How super is your poo? The search for ‘super poo donors’ for fecal transplants

Claudia Campenella, 31, works as a student support administrator at a UK university, and in her spare time she is a poo donor. "Some of my friends think it is a bit weird or disgusting, but it doesn't worry me. It's very easy to donate and I just want to help with medical research. I'm glad to contribute." Her faeces, teeming with "good" bugs, will be put into the bowel of a sick patient to help their poorly gut get better. Claudia knows her donation is extremely useful - that is why she does it - but is her poo extra special? ...

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Is DNA to blame? – Should killers with a violence gene get lighter sentences?

In 2015, Anthony Blas Yepez was sentenced to more than 22 years in prison after killing George Ortiz, his girlfriend's step-grandfather. Three years prior, Yepez and his girlfriend were living with Ortiz when, according to testimony, Ortiz hit Yepez's girlfriend in the face. Yepez says he isn't sure what happened next but that he "must have blacked out." When he came to, he was on top of Ortiz, who was bleeding and appeared to be dead. Yepez and his girlfriend then poured cooking oil on the victim, lit him on fire, and fled the scene in Ortiz's car. Now, Yepez's lawyer, Helen Bennett, is seeking a retrial for her client - and she's relying on an unusual argument: that Yepez is genetically inclined to act violently due to the "warrior gene." Specifically, Bennett is arguing that Yepez has low levels...

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Should you take probiotics if you need to take antibiotics?

Your intestinal bacteria are part of your immune system, and researchers are discovering that microbes of all kinds play instrumental roles in countless areas of your health. For example, beneficial bacteria, also known as probiotics, have been shown to: Modulate your immune response1 and reduce inflammation2Produce vitamins,3 absorb minerals4 and break down indigestible dietary fiber, turning it into beneficial short-chain fatty acids5Eliminate toxins6 from your bodyBenefit your mood and mental healthBoost weight loss7,8,9Beneficial bacteria also control the growth of disease-causing bacteria by competing for nutrition and attachment sites in your colon. This is of immense importance, as pathogenic bacteria and other less beneficial microbes can wreak havoc with your health if they gain the upper hand. ...

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Yes, the rich and famous actually are quite narcissistic

Have you ever wondered whether those who inhabit the ethereal world of the truly wealthy are, at their core, narcissistic? Does it seem that the ability to satisfy your every whim, to have well-paid staff wait on you hand and foot, and to socialize with other high-flyers can make almost anyone become unduly self-centered and entitled? Imagine yourself being able to walk into a room and immediately draw the attention of all who want to impress you. Consider what it would be like to have personal shoppers come to you with a panoply of expensive designer clothes and jewelry and you don't even have to peek at the price tag. Someone is hired to come every day to freshen your appearance and you have personal trainers who inspect every muscle as you enter your in-home gym. If you're not just...

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The ‘dream team’ for the cold and flu season

As we are in the midst of the annual cold and flu season, I want to share the basic plan I use to support my patients during this time. It includes three supplements I use for people of all ages when they feel an acute illness coming on. First, it is important to remember that even though it is common to blame all acute illnesses on microbes, fundamentally, viruses and bacteria are scavengers in nature. Bacteria digest debris in nature, and viruses are intracellular parasites that "infect" cells that demonstrate some type of weakness. In other words, the infectious nature of acute illness is only one side of the story; the other side is the "terrain," or the condition of the person who gets sick. The three supplements I predominantly use for most acute illnesses address both sides of this...

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