Two Indians win Ig Nobel awards

Dr Sonal Saraiya, left, accepts the Ig Nobel Prize for Medicine from Nobel Laureate Carol Greider during a performance at the Ig Nobel Prize ceremony at Harvard University, in Cambridge, Mass.,Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014. Image copyright AP
Image caption Dr Sonal Saraiya and her colleagues found that pork could stop nosebleeds

Two Indian scientists have won prizes at this year's Ig Nobel awards for their offbeat research work.

Dr Sonal Saraiya and her colleagues in Michigan found that packing strips of cured pork onto a child's nasal cavity could stop life-threatening nosebleeds.

Naren Ramakrishnan and his colleagues investigated correlations in data on cat bites and depression.

The tongue-in-cheek Ig Nobel awards for "improbable research" have become almost as famous as the real Nobels.

This year's winner was a study which looked at why bananas are slippery when you step on them.

Dr Saraiya and her colleagues at Michigan's Detroit Medical Center found that packing strips of cured pork in the nose of a child suffering from life-threatening nosebleeds can stop the haemorrhaging.

She said this worked only when conventional treatments failed and was only used for a very rare condition in which blood does not clot properly.

"We had to do some out-of-the-box thinking," Dr Saraiya said.

"So that's where we put our heads together and thought to the olden days and what they used to do."

According to her team's study the four-year-old child's nostrils were packed with cured pork twice and "the nasal vaults successfully stopped nasal haemorrhage 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".

Naren Ramakrishnan picked up the 'public health prize' along with colleagues for investigating correlations between cat bites and depression.

The abstract of their paper says that "recent data mining studies have suggested a potential association between cat bites and human depression".

Their research showed that the "the high proportion of depression in patients who had cat bites, especially among women, suggests that screening for depression could be appropriate in patients who present to a clinical provider with a cat bite".

"While no causative link is known to explain this association, there is growing evidence to suggest that the relationship between cats and human mental illness, such as depression, warrants further investigation".

The spoof awards, run by the science humour magazine Annals of Improbable Research, were handed out at their annual ceremony at Harvard University, US.

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