Sometimes those old folk remedies really do work. That's what Detroit Medical Center researchers found after Dr. Sonal Saraiya and her colleagues learned that packing strips of cured pork in the nose of a child who suffers from uncontrollable, life-threatening nosebleeds can stop the hemorrhaging. Their discovery won them a 2014 Ig Nobel prize, the annual award for sometimes inane yet often surprisingly practical scientific discoveries.
This year's winners were honored this month at Harvard University by the Annals of Improbable Research magazine. Another winner at the whimsical ceremony—which included a mini-opera about people who subsist by eating only pills—was a team of researchers who wondered if owning a cat was bad for your mental health.
Sticking pork products up the patient's nose was a last resort after conventional treatments had failed, Saraiya said, and was used only for a very specific condition known as Glanzmann thrombasthenia, a rare condition in which blood doesn't properly clot.