevins
    Posted October 19, 2017 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    The jokes are too easy here, so I leave it for others to duke it out.

  2. GBJames
    Posted October 19, 2017 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    As a 67 year old I’m feeling discriminated against. What’s wrong with mine?

    • Joseph McClain
      Posted October 19, 2017 at 9:16 am | Permalink

      I’m 62. If we were in Boston, we could picket the lab and chant “We will not be deterred!”

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted October 19, 2017 at 10:52 am | Permalink

        Or da turd, either.

        “No poop, no peace!”

    • Simon Hayward
      Posted October 19, 2017 at 10:20 am | Permalink

      Too old too, I’m gutted

  3. Randy schenck
    Posted October 19, 2017 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    One day it will be a pill you can take and the Parma company will be knee deep in “money”.

  4. Posted October 19, 2017 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    Can I ship from the UK? UP(oo)S? 😂

    • Randy schenck
      Posted October 19, 2017 at 9:48 am | Permalink

      You could but afraid the transportation cost would exceed your $40 fee. Possibly if properly packaged it could be shipped surface in bulk?

      • David Coxill
        Posted October 19, 2017 at 11:27 am | Permalink

        Don’t envy the Us customs person who has to inspect the contents ,also how would you describe the contents .

        PS i haven’t got any stools ,would a chair do.

        • Jenny Haniver
          Posted October 19, 2017 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

          A long time ago, I sent some 10,000 year-old giant sloth turds (giant sloth, giant turds) to Salvador Dali (I thought it quite a Surrealist gesture). The poor woman at the counter thankfully didn’t inquire closely as to what “coprolites” maent on the customs declaration form, or she probably wouldn’t have allowed me to send the package.

          • gravelinspector-Aidan
            Posted October 21, 2017 at 10:40 am | Permalink

            “Geological sample” isn’t a safe description. I had a particularly miserable three hours being screamed at in Swahili after trying to take 3 kilos of micropalaeontological samples in hold baggage. They eventually let me go when the realised that I did have a driver coming for me, I was willing to miss my flight, I wasn’t going to pay squeeze, and I was prepared to wait until after the end of their shift for the drier to arrive.
            What we didn’t consider was that there’s significant gold prospecting in the country, and 3 kilos of unidentified geological sludge could easily mask tens of thousands of dollars of “colours”. We had to get an export permit for the samples – sealed – from the government assay office to get the right paperwork for export, which took most of a day and a lot of sweaty offices without air conditioning. And a Swahili translator.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted October 21, 2017 at 10:28 am | Permalink

          also how would you describe the contents

          “Medical sample”. There’s an IATA and UN code for it (I forget what it is though), and prescribed shi(pp|tt)ing containers, but otherwise it’s pretty routine. It was quite normal for the medic to have a patient with an undiagnosed gut complaint and send a sample off to the doctors retained y their head office in Houston.
          I sent my biannual poo sample off for bowel cancer screening just a week or so ago. That’s within-country shipping by surface mail, so doesn’t need the full panoply of IATA documentation and packaging – just a scrape-sheet and a waterproof wrapper with the barcode on both.

    • BJ
      Posted October 19, 2017 at 10:48 am | Permalink

      Perhaps you could send it by some sort of poop chute?

  5. BJ
    Posted October 19, 2017 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    Strange that it hasn’t been approved by the FDA yet. I’ve been reading about it’s high success rate as a treatment for at least a couple of years now, and someone I know recently received a transplant for a recurring C diff infection.

    I will refrain from making any jokes. I’m simply above engaging in such shit.

  6. BobTerrace
    Posted October 19, 2017 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    It would have been interesting in September when I wore an infusion device giving me a 1 hour dose of Penicillin every 4 hours for three+ weeks. My donations would have been somewhat bacteria free. But I also don’t qualify by age.

  7. mordacious1
    Posted October 19, 2017 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    Not exactly a donation if you’re getting paid. Perhaps, “contribute your stool”?

  8. mordacious1
    Posted October 19, 2017 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    Not exactly a donation if you’re getting paid. Perhaps, “contribute your stool”?

