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Fear Not the Fecal Transplant

Officially called a fecal microbiota transplantation, or FMT, the procedure involves the insertion of a small, diluted sample of stool from a donor into the colon of a recipient. (Clearly disgusting.) The swap imports a healthy community of bacteria, the intestinal microbiota, into the system of someone lacking healthful intestinal flora. (Billions on billions of microscopic organisms swimming around inside your guts.) Numerous studies have found the fecal transplant's bacterial army to be highly effective fighters against Clostridium difficile colitis, which causes terrible cramps and frequent bloody diarrhea. (Getting queasy.) The usual antibiotic treatment can disrupt the healthful diversity of gut bacteria. (Microbial mass murder.) And it is often unsuccessful. Researchers publishing in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology thus have suggested that the treatment should be considered as a first choice rather than a last resort. (Reading medical journals, blech.)

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