5 strange-but-true health cures

Who says scientists lack imagination? These strange-but-true health studies prove medical researchers are thinking outside the box when it comes to weird health cures

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1. Drinking coffee may reverse memory loss

Interesting news for java junkies: Drinking five cups of coffee a day could reverse memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers from the University of South Florida gave mice with the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease the human equivalent of five cups of coffee every day. They found that the mice recovered lost memory and that the caffeine may have slowed the production of protein plaques that result from the disease. Other research suggests that caffeine may also protect the brain from developing symptoms of Alzheimers. But don’t go overboard on the coffee just yet-trials have yet to be conducted on humans.

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2. Opera could aid in rehabilitation

Break out the Puccini-Italian researchers say that listening to dynamic music like opera might be useful in rehabilitative medicine. The researchers from the University of Pavia recruited young, healthy volunteers to listen to pieces of music that alternated between fast and slow tempos. When the tempos swelled, the subjects experienced increased blood pressure, heart and respiration rates. Slower parts of the music caused those rates to decrease. While further research needs to be done, study researchers say these findings may be useful in rehabilitation of conditions like strokes.

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3. Lemongrass and cinnamon oils kill bacteria

A recent study by researchers in Germany tested 13 essential oils against antibiotic-resistant bacteria in hospitals, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Lemongrass and cinnamon oil were among the best at fighting off bacteria and worked as well as other common antiseptics used in hospitals. Bonus: They certainly smell better than your average hand sanitizer.

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4. Drinking may make your man a better lover

Yes, you read that right. According to research from Australia, men who have up to 14 alcoholic drinks a week are less likely to have erectile dysfunction (ED) than those who don’t drink alcohol. (One to two drinks a day is considered low-risk drinking by Can­ada’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.) The highest occurrences of ED were in men who quit drinking and those who had fewer than seven drinks a week. Drinking responsibly and not smoking seem to reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease and ED.

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5. Playing the didgeridoo can treat sleep apnea

Researchers in Switzerland have discovered that playing the didgeridoo, a wind instrument native to Australia, helped patients with moderate sleep apnea sleep better through the night. Subjects in the study who took didgeridoo lessons and practiced the instrument daily reported less sleep disturbance and reduced daytime sleepiness than those in the control group who did not play the instrument.


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