    • mordacious1
      Posted October 19, 2017 at 10:09 am | Permalink

      Darn double-tap. Great in gunfights, but not so great in posting.

      • BobTerrace
        Posted October 19, 2017 at 10:12 am | Permalink

        Get rid of that bump stock

  9. Posted October 19, 2017 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    C. Diff is a horrible little pathogen. The spores are resistant to alcohol, which is the main ingredient in hand sanitizers nowdays, so to prevent transmission in hospital,you really have to wash your hands thoroughly. When the infection is severe we used to have to take out the whole colon and leave the patient with a permanent ostomy or stoma bag. Fecal transplant has the potential to really revolutionize treatment for this problem. It’s not firstline treatment for the disease as of yet (which is treatment with antibiotics) but it should be number two!

    • darrelle
      Posted October 19, 2017 at 10:55 am | Permalink

      Not bad! Will you be here all week?

      • Blue
        Posted October 19, 2017 at 11:13 am | Permalink

        hehhehheh, Mr Darrelle !

        but … … Ms / Mr sciencemd68 is quite correct:
        … … persons stricken w Clostridium difficile, and especially ( and angeringly, I shall add ! ) withIN hospitalized settings, are extremely compromised.

        Who, truly, wants a .permanent. stoma or an ostomy ? Ever, have Any of Us, had to deal on a routine, hourly basis with one ? Utterly so sucks it does.

        Blue

        • darrelle
          Posted October 19, 2017 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

          I’ve no doubts about any of that at all. Though I have no first hand experience with C. Diff or ostomy or stoma bags I can imagine how awful they are. I sincerely hope FMT turns out to be as effective a treatment as it seems it might be.

          • nicky
            Posted October 20, 2017 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

            It is by far the best treatment we have for the condition. Patients are completely healed in about 3/4th of cases.
            Note that the most common cause for
            C. difficile pseudomembranous colitis is chronic antibiotic use.

            • gravelinspector-Aidan
              Posted October 21, 2017 at 10:45 am | Permalink

              It is by far the best treatment we have for the condition. Patients are completely healed in about 3/4th of cases.

              Leaving 1/4 for whom the treatment is ineffective or incomplete. There’s a target for the rest of the pharmaceutical industry.
              Unfortunately, the drugs developed will be used mostly to increase the profit margins of farmers.

    • nicky
      Posted October 19, 2017 at 11:55 pm | Permalink

      And it (pseudomembranous colitis) had a mortality rate ofy close to 20%.

  10. Randy schenck
    Posted October 19, 2017 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    I see a theme building here. First it was dog foul and now… Is this going to be a shitty day.

    • darrelle
      Posted October 19, 2017 at 10:55 am | Permalink

      Sounds like it already is.

  11. Gamall
    Posted October 19, 2017 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    The best joke is not the obvious one.

    “Clostridium difficile” … “treating C. difficile”

    In French, “C difficile” reads as SMS-style short for “C’est difficile”, which means “This is difficult”.

    For some reason I find that funnier than poop-related jokes.

    (Difficile is actually Latin here, and pronounced differently from the French word, though spelling and meaning are identical.)

    • Dragonix975
      Posted October 19, 2017 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

      As a French speaker (non native) who had both an FMT and C. difficile, this is a perfect joke. Almost as perfect than the treatment.

  12. Gregory Kusnick
    Posted October 19, 2017 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    and of course is less intrusive than blood donation.

    Not really; you need to give blood samples just to qualify for the stool donation, which then entails dozens of trips to the donation center.

    With blood donation, the whole thing is done in one trip that takes under an hour.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted October 19, 2017 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

      I’d rather give blood than poop any day.

      No one wants either from me though.

  13. tubby
    Posted October 19, 2017 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    I’d join to help since C. diff is terrible, but I don’t live in Boston. I might not have a qualifying BMI too. And I’m not sure I’m capable of pooping on demand. The note that you have to ‘drop off’ several donations a week is pretty funny.

    • barn owl
      Posted October 19, 2017 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

      And I’m not sure I’m capable of pooping on demand.

