Ten bizarre medical inventions ever
Thursday, February 27th, 2020
Astounding innovations in medical technology are constantly being researched and developed, from machine that can predict a patient’s lifespan to devices that can turn your skin cells into any organ. Milliam Murigi takes a look at some of the weirdest medical creations the world has had
Chainsaw for assisting with difficult childbirths
In the 18th century, two Scottish surgeons named John Aitken and James Jeffray devised a solution they could employ when faced with difficult childbirths.
Rather than use a knife to widen the pelvic area by slicing through cartilage and bone to extricate a stuck baby, the two developed a chainsaw to make cutting easier.
While this sounds ghastly, the doctors were actually trying to lessen the agony endured by women who needed their pelvic bone separated.
The knife took a long time, while their device a modified knife with serrated “teeth” on a chain could cut through bone and tissue more quickly.
If circumstances warranted it, the doctor would grab the saw, which had a handle on both ends, and wrap the chain around the pelvic bone, pulling each handle so the chain would cut into the bone.
Later, the device was outfitted with a hand crank. Thanks to this innovation, difficult births could be described as merely agonising as opposed to extended torture.
Electric shock underwear
Yes, you read right. There is actually underwear available that intentionally shocks the wearer.
While it may sound like some sort of sinister torture device, the underwear actually serves an important purpose in preventing bedsores.
When worn, the device developed and designed by a research team at Alberta Innovates Health Solutions delivers a low-level electric shock every 10 minutes.
The electric current stimulates blood flow in the area, reducing the risk of bedsores.
The anti-erection machine
This machine was designed to be strapped around men to prevent masturbation or erection.
The machine didn’t take any risks because it involved electric shocks, which the developer Albert Todd thought could help cure STDs as well as stop any illicit fiddling.
It also contained an alarm bell to alert interested parties if the person in question had, by some illicit means, actually managed an erection.
The death defeater
The autojektor of 1940 holds one of the most bizarre places in the history of medical invention.
It was a Soviet machine alleged to allow people and animals to come back from the dead. Invented by the Russian doctor Sergei Brukhoneko, it was essentially a machine that provided oxygenated blood through a combination of oxygen chambers and pumps.
Eventually, it turned out to be a useful heart surgery tool, though whether it could be of any use reviving dead person is well, very unlikely.
This is a pretty and ingenious idea, but strange nonetheless. The implant known as Pillar Implant from Restore Medical consists of three short rods (less than an inch long) inserted into the soft palate to stiffen the tissue and to keep it from vibrating and leading to snoring and obstructive sleep apnea.
The dimple maker
Have you ever envied another person’s dimples? There was an easy fix back in the day; the dimple maker device. The device pressed holes into your face if you wore it for an extended period of time.
Weirdly, the want for dimples is not something that has gone away, with the number of people getting special surgery to get them on the increase.
The ‘hand job machine’
Hospitals in China are introducing this new device, which can extract semen for donors automatically. Dubbed the ‘hand job machine’ by some, this is definitely one of the most bizarre medical devices available.
According to the director of Zhengzhou Central Hospital’s urology department, the machine was ideally to be used by infertility patients who struggle to retrieve sperm in a natural way.
Brain cells from urine
Surprisingly, a new medical procedure can turn urine into human brain cells, according to an article published in Nature.
The invention by stem-cell biologists is from the Guangzhou Institute of Biomedicine and Health in China.
The team used the cells found in urine for the pilot project and modified them to function as neural progenitor cells, a type of cell found in the brain and spinal cord.
The “Mermaid” endoscopy
This is a tiny endoscopy capsule that is able to propel itself through the body. Commonly referred to as the “Mermaid”, this pill-sized device is roughly 4.5 centimetres long and one-centimetre-wide and it can ‘swim’ through the body using a little fish-like tail.
Once inside the body, it works similarly to other endoscopy devices, filming the internal organs it passes through. The device can either be inserted into the rectum or swallowed.
Levitating artificial lungs
Scientists have already been growing tissue in labs for some time, but now lung tissue can be grown whilst levitating in a nutrient solution.
With this invention, the lung tissue levitates through the use of nano-magnets placed inside the tissue cells. The cells are suspended in a liquid solution of nutrients that feed them.
The technique was developed by Glauco Souza and the piece of tissue that Souza developed is very similar to a human bronchiole, the passageways that transport air to all the different areas of the lungs.