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Covering the wild west of microbiome research #ahcj15

Mary Otto

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health and the author of "Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America." She can be reached at mary@healthjournalism.org.

Since stool transplants have turned out to be useful in fighting deadly hospital-borne C. difficile infections, new claims about the healing powers of poop are everywhere.

The slogan on panelist Jonathan Eisen’s black t-shirt, spelled out in pink glitter, captures the current entrepreneurial mood: “Ask Me About Fecal Transplants.”

A wide array of products and innovations are already promising to help us improve our inner flora. Yet reporters and consumers need to be wary.

“Microbiome hype” is rampant, warned Eisen, Ph.D., a professor from the University of California, Davis, School of Medicine and College of Biological Sciences. Continue reading