David Browne, Nurse Practitioner: “Good morning Mr. and Mrs. Paquet. Nice to see you again. (David casts his gaze upon the identical twin daughters of Mr. and Mrs. Paquet). Good morning, Teresa and Cristina! Well it’s been three weeks since your last visit. Have the girls had any side effects or problems with the probiotics that Dr. Benson gave them at your last visit?”
Mrs. Paquet: “We have all done fine with them, except last Wednesday Teresa did have one day of loose stools, but I think that’s from her eating a little too much honey on her toast that morning. She—”[audible tone emits from the front desk.]
David Browne: “Oh. There’s Dr. Benson. I’ll escort all of you back to the scan room. Come through the EnteroScan, girls, one at a time, please.” [Paquet girls walk through the EnteroScan, as requested, and enter into the scan room.]
Dr. Roxann Benson: “Good morning Paquet family! Hi girls! Please have a seat. I heard the conversation you had with David about your tolerability of the different probiotics I gave you all last week. Now Teresa, your tummy sometimes has a tough time letting a certain sugar called fructose to enter inside your body, and that can cause you to have a tummy ache or even diarrhea. We doctors call it fructose intolerance. If you don’t want to have a tummy ache or diarrhea just try to use a smaller serving, ok? [Teresa nods affirmatively, slightly embarrassed.] Cristina, I’m surprised you don’t have it!
“Ok! Let’s look at some really cool pictures and readings from the EnteroScan, for you two girls. [Dr. Benson reaches for a touch screen tablet with a variety of virtual buttons and symbols. The lights dim and visual images appear on one of the walls.] Let’s start with you, Cristina. Do you see the colored bars there with today’s date, and how high the green bar is [a virtual pointer, guided by Dr. Benson’s gaze, circles around a green bar among a series of other vertical bars]? Now let’s compare this green bar to what your body showed when you took the other probiotic two months ago…[another green bar appears, of a notably smaller scale]. Now I’ll show Teresa’s scan [scan data appear to right of Cristina’s]. Now with Cristina’s we see a pretty tiny green bar, but a really tall pink bar. Let’s compare to your last scan…[new bars appear]. Wow! That’s a big change, Cristina.”
Mr. Paquet: “Doctor, I forget what the EnteroScan measures? Would you re-educate me, please?”
Dr. Benson: “Certainly. When the girls walked through the airtight EnteroScan chamber both their breath and intestinal gases were measured. We know from a lot of research that probiotics, herbal extracts, certain spices, and even herbal teas can change the number and metabolism of the bacteria that live in the intestines. Just one cup of chamomile tea can reset or ‘switch’ the metabolism in the intestines and the body for a few weeks. The bars we’re looking at reflect different types of metabolism shifts in the intestines of the girls. The really small green, and high pink bar for Teresa shows how the unabsorbed fructose in honey affects her intestinal metabolism, but otherwise the girls showed pretty identical changes. Now you thought that I gave the girls the same probiotic but actually one of them—for Teresa—had live bacteria, while the one for Cristina was the exact same ‘bug’ but we ‘killed’ it with heat. But they both worked, and better than the last one we gave you girls, where they were both alive. I’m pleased.”