Stuffing pork up the nose cures deadly nosebleeds

It may be a last resort, but sticking cured pork up the nostrils can stop potentially fatal nasal haemorrhaging in patients suffering from Glanzmann thrombasthenia, a rare blood disorder. Researchers from Michigan won the Ig Nobel prize for Medicine for their unusual discovery, which could save lives of those with the condition.

The cured meat cure is definitely a case of ‘don’t try this at home’, since for normal nosebleeds it is probably unnecessary and could lead to infection. However, in the severe nasal haemorrhaging suffered by Glanzmann thrombasthenia patients, it may be an effective option when conventional treatment has been unsuccessful. The research team demonstrated this by using pork ‘nasal vaults’ to stop nose haemorrhaging in a 4-year old girl – twice. While coagulative agents in the meat help promote clotting, the saltiness of this sandwich staple may also help by pulling in fluid from the nose.

Pork - more than a sandwich filler?

Pork – more than a sandwich filler?


Other Ig Nobel prizes were awarded for a wide spectrum of unusual research, described as “achievements that first make people LAUGH then make them THINK” by Improbable Research, the organisation behind the awards. Japanese researchers showed the physics behind slipping on a banana peel, using the balance between static and kinetic friction to explain our resulting overbalance. Studies into the mental health dangers of owning a cat were recognised by the Ig Nobel award for Public Health; while an analysis of our circadian habits, which condemned those late to bed as more manipulative, psychopathic and self-admiring, won the Psychology award.

The Neuroscience prize went to a group that investigated the neural processes behind ‘face pareidolia’, the phenomenon that causes us to see Jesus on a piece of toast, a face on Mars or in one notorious case, the shape of George Washington in a chicken nugget – an instance of face pareidolia that earned £5 000 on ebay.

George Washington chicken nugget

These awards are given to legitimate scientific research, and it is often the case that such research has a surprisingly practical application… who would have thought of shoving pork up the nostrils to stem a nosebleed? Although, again – don’t try this at home!

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Veronica Wignall

Veronica is a Biology graduate from the University of Bristol, she is currently an editorial assistant but hopes to move into science media comms! Follow Veronica on Twitter @vronwig

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