Gross-sounding, yes. But "fecal transplants" work like a charm for patients suffering bacterial ailments, according to new research. The Netherlands study found that people with the common Clostridium difficile infection, or CDI, were quickly cured after receiving the feces of a healthy donor. (It can be diluted and transferred via enema.) The results were so compelling that researchers cut the study short so patients in the control group could be treated, reports the Los Angeles Times.
"It's a strange concept to use stool, which has always been looked on as something dirty," says a gastroenterologist who wasn't involved in the study but has long used the treatment. "We're entering a very exciting new chapter in medicine." The idea goes back centuries, but this is the first controlled study to document its effectiveness. The transplanted feces "appears to work by restoring the gut’s normal balance of bacteria," explains the New York Times. (Read more bacteria stories.)