Former MSU research wins Ig Nobel Prize
A former MSU doctor was recognized last week for his part in a unique research study that showed that salt-cured pork may be an effective way to stop severe nosebleeds. The work won an , a tongue-in-cheek award that recognizes unorthodox — but sometimes scientifically practical — research studies.
Dr. Ian Humphreys, a former member of the MSU’s Department of Otolaryngology (head and neck surgery) at the Detroit Medical Center, co-authored the 2011 study.
examined a case where doctors were able to stop a patient’s life-threatening nosebleeds by inserting strips of salt-cured pork up the subject’s nose.
Though the tactic might sound bizarre, the results showed actual, tangible success. The DMC team’s research cited two cases of a patient suffering from potentially deadly nosebleeds, and the use of pork strips to stop them. In both instances, the pork-up-the-nose treatment was successful, and the bleeding inside their noses stopped within 24 hours.
One patient, a 4-year-old girl, was discharged from the hospital within three days of the treatment.
“We saw a dramatic turnaround in her overall medical condition,” after the findings were published. “Her bleeding immediately stopped. She was able to go home within 72 hours of the pork being placed in her nose.”
While the nontraditional method worked, Humphreys, now a member of Stanford University’s Department of Otolaryngology, told the Detroit News that not everyone suffering from a bad nosebleed should immediately go put strips of pork up their nasal cavities.
“There is a risk of bacterial and perhaps parasitic infection with raw meats, such as pork, being placed in the nose,” Humphreys said to the Detroit News. “But when used in conjunction with medical personnel, antibiotics and expert knowledge and experience, we showed in this particular case that it was safe and that it was effective.”
While the Ig Nobel prizes, sponsored by the scientific journal Annals of Improbable Research, does not quite carry the prestige of actual Nobel prizes, the winners were honored Thursday at Sanders Theatre at Harvard University, were a participant shoved what appeared to be quite a bit of bacon up his nose in a comedic demonstration of the findings.