Modern medicine is a term we use to describe what is generally considered the best and most advanced kind of health care we have available. This is in contrast to things like ancient Chinese medicine or old school quackery and ill-informed procedures like lobotomies and trepanning and such. But there are a number of treatments doctors still use today that may be a little more old school and unexpected than you’d think.
10. Indoor Tanning is Still Prescribed For Many Condition Despite the Cancer Risk
Some people who want a tan but don’t want to or can’t get out into the sun choose to use tanning beds. In fact, a lot of people still think these are a safer alternative to natural sun to get a tan. Dermatologists will tell you the exact opposite, that a tanning bed is actually more dangerous than the sun and greatly increases your exposure to cancer-causing UV rays.
Despite the risk of multiple forms of skin cancer, there are still occasions when a doctor may actually prescribe tanning beds to patients as a treatment. For instance, if you have a bad case of seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, you may find yourself feeling depressed and tired during the autumn and winter. A few minutes in a tanning bed can actually turn this condition around and help elevate your mood and was often prescribed as a way to “beat the winter blues,” as they say. None of this counteracts the dangerous effects of the radiation, of course.
Other reasons doctors may prescribe tanning is for Vitamin D deficiencies, fibromyalgia, various skin conditions and more. One patient said their doctor sent them there to deal with cramps. Most dermatologists will insist there’s no such thing as good tanning and would never recommend it for anything, however.
9. Coca-Cola is Prescribed to Treat Stomach Obstructions Called Bezoars
Bezoars are gastrointestinal obstructions that can lead to feelings of fullness, nausea, vomiting and serious stomach damage over time. There are numerous types which can be composed of various undigested or partially foods and stomach contents which get caught in your stomach or intestines and can grow larger over time. The hard lumps can also be vomited up sometimes, and the result is extremely unpleasant as you’re basically throwing up something that was meant to go out the other way.
A large enough bezoar can cause anemia, bowel obstruction, ulcers and worse. So you need to get rid of them if they appear and one of the best tools we currently have to do that is Coca-Cola.
Half a liter of Coke, three times a day for 7 days can break down a bezoar so that it can be safely passed or broken up. The high phosphoric acid content in the soda is believed to be the active ingredient when it comes to treating them and, weirdly, it seems to be Coca-Cola more so than Pepsi or any generic cola that works best.
8. Meth is Prescribed to Treat ADHD and Obesity
There are numerous drugs prescribed to help treat ADHD these days including popular choices like Adderall and Ritalin. Many of these drugs are also amphetamines which are, of course, stimulants. When you hear that, however, you probably think it’s not too unusual because it’s medicine. It sounds like an illegal drug because it’s chemically similar, right? Like how morphine and heroin are kind of close but one is used in hospitals and one is an illegal street drug, right? Well, not exactly.
One of the drugs used to treat ADHD is not just an amphetamine, it’s methamphetamine. That doesn’t mean something else in medical jargon, that’s just meth. Sold under the name Dexosyn, it can also be used to help assist with weight loss. That said, the Mayo Clinic also points out that meth has a high risk for abuse, in case you weren’t aware, and should only be used for weight loss if other methods have failed. Please don’t do meth to lose weight.
7. The Herpes Virus is Used to Treat Cancer
There are more methods to treat cancer than a lot of people realize, chief among them chemo and radiation therapies. But you can also undergo hyperthermia, hormone therapy, photodynamic therapy, surgery, stem cells and more.
Less well known than any of those treatments is herpes. The herpes virus is occasionally used as a treatment for cancer. A form of the herpes simplex 1 virus is injected directly into melanoma skin cancer cells which either explodes the cancer cells directly as it multiples inside the tumor until it bursts or it triggers the body’s own immune response to go after the cancer more aggressively.
Studies have shown that a number of different cancers can be treated this way and around 25% of patients seem to respond to it.
6. Horse Urine is Used in Medications to Treat Menopause
Hormone therapy and hormone replacement is a very common treatment for women who have gone through menopause. One commonly prescribed treatment is a medication called Premarin which can either be taken in pill form or used as a topical cream, a patch and injections as well. It provides the patient with estrogen to help balance hormone levels and alleviate some of the symptoms caused by going through menopause.
A less-well known fact about Premarin is that it’s made from horse urine. Specifically, it’s isolated from the urine of pregnant mares and that’s actually where the name Premarin comes from – Pregnant Mare Urine. Around 700 farms maintain a herd of 80,000 horses to produce the urine but they have to be pregnant to produce it so you can imagine what that might entail in terms of how the animals are treated and what their lives are like.
