Indian American physician Sonal Saraiya and colleagues at the Detroit Medical Center at Michigan State University have won the “Ig Nobel Prize” in Medicine for discovering that packing strips of cured pork up the nose of a child who suffers from uncontrollable, life-threatening nosebleeds can stop he or she from hemorrhaging.
Ig Nobel Prizes honor achievements that first make people laugh, but then make them think. In September each year, at a ceremony hosted by Annals of Improbable Research magazine at Harvard University, winners accept the prizes from often-bemused actual Nobel Laureates.
Saraiya received her award from Nobel Laureate Carol Greider, who shared the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2009. Winners are given a maximum of 60 seconds to deliver their acceptance speeches.
Sticking pork products up a patient’s nose is a treatment of last resort when conventional treatments fail, Saraiya said, AP reported.
It should only be used for a very specific condition, Glanzmann thrombasthenia, a rare condition where the blood doesn’t properly clot.
“We had to do some out-of-the-box thinking,” she said. “So that’s where we put our heads together and thought to the olden days and what they used to do.”
A four-year-old child’s nostrils were packed with cured pork twice. According to their study, “the nasal vaults successfully stopped nasal hemorrhage promptly (and) effectively."
The method worked because “there are some clotting factors in the pork…and the high level of salt will pull in a lot of fluid from the nose," she said, AP reported.
But Saraiya doesn’t recommend sticking pork up one’s nose for a routine nosebleed, as it could cause an infection.
Saraiya has an M.D. from Topiwala National Medical College at the University of Mumbai and did her fellowship in pediatric otolaryngology at Children’s Hospital of Michigan.