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'Poo-Bank' Proposal

To help combat a range of conditions that arise as people age, three Harvard Medical School researchers suggest that people should start banking stool samples when they are young, the Economist writes.

It notes that poor sleeping and eating habits as well as antibiotic use over the course of someone's life affects their gut microbiome and contribute to Clostridioides difficile infections, irritable-bowel syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and more. But as Harvard's Shanlin Ke, Scott Weiss, and Yang-Yu Liu write in a commentary at Trends in Molecular Medicine, fecal microbiome transplants have successfully treated people with recurrent C. difficile infections and have shown some success in treating chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes.

As the researchers note at The Scientist, the role of gut microbiome dysbiosis in disease has led some scientists to suggest that the gut microbiome might need to be "rewilded" to better resemble the gut microbiomes of non-industrialized human populations. But they instead argue in their commentary for people to store a sample from when they are young and disease-free for later use to rejuvenate, rather than rewild, the gut microbiome.

"So our idea is kind of a personal Noah's ark," Liu tells The Scientist. "We want this for your personal microbiome for your own future use."