The drug has been in use since 1942 so it’s got a long history of being effective and, in truth, is not the only animal derived drug we use, either. People tend to be a little freaked out when they hear about it though because it sounds off-putting to us thanks to social taboos around things like urine and waste material but if it works, it works.
5. Tilapia Skin Treats Severe Burns
Treating severe burns is never easy and often the best result is a lessening of scar tissue that forms as opposed to serious and disfiguring ones. Skin grafts are sometimes used and this often requires taking undamaged skin from the victim, perhaps from their back or some other place where it won’t be noticeable, and using it to replace the worst of the burned tissue.
Another method for dealing with burns is grafts that don’t come from the victim or anyone else for that matter. The flesh of tilapia fish has proven to be a reliable source of skin for grafts. The flesh has high amounts of collagen which is vital for healing after burns and it also speeds the healing process thanks to the presence of some non-infectious microorganisms. In addition, it helps reduce pain during the healing process.
Doctors in Brazil started using tilapia when they were unable to secure human or pig skin which had been the preferred choices prior. Tilapia was used to treat animal burns before the Brazil trials. Turned out that tilapia worked really well and was also easy to get ahold of and pretty cost effective as well since the skin is usually just thrown away.
4. Thalidomide Is Still Used to Treat Various Diseases
Thalidomide was widely used back in the 1950s when it was prescribed for things like anxiety and morning sickness. That proved to be a devastating mistake as it was soon learned that the drug caused severe birth defects. As many as 10,000 babies were born, many of which died shortly after. The survivors had issues ranging from heart problems to eye problems to serious issues with limb formation that resulted in many with short arms, missing hands and fingers.
The drug was not banned outright, however, and is still used today to treat conditions like leprosy. It has also proven effective as a treatment for some cancers as well and was being investigated for its ability to treat other conditions. In Brazil, children were being born as late as 2013 suffering from the same birth defects the drug causes.
3. Ointment for Fissures Can Treat Snake Bites
Getting bit by a venomous snake is not something you want to experience. Some bites are almost guaranteed to be fatal due to the inability to get to help in time and the lack of antivenoms which need to be specific to the snake that bit you and can’t always be obtained or properly identified. The venom from some snakes can be extremely painful and cause serious tissue damage as well.
Timing is key with a snake bite and one thing recommended to slow the progress of venom is an ointment that is more typically prescribed for the treatment of anal fissures. Nitroglycerin ointment releases nitric oxide into your bloodstream. The proteins in the snake venom are slow to move their way through your body so anything you can do to slow them down can save your life. Nitric oxide constricts your lymphatic vessels and slows the venom’s progress.
In tests to see how well it worked, a substance that mimics venom was injected into a subject’s foot. It took 13 minutes to reach the top of an untreated leg, but when the injection site was smeared with ointment, it took 54 minutes. So if you ever hike in snake country, keep a tube of nitroglycerin ointment in your bag, just in case.
2. Dolphin Therapy Can Treat PTSD
A stunning 6 in 10 people will suffer PTSD at some point in their lives. In Ukraine, soldiers there suffering from PTSD were undergoing treatment which involved swimming with dolphins. The results were pretty dramatic, too. In one case a child who had stopped speaking for months after his school was shot up was sent to swim with dolphins and after the first session he started talking again. The therapy has also been used for injured soldiers.
Other facilities around the world offer similar experiences and the results have been promising for many, though the scientific community seems quite split on the methods and results. Some have claimed the results prove little if anything and there are ethical concerns for the dolphins involved. Parents of severely injured and disabled children say they have noticed clear and distinct changes after the therapy, however. Because there has been so little scientific study on the matter, there’s not much reliable data to go on one way or the other.
1. Beer Can Help Treat Radiation Sickness
There are probably a lot of people in the world who wish they could get a doctor to prescribe them beer to treat literally anything. Sometimes it’s prescribed in hospitals for alcoholics going through withdrawals to help ease them back to sobriety. But that’s not the only medicinal use for beer out there. You can also use beer as part of the treatment for radiation sickness.
It doesn’t work for every kind of radiation poisoning, but if you’ve been exposed to tritium, then your best treatment is to get the tritium out of your body before it can wreak havoc and cause DNA damage leading to cancer. Because tritium likes to hang out in water, including body water, you need to flush your system and beer drinking is a great method of doing just that.
You could also use wine or tea to get the same effect, basically any beverage that works as a diuretic to make you urinate more frequently.