A healthy intestinal tract is teeming with trillions of microbes, which generally keep us infection-free by fending off attacks from bad bacteria that make us sick. But sometimes, bad bacteria like Clostridium difficile can take hold, causing chronic and painful diarrhea, or even death. “C Diff” is normally treated with an intensive course of antibiotics, but this sometimes makes things worse by weakening the gut microbiome and leaving it susceptible to further infection. Mark Smith things he has a solution: poop. He’s treating patients who aren’t helped by the standard antibiotic treatment with new “fecal transplants.” It’s exactly what it sounds like—transplanting stool from healthy donors into sick patients. Doctors have observed remarkable recovery rates with this novel technique… but how does it work?
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