Top 5 weirdest medical theories that may appear to be true:
1. Dogs give women breast cancer
Could it really be true that keeping a dog increases the risk of the disease?
Both dogs and humans carry the same virus that can induce cancer.
Analysis of breast cancer cases by researchers at the University of Munich showed that patients with this type of cancer were significantly more likely to have kept a dog than a cat.
In fact, 79.7 per cent of all patients had intensive contact with dogs before they were diagnosed.
Only 4.4 per cent of the patients did not have pets at any time compared to 57.3 per cent of a healthy control group — so there was a 29-fold increased risk for pet owners.
Another study in Norway reported a very high level — 53.3 per cent — of breast cancers in 14,401 dogs.
In looking for a reason, scientists found a virus common in both dogs and humans.
The one they homed in on is the mouse mammary tumour virus (MMTV), which triggers breast cancer in mice and which has been investigated for possible links to human breast cancer.
The theory is that dogs, and possibly other pets, harbour and transmit MMTV or MMTVlike viruses that can induce human breast cancer.
The researchers say the theory may help to explain why women from Eastern countries are at increased risk of breast cancer when they move to Western nations — Asian or Oriental women seldom keep dogs as pets.
Migration to Western countries may cause them to alter their lifestyle, including keeping pet dogs.
2. Nuts cure toothache
The dentist Horace Wells tested the effects of nitrous oxide by having some of his teeth extracted while breathing in the gas; William Morton, a pioneer of anaesthesia, almost died during his experimentation.
In the same honourable tradition, Charles Weber, from North Carolina, put his oral health on the line when he tried cashew nuts as a cure for an abscess under a tooth.
He says research shows that Gram-positive bacteria, the bugs that cause tooth decay, acne, tuberculosis and leprosy, are killed by chemicals in cashew apples (the swollen stalk the nut is attached to), cashew shell oil and probably cashew nuts.
The suggestion is that the active chemicals in the nuts are anacardic acids, which in test tube experiments appear to be active against Streptococcus mutans, the cause of tooth decay. Weber says the acids can be lethal to bacteria in 15 minutes.
"I have made raw cashew nuts the main part of my diet for 24 hours on four occasions and have eliminated an abscessed tooth each time.
"There were no obvious side-effects. A fifth time required several day"
3. Beer bellies protect men in old age
When you hit your 30s, the poundsually start piling on, regardless of diet or exercise.
The average Western adult starts to get wider and thicker after their 20s, putting on 6lb to 11lb a deccade.
By age 50 we've gained, on average, an extra 1st 8lb to 2st 5lb.
Fatty acids in pork increase vulnerability
Obesity epidemic aside, this pattern is consistent in nearly every Western country.
While it could be due to men becoming less active or eating and drinking more as they get older, Israeli researchers suggest it's down to what they call young hunter hypothesis.
They believe that age-related weight gain is a major driving force behind human longevity.
They argue that the muscle of the young hunter is turned into fat stores the non-hunting older man to survive on in old age.
In ancient times, the food providers needed to be muscular for dangerous hunting expeditions.
To develop the necessary muscles, body fat was diverted from the lower limbs, and energy was targeted at bulking up the muscles.
At the end of their hunting careers, the metabolic processes changed focus to energy conservation in anticipation of ageing.
Muscle mass drops by around 15 per cent after the age of 30, and there is a gradual increase in fat levels, particularly around the central area.
The Israeli hypothesis is that the weight gain is a way of compensating for muscle mass loss, guaranteeing survival and longevity, even now.
4. Humming 120 times a day cures blocked noses
Chronic rhinosinusitis can cause a blocked nose, breathing difficultiesand a reduced sense of smell, as well as the formation of nasal polyps in more severe cases.
It's thought that fungus in the nose could be to blame.
In an attempt to zap the fungus, the immune system triggers an inflammatory response that causes a runny nose, cough, sore throat, pain in the teeth and headache.
One way of treating the fungus could be to use nitric oxide.
Toxic to bacteria and fungi, the gas is naturally released in the human respiratory tract, so in theory it should be the way to kill the fungus.
But how do you get high enough concentrations at the site of the fungal infection?
The answer is simple: hum.
According to researchers in Texas, levels of nasal nitric oxide are increased up to 20-fold by humming.
They cite a man who had rhinosinusitis with severe headache, cough and insomnia, who had failed to find anything to relieve his symptoms.
He then tried humming.
Done at a low frequency — around 130 Hz — and at regular intervals, it apparently produces the greatest amount of nitric oxide.
The man hummed strongly for one hour at a rate of 18 hums a minuteat bedtime the first night, and hummed strongly at a low pitch between 60 and 120 times, four times a day, for the next four days.
The humming increased nasal vibrations.
The morning after the first humming session, the man awoke with a clear nose and was breathing easily.
The only side-effect with the treatment was dizziness that can be brought on by excessively vigorous humming.
According to the report, half an hour of humming might also help with symptoms of the common cold.
"By humming 60-120 times, four times per day — including a session at bedtime — symptoms were essentially eliminated in four days."
5. Jet lag triggers mental illness
Researchers at the Hebrew University and Hadassah Medical School in Israel say the link between jet lag and psychiatric disor der has been underestimated.
They suggest it could trigger existing or new cases of affective disorders such as depression, anxiety disorder, panic attacks and various phobias.
It might also be involved in schizophrenia.
The scientists say many examples of psychotic symptoms occur during long-distance trips, including cases of transit paranoid reaction — a condition blamed on changes of environment, such as unfamiliar surroundings and the presence of strangers, and a sense of isolation.
Just how jet lag triggers new episodes of mental illness, or even the illness itself, is not clear, but the hormone melatonin could be the villain.
Secreted by the pineal gland deep inside the brain, melatonin is a key player in the regulation of the circadian rhythm — the 24-hour cycle of living beings — because it tells the body when it's time to sleep and wake up.
In synthetic form, as a supplement, it's widely used in some countries to combat the symptoms of jet lag.
But changes to the circadian rhythm and melatonin secretion abnormalities have also been linked to a number of mental disorders, say the researchers.
They also cite studies suggesting that abnormal melatonin metabolism may be directly related to schizophrenia.
It's also suggested that sleep deprivation affects melatonin production and may be linked to manic episodes.
Source: Daily Mail