Packing strips of cured pork in your nose to stop bleeding not only works, but also won a team from Detroit Medical Centre an Ig Nobel prize.
The Annals of Improbably Research magazine held its popular annual award ceremony for inane scientific discoveries at Harvard University overnight.
And while past winners have included levitating frogs, a patent on the wheel and how beer head dissolves, this year’s winners were a relatively straightforward bunch. Useful, even.
Using pork to stop a nosebleed is an old battlefield cure from the 19th century that fell out of favour due to the arrival of medical drugs and sponges.
The Guardian reports that in a 1940 paper, Dr AJ Cone of the Washington University School of Medicine wrote:
Wedges of salt pork have saved a great deal of time and energy when used in controlling nasal haemorrhage, as seen in cases of leukemia, haemophilia … hypertension … measles or typhoid fever and during the third stage of labour.
In 2012, a Detroit Medical Centre team tested the theory and found it was surprisingly effective. Today, they were recognised for their work with an Ig.
They packed the nostrils of a 4-year-old child who suffered from a blood-clotting condition known as Glanzmann thrombasthenia with cured pork twice. According to their study, “the nasal vaults successfully stopped nasal hemorrhage promptly (and) effectively.”
“There are some clotting factors in the pork … and the high level of salt will pull in a lot of fluid from the nose,” Dr Sonal Saraiya said. She did not recommend the practice though, due to the risk of infection.
Other winners this year included:
- Kiyoshi Mabuchi, a professor of biomedical engineering at Kitasato University in Japan who found that banana skins actually are slippery. (Researching human joint lubrication.)
- Professor Kang Lee and a team from the University of Toronto in Canada for proving people really do think they see Jesus in slices of toast. (Human facial recognition skill study.)
- Dr David Hanauer and a pediatrics team from the University of Michigan for discovering a high incidence of depression amongst cat owners. (“It may simply be that people with depression get cats because they feel depressed.”)
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