It sounds medieval, but more and more people believe we're at the forefront of a revolutionary new kind of medical treatment.
If his four-year-old daughter gets sick again, Chris Gorski will take a drastic step. He will collect some of his own stool, strain it, and then transfer it into his daughter's body. This procedure -- known as a fecal transplant -- has been shown to help people like Chris's daughter Maya. Meanwhile, other patients and scientists hope that this bizarre transplant might work as medicine for a range of diseases, from asthma to MS.
Last spring, Maya developed c. difficile, a bacterial gut infection that can cause dangerous diarrhea. "She caught it after taking high doses of antibiotics," Gorski said. Maya still suffers from bouts of diarrhea, and Gorski worries that the infection will destroy the lining of her intestines and affect her for the rest of her life.
In desperation, Gorski scoured the Internet for other cures. That's how he learned about a two-year-old girl -- very much like his daughter -- who had been healed by a fecal transplant at Massachusetts General Hospital. The doctors collected feces from the girl's father, and they then transplanted his feces into the child's intestines following a bowel-cleansing routine. The "good bacteria" from the healthy father took root in the girl's body and repaired her gastrointestinal tract. Within two days, all traces of c. difficile vanished from her body.