Matters concerning health and medicine must be dealt with in all seriousness. From medical inventions to finding revolutionary cures, scientists, doctors and medical experts go through a lot to bring about change and make the world better place. But, sometimes, no matter how serious their findings are, it can blow your mind, baffling you to the core. And if whacky inventions were not enough, there were many bizarre incidents in 2017 in the world of medicine that tickled our funny bone. So as the year comes to an end, here are some unusual discoveries and weird surgeries the world witnessed this year.
Dead butt syndrome
Yes, you read it right. We all know that sitting for prolonged hours at out office desk is harmful. We know about the side effects on our body, say, related to the heart and body weight. But did you know, it’s your bums that support your body for all those hectic hours and it’s slowly dying (sort of). Dead butt syndrome or Gluteal Amnesia develops when the gluteus medius — one of the three main muscles in the buttocks — stops functioning correctly. And even though it sounds funny, its effects are not. Since the gluteus medius helps in stabilising the pelvis, gluteal amnesia can not only lead to severe lower back pain and hip pain but also cause problems in the knees and ankles, as the body tries to compensate for the imbalance.
Poop pill can cure common infections
While there is a general idea what faeces can spread infections, it seems researchers had a Eureka moment when they realised otherwise. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, a fierce infection called Clostridium difficile was curable with nothing but your poop. Yes, as a solution to the deadly infection which kills 15,000 people per year, researchers found that with an intake of a faecal microbiota transplant (FMT) in a pill—a poop pill, it actually helps. The infection usually happens after a course of broad-spectrum antibiotics, which tend wipe out healthy bacteria normally found in people’s gut. The transplants work by replacing those microbes again. It’s far cheaper and less painful solution than colonoscopy.
Baby’s poop can reveal their IQ
And if you’re still not convinced that poop is more just than waste, then perhaps this finding will let you take it very seriously. Recent research showed that faeces have an interesting link to baby’s IQ and their cognitive skills. According to a study published in Biological Psychiatry, researchers found an association between certain kinds of microbial communities and higher levels of cognitive development later stages of life. Are you one of those, who creep out every time your little one is done the deed and you need to change the nappy and dispose of them with disgust? Well, reading this might change your mind next time you see baby’s faecal matters.
When brain kills neurons
As strange it may sound, but every time we learn something new like a brand new skill, new cells burst to life in our brain. However, soon afterwards the brain kills some of the old cells that it deems as nonessential in retaining the new knowledge. So every time we learn something new, our brain swells and shrinks and this is a Darwinian process. In a study published in Trends in Cognitive Sciences, researchers said brain determines which neurons are best to most efficiently reserve what it has learned. The culling of the extra cells is like a survival-of-the-fittest contest.
Dogs can smell cancer
Dogs are man’s best friend we know, and it can not only smell danger like explosives, recent study shows our furry friend can even detect cancer! Yes, canines can be trained to be cancer-sniffing wizards, using their sensitive noses to detect cancerous fumes wafting from diseased cells. It’s known fact that cancerous cells emit unique odours, but scientists have not been able to identify the specific compound responsible for the smell. So, doctors are now hoping that dogs might be able to help pinpoint cancer-specific odours. In order to do so, they give the dogs certain cancerous samples to sniff, and then slowly remove compounds from the sample. If the dog stops responding to the sample after several components are removed, “then you know you’ve taken out that component of the mixture that is specific to the cancer,” said Dr Hilary Brodie, a professor in the Department of Otolaryngology at the University of California, Davis. However, it all depends if your paw-some friend, if it is having a bad day despite its training it can miss a diagnosis.
Tears can generate electricity
There is a huge ongoing debate about fossil fuels and non-renewable energy. While scientists around the world are urging people to shift to renewable and natural power sources like wind, water and sun, a team also found an unusual hydropower — tears. Yes, believe it or not, but crying is not bad after all more than just cleaning your eyes. According to a study published in the Journal of Applied Physics, a team of researchers from Ireland found that tears contain an enzyme that can generate electricity. The enzyme, called lysozyme, also found in saliva and mammalian milk, is in a crystalised form, it appears to have a property called piezoelectricity. Which means that the anti-bacterial enzyme can convert mechanical energy into electrical energy when pressure is applied. Wondering how it will help in medicine? Well, as lysozyme is a biological material, it could have medical applications. Lysozymes are nontoxic, so could have many innovative applications, such as electroactive, anti-microbial coatings for medical implants, lead author in the study clarified.
Honourable mention: Man Flu is real
Yes, over the years many have been guilty of sidelining a man’s misery when they fall sick, but a recent study shows, men suffer more when they complain about the cold. Men may really experience worse symptoms than women after catching a respiratory virus, or flu a new review suggests, and it’s not right to dismiss it by deeming it as man flu. In a BMJ review published in December, researchers found evidence that men may have a weaker immune response to the viruses that cause flu or the common cold, and not exaggerate the symptoms as many think. However, it’s not clear yet why men may have a weaker immune response to respiratory viruses. Researchers feel hormones could play a role, with the estrogen, in particular, providing a protective effect against these viruses in women.
And if these discoveries are not quite mind-boggling, then here are some of the strange surgeries that doctors did this year. From removing needles from penis to hair from stomach, these operations are not for weak-hearted.
Man inserts needles into genitalia
People around the world may have some unusual sexual fetishes but one man in China opted for a rather painful way to get excited. The 35-year-old bachelor had inserted 15 sewing needles into his genitals for around a year but didn’t feel any pain while inserting the needles with the pinhead up. However, in June is suddenly experienced immense pain and saw blood while urinating. He was rushed to the hospital and after a bizarre surgery doctors took out one needle at a time from his membranous urethra.
Man gets permanent erection during plastic surgery
A Croatian man ended up with a painful, permanent erection that has got nothing to do with sexual arousal. The man was under the knife for a nose job when anaesthetic drugs had a side effect and resulted in the condition called priapism. Priapism results in a really painful erection that lasts for long and if it is not treated within 24 hours, it can lead to permanent damage. Although he had an operation to fix it, but it would take time to regain normalcy.
Doctors remove 1.5kg of hair from stomach
Even the thought of hair in food may make many feel squeamish. But a 25-year-old woman, who suffered from a rare mental disorder called Rapunzel syndrome, caused her to tear the hair out from the head and chew it. After a long operation of three hours, surgeons removed a big ball of hair weighing over 1kgs.
Over 5kg metal extracted from MP man’s belly
In a rare surgery, a team of six doctors in Rewa district of Madhya Pradesh removed iron objects — a chain, as many as 263 coins, and 10-12 shaving blades along with a few glass pieces — from the stomach of a man who they said is not in a “good frame of mind.”