10 Bizarre and Funny Medical Discoveries

The strangest things are done in the name of research. Check out these ten weird and funny medical discoveries.

1People who think they have foot odor do, and those who don't, don't

It might be sweat and bacteria, but the main factor in how bad your feet smell is how you feel about them. In 1992, F. Kanda, E. Yagi, M. Fukuda, K. Nakajima, T. Ohta, and O. Nakata of the Shiseido Research Center in Yokohama, won the Ig Nobel prize for their pioneering research study "Elucidation of Chemical Compounds Responsible for Foot Malodour." They came with a very enlightening conclusion: people who think they have foot odor do, and those who don't, don't. Gee, I wonder why would I think I have foot odor?

2Expensive placebos are more effective than inexpensive placebos

The more expensive your pain medications are, the better the relief you get from taking them — even if they're fake. In 2008 Rebecca Waber and professor Dan Ariely published a study demonstrating that expensive placebos are more effective than inexpensive placebos. Yes, your heard it right: expensive fake drugs work better than cheap fake drugs. According to the authors, marketing actions, such as pricing, can alter the actual efficacy of products to which they are applied.

In three experiments, the authors show that consumers who pay a discounted price for a product may derive less actual benefit from consuming this product than consumers who purchase and consume the exact same product but pay its regular price.

3You can get DST from sharing an inflatable doll

“But she was so nice!” It's an oft-heard moan that inevitably follows a speaker being informed he tested positive for an STD. So what safer sex than solo sex? These days one can even find magazines with erotic articles about horny homo sapiens who seduce their silicone sweethearts. Caution, however, is definitely warranted when satiating oneself with such devices. For one thing, cases have been documented of STDs spread via sex toys. In 1996, Harold Moi and Ellen Kleist of Greenland were summoned to Harvard University to receive an Ignoble Prize for a paper Moi had published in Genitourinary Medicine three years earlier titled “Transmission of Gonorrhea Through an Inflatable Doll.”

It seems that while condoms will usually protect the male wearer, touching the condom's exterior just after handling sex toys like butt plugs, anal beads and similar devices can transfer germs that can cause grief for gals. Talk about funny medical discoveries!

4Country music can cause suicide

In 2004 two college students won the Ig Nobel Prize for their published report "The Effect of Country Music on Suicide". Social psychologists Steven Stack and Jim Grundlach found that the more a city's radio stations play country music, the higher the white suicide rate.

According to them, the themes found in country music foster a suicidal mood among people already at risk of suicide and that it is thereby associated with a high suicide rate.

5Feeling in love is not much different from having a bad obsessive-compulsive disorder

It might be roses and moonlight to you, but to your friends, obsession with your new love may seem more like a disease. The finding that romantic love is biochemically indistinguishable from having severe obsessive-compulsive disorder, published in Psychological Medicine, won psychiatrists led by Donatella Marazziti of the University of Pisa, Italy, the Ig Nobel prize for chemistry in 2000.

6Symptoms of asthma can be treated with a roller coaster ride

In 2010 Simon Rietveld of the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and Ilja van Beest of Tilburg University, The Netherlands, had too much time in their hands so they decided to make some experiments. They had 25-year-old women to ride rollercoasters. They later received a prize for discovering that symptoms of asthma can be treated with a roller coaster ride.

7Swallowed gum takes longer time to digest

For generations, parents have told their children never to swallow chewing gum, lest it sit undigested for days, weeks or even years. This is, for the most part, an old wives' tale. Although your system cannot digest gum like other foods, it won't be stuck inside of you forever. It comes out with other waste your body can't use. But rare complications can occur. The medical literature contains several case reports of people, mostly small children, who developed intestinal obstructions because they had a habit of swallowing their gum. A 1998 study in the journal Pediatrics, for example, described three children who came to a clinic with intestinal pain, constipation and other symptoms, and were found to have small masses of chewing gum in their guts. One was a 4-year-old boy who always swallowed his gum after chewing five to seven pieces each day. Another was a 4-year-old girl. Three other studies, including one in The American Journal of Diseases of Children, describe similar cases. In most, the young patients were fine after removal of the obstructions. The phenomenon is rare, the studies noted. But they might also serve as a cautionary tale for the parents of small children, particularly those with a strong fondness for gum.

8Coffee drinkers are more likely to see dead people

According to a research, heavy coffee drinkers are more likely to have hallucinations or feel "the presence of dead people,". A UK-based study quizzed 200 students on their caffeine intake and found those with the highest consumption were also more prone to report seeing, or hearing, things that were not there. Those who consumed a daily equivalent of seven cups of instant coffee or more - high caffeine users - were three times more likely to have extra-sensory experiences than low users, who had less than one cup daily. The Durham University study took in all caffeine consumption including coffee but also tea, caffeinated energy drinks or chocolate bars and caffeine pills.

When under stress, the body releases a stress hormone called cortisol. More of this stress hormone is released in response to stress when people have recently had caffeine. It is this extra boost of cortisol which may link caffeine intake with an increased tendency to hallucinate, say the scientists.

9A blind person can get his sight back by implanting a tooth in his eyes

Surgeons successfully restored a man's sight by pulling out one of his teeth, placing a lens inside the tooth and then implanting the tooth in his eyeball. The technique can only be used when a person has a scarred cornea on an otherwise healthy eye.

The process requires a living tooth as an implant because doctors suggest there are chances the eye would reject a plastic equivalent. A patch of skin is then taken from the inside of the cheek and placed in the eye for two months, where it gradually acquires its own blood supply. The tooth segment is finally transplanted into the eye socket. The flap of grafted skin is then partially lifted from the eye and placed over its new sturdy base.

10Wheat bags can cause burns

And last but not least, wheat bags can cause burns. They provide relief from the body's aches and pains but they can also burn. Doctors from Adelaide hospital's emergency department warned about this after treating a string of "wheat bag” heated in microwave ovens.