Weird Wonders of Modern Medical Science

By Wesley Fenlon

Creepy? Sometimes. Amazing? Always.

This is it. Medical science has discovered the apex of awkwardness: Transplanting human feces from one spouse into the body of another. Eww. Gross. Weird. Creepy. And: Life-saving.

The latest issue of science mag Nautilus includes a list of crazy scientific advances in the field of medicine today. The first, aptly titled "the power of poop," reveals that microorganisms in fecal matter actually have healing properties. Nautilus' Lina Zeldovich writes:

"The poop cure represents the growing field of 'bacteriotherapy,' which works by transplanting microbes from healthy individuals into those who are ill. (The stool in the Minnesota case came from the patient’s husband.) Our 'microbiome,' the collection of microbes that live in and on our body, plays a vital role in our well-being. In an adult, there are 10 times more microbial cells than human cells. Imbalances in our microbial communities can cause health problems and infections. Most infections are treated with antibiotics, which destroy bacteria, often with side effects."

The other advances are a little less icky, but no less impressive. For example, work with the brain has given researchers a way to block emotional responses to certain memories. Essentially, it's possible to sever the cognitive and emotional aspects of memory, so while you will still remember something that happened, you'll experience a less intense emotional reaction to it. This treatment has proven effective at treating PTSD.

Other advancements: growing bone (even better than 3D-printed implants) and developing tiny robotic surgeons that can fix us from the inside. Check out Nautilus to read more on both of those. The final item on the list focused on mind-controlled technologies--think robotic arms controlled by people who are paralyzed and can't move their own limbs. Except, instead of robotic arms, some scientists are experimenting with brain-computer interfaces that let users control quadrocopters with their minds. We want that, too.