      I think I could do that in a pinch.
      XD

  14. David Coxill
    Posted October 19, 2017 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    Will different types of stool pay more than others ?.
    Would the rabbit type stool pay more than the stools you get after a dodgy kebab ?

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted October 21, 2017 at 10:48 am | Permalink

      What you need is one of these “name that turd” charts.

  15. rasmo carenna
    Posted October 19, 2017 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    Holly sh*t! I mean, shot.

  16. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted October 19, 2017 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    I like also how the animation uses figures that are very much like those in XKCD.

  17. Posted October 19, 2017 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    As I was sitting there thinking about how I was about to flush away $40, I realized the truth: This is a Russian plot to disrupt our economy!

  18. Posted October 19, 2017 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been reading a lot about this for many months. Apparently, it also helps people with Crohn’s disease, people with diabetes, and people who are obese or overweight.

  19. Posted October 19, 2017 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    I took part in a similar study about 16 years ago. I got $50 for my sample and I bought my first cell phone with the money. I named the phone “Shit Bucket.”

    • Dave B
      Posted October 19, 2017 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

      I would have gone with the IPoopedPhone

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted October 21, 2017 at 10:56 am | Permalink

        Pre iPhone.
        I, on the other hand, do have an original “iPoop” – that is pre-lawsuit. The post-lawsuit ones are devoid of Apple-like naming.

      • Posted October 25, 2017 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

        This was before iPhones existed. I think.

  20. Charles Minus
    Posted October 19, 2017 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    On the serendipity front: I had never heard of “Clostridium difficile” before, but ran across the term in while reading daily medical column called “Ask Dr. Roach” which appears in my local newspaper. He had a long discussion of this nasty sounding condition. Then I went to my computer to check Dr. Coyne’s latest and there it is again, “Clostridium difficile.” Coincidence? I don’t thinks so.

  21. Mark R.
    Posted October 19, 2017 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    HBO’s VICE has done a couple informative pieces on this new procedure. It seems to be very promising.

  22. Posted October 19, 2017 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    Stephen Hawking quote:

    “I am more convinced than ever that we are not alone, (but if space aliens find us) they will be vastly more powerful and may not see us as any more valuable than we see bacteria.”

    Apparently Hawking is unaware of the value of bacteria. 😉

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted October 21, 2017 at 10:58 am | Permalink

      Or, he has a low opinion of how an alien capable of communicating or travelling over light years would view us.

  23. Posted October 19, 2017 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    Hm! Since selling human tissues and organs is illegal in Canada (IIRC) I wonder if this would count …

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted October 21, 2017 at 11:00 am | Permalink

      It’s not an organ. It’s not a tissue.
      Does Canada have a business selling ice cream made from human breast milk?

      • Posted October 23, 2017 at 11:59 am | Permalink

        Technically no I guess it isn’t an organ or a tissue, but …

        As for the latter, I am not sure if selling human milk (or products thereof) is legal or not. I think it would have to be pasteurized.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted October 24, 2017 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

          Both debates were had in the UK a few years ago. I forget how – or if – they were resolved. It is legal to sell unpasteurised milk here AFAIK, but it has to be clearly labelled (red top, or black top? I forget) and very few places sell it. Just the granola sandals and tofu powered computer brigade, with a healthy(?) contribution from crystal healers. I think the same bunch got together a self-expressing bunch of women to supply the ice cream machine. As I recall, they had problems with the low fat content making the ice cream pretty gritty.

  24. Posted October 19, 2017 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    Since we inadvertently or carelessly spread our ‘shit’ via the mouth, hands this is a ‘nice’ change.

  25. Dragonix975
    Posted October 19, 2017 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    That’s funny- I was one of the first pediatric patients to receive an FMT. I have moderate Ulcerative Colitis that was impacted by *C. difficile*, and getting one (actually two) cured me of the bacteria, thus leading way into remission, which I have been in for a couple of years.

  26. nicky
    Posted October 20, 2017 at 12:01 am | Permalink

    Although it it used now for treating Clostridium difficile infections, it’s potential might be much greater. It is thought that intestinal microbiota is (are?) connected to obesity, DM type2 and the whole metabolic syndrome.


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