Well, here’s something you can’t unlearn. A normal-weight woman is undergoing rapid weight gain after a fecal matter transplant from her obese daughter.

Reported in the journal Open Forum Infectious Diseases, the woman was battling a series of novel bacterial infections. One of the remaining options was a fecal matter transplant to battle the infections in her intestines.

The issue? Since the transplant, the woman has gained 40 pounds and continues to gain weight. Diet and exercise have not worked and has raised concerns about using transplant material from obese individuals.

“This case serves as a note of caution when considering the use of non-ideal donors for fecal microbiota transplant (FMT), and we recommend selecting non-overweight donors,” wrote the paper’s authors, Dr. Neha Alang, an internist at Rhode Island’s Newport Hospital; and Dr. Colleen Kelly, a gastroenterologist at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

The correlation between the transplant and weight gain has not been firmly established, but studies in mice have had the same result. “We’re questioning whether there was something in the fecal transplant, where some of those ‘good’ bacteria we transferred may have had an impact on her metabolism in a negative way,” Kelly said in a prepared statement.

The procedure has been on the fringe for decades because we all have the secret personality of a 12-year old. However, it has showed promise in treating Clostridium difficile or c. diff infections.

The Rhode Island patient underwent five courses of antibiotics to battle the c. diff infection only to see it flare up. It was then decided to think outside the box and try the fecal transplant.

“As per the patient’s request, her 16-year-old daughter was chosen as the stool donor,” the doctors wrote. “At the time of FMT, her daughter’s weight was about 140 pounds, but it increased later to 170 pounds.”

At the time of the transplant, the patient weighed 136 pounds , but within 16 month she had put on nearly 30 pounds. Her BMI was up from 26 to 33, categorizing her as obese.

One possible answer to the weight gain according to Mass General was genetics. New policies have been instituted to avoid using overweight donors. BMI and other factors will be used to vet any potential stool donors.


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