Shoe-Smell and Epilepsy

An article in Clinical Neurology and Neurosurgery examines whether "shoe-smell" is an effective treatment for epilepsy. The authors note:

Some Eastern parts of the world like India have witnessed since time immemorial, a practice of application of “shoe-smelling” in an attempt to arrest the seizures. The practice consisted of bringing the sole of shoe near the nostrils of the patient during the epileptic attack by near-by attendants or passers-by in the event of the attack occurring in a public place. The practice has continued and still remains a form of first-aid treatment in developing countries especially in countryside and rural areas. Although today, this age-old practice of “shoe-smell” may sound ridiculous apart from being most unscientific, its persistence as a remedy does tempt researchers to provide an insight to the reasons and basis for this continuing practice.

I wondered what kind of shoe-smell they were talking about. Apparently it's stinky shoe smell. The stinkier the better. The authors were skeptical that shoe-smell could work, but they end up concluding that it probably did help:

strong olfaction can aid in halting the progress of an epileptic seizure and/or abort the generalization of a partial seizure especially of temporal origin although more prospective studies are required to establish a clear and firm relation between the two, i.e. strong odor and seizure control. It may not therefore be incorrect to believe that in olden days too, strong olfaction applied in the form of “shoe-smell” did definitely play a suppressive role and thus exerted an inhibitory influence on epilepsy.

     Posted By: Alex - Sat Jan 31, 2009
     Category: Medicine

Patty, we know, for a fact, that it's all hoakum. If it were a true aid to it would have been discovered in a laboratory after spending tens of thousands on research, decades of double blind testing, and years and years to get FDA approval. Then the labeling would have to include a disclaimer that the smell may be found offensive to some individuals while others may suffer from various side effects causing them to attempt to stuff their toes into their mouths.
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 01/31/09 at 11:27 AM
Don't be a heel. This is the cheesiest story I've heard in a while. It reeks. I doubt it could stand on it's own 2 feet.
Posted by Madd Maxx on 01/31/09 at 11:58 AM
I think Expat left out the part of the equation where the shoe-smell purveyors would be sued in a class-action suit for millions, most of which would be mysteriously eaten up by legal 'costs' and THEN the disclaimer label would be added.

By the way, I am a supporter of consumer protection laws even via the use of tort law. I just have seen it too often be abused by, dare I say, 'unscrupulous' attorneys.
Posted by StanFlouride on 01/31/09 at 07:40 PM
Patty, I'm all for home remedies! My great-grandma had one for keeping colds away that seemed to work. And, even if it didn't you didn't really give a damn anyhow. (Active ingredient was rum)

BTW, human saliva has just been found to contain a healing agent. Kiss it and make it better?
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 02/01/09 at 04:31 AM
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