Thursday, September 19, 2013

Wacky student stories that turn out to be true

Sometimes the wacky stories that students share turn out to be still crazy but also true. A biotech student shared this with me:

Source: did you know?


I did some Google searching, and traced the story to the High Plains Reader, which reported this strange incident from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Then I found the story in the local newspaper the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, in which Dr. Andrew Goldberg shares the story of a middle-aged man who cured himself of his chronic ear infection by taking the earwax from his good ear and transferring it to his infected ear. The earwax transplant cured him.

Dr. Goldberg didn't believe the man back then, but now he thinks the patient may have been correct. From the news story:
By putting earwax from one ear into the other, he was also transferring the bacterial colonies from the healthy ear into the sick one, and that probably cured his persistent infections.
So after finding this information, I replied to the student...on Facebook (#OMG), since she posted the story there and tagged me:
The earwax story at first seemed too crazy to be true, but I was able to track it down to the Univ. Pittsburgh. Apparently, this could be an example of the microbiome cure - using bacteria from the earwax to treat an infection. Gross, but less so than fecal transplants, which are all the rage.

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