All of the below treatments sound like bullshit. If your doctor suggested them, you'd probably say you wanted a second opinion, then run out of the clinic and leave him or her a scathing review on Yelp. But sometimes the craziest ideas have science on their side, so don't be so quick to call your doctor a quack if he or she recommends ...
5Curing Cancer With Herpes
You don't normally see doctors taking a "divide and conquer" approach to curing disease. If you tell the doc you've got both food poisoning and pneumonia, you rarely hear him say, "Good! Let those fuckers fight it out!" Yet a London hospital found that the herpes virus, used in conjunction with chemotherapy and radiotherapy, helped kill cancerous cells in 93 percent of patients diagnosed with head and neck cancer (the article offers no explanation as to what in the blue-haired goblin balls led them to this discovery). So, yeah, apparently some diseases will turn on each other if they both invade the same spot in your body. Maybe they're like gangs fighting over street corners.
Or Liu Kangs fighting over street corn.
In the experiment, a genetically altered version of the herpes virus was injected into cancerous cells, exposing them to a super-mutant variant of herpes that destroyed the cancer from the inside out. The altered virus didn't spread to healthy cells and simultaneously acted as an immune system whistle-blower, alerting the body's immune cells to the cancer's presence. From then on, things played out like the bathroom fight scene from The Warriors, with cancer playing the part of the roller-skating gang member who gets back-flipped into a toilet.
The researchers stress that the treatment is most effective if cancer is detected in its early stages, but out of their initial test group of 17 patients, only two experienced a relapse after being dosed with Ultra Herpes. While their group consisted only of patients with head and neck cancer (which includes cancer of the mouth and throat), they are confident that herpes might one day be used to fight all types of cancer. The technique is currently being tested on skin cancer and even breast cancer, which has the potential to lead to some of the most disquieting pickup lines ever belched out by drunken STD farms.
4Treating Depression by Blasting Your Brain With Magnets
Let's say you went to a medical professional to seek help for the hideous depression that's been crushing you into tiny shards of shame and defeat for the past several weeks/months/years. You'd probably expect them to refer you to a therapist, or maybe write you up a slip for some pills, or both. We're pretty sure the last thing you would expect is for the doctor to whip out his or her prescription pad and scribble down "Giant Fucking Magnets" with a purposeful nod.
However, Brontosaurus-burger-sized magnets are a viable treatment option for people suffering from bipolar depression. As it turns out, the electromagnetic fields generated by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines may be able to improve a patient's mood for several days. Scientists figured this out when a Harvard study on bipolar disorder utilizing MRIs found that every single one of its non-medicated participants reported feeling less depressed after being placed within the impenetrable darkness of the hollow tube of loneliness (clinical terminology).
"Yeah, whatever, Emo, just get in the fucking tube."
These periods of relief lasted for hours, days, and in some cases even weeks after the MRI. This came as a total surprise to the researchers, because no part of the study was designed to make anyone feel better -- they were just trying to take brain scans of people affected by bipolar disorder, and suddenly everyone started hopping off the exam tables and whistling like Bobby McFerrin.
Staff photo Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard News Office
"... did that guy just tap dance out of here?"
A follow-up study was conducted to narrow down whether this was a freak coincidence or actual science. Patients who suffered from depression were either put in a real MRI machine or shoved inside a fake one that made noise but generated no electromagnetic field. Those who were put in the real MRIs reported feeling relief from their woes twice as often as those who were just subjected to the ear-piercing tunnel of lies.
Those of you without health insurance are advised to hide in a local McDonald's jungle gym.
Scientists have yet to completely explain this phenomenon (however, the Insane Clown Posse made a particularly noteworthy attempt). Desynchronized neurons are thought to be the cause of many brain disorders, so the most accepted theory is that the fields generated by MRI machines temporarily synchronize those misfiring neurons, essentially acting as antidepressants.
Despite being given what can generously be described as a cursory mad scientist explanation, the FDA approved the use of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to treat depression when medication fails. TMS involves the use of a machine filled with magnets (similar to but more powerful than those found in MRIs) blasting polarized electromagnetic waves at your skull until joy occurs. You can check it out in action right here, because as science has proven time and again, there is absolutely no downside to the application of technology without fully understanding how or why it works.
"And have you noticed any changes in your hair?"