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

i wonder, does it have to do with strong smells or is there something organic in the foot sweat or something? i mean would smelling salts have the same effect? is there some kind of bacteria or secretion that develops from smelly feet, as they said the smellier the better? it's definitely worth looking into if it can help people with seizure disorder.
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 01/31/09 at 10:08 AM
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
not bad maxx, but in your sole i know you can do better. if you give it another try i'm sure you can stomp all over the first one. come on give us a pair.

expat it does sound like hooey but sometimes old home remedies have a basis in science that those that use them are unaware of.
my mom used to make brown sugar and onion syrup when we had a bad cough and it always helped. there is probably something in the onion or a chemical reaction when it is cooked that does it. i don't know what it is but it works. i also read some time ago that they found something in chicken soup that accounts for it's effectiveness in helping with sickness as well. eons of human exsistence acount for those things that worked when tried being passed along well before we could understand the scientific why of it. necessity came first, understanding later. we didn't always get it right (leeches drawing out the 'bad' blood) but often we did (they've found maggots to be effective in debriding wounds) . it was as imperitive for survival as hunting and don't just discount it because it sounds silly, you never know.
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 01/31/09 at 01:05 PM
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
brilliant df! i'm so glad you posted, i suspected this could have a basis in science somewhere. unfortunately i'm not sufficently scientifically minded to figure out a possible theory on my own. i should have known you'd come up with something! another reason we may not have seen this explored in studies is that it would be relatively cheap treatment. they are only interested in proving the voracity of treatments they can charge ridiculous amounts of money for. greed, it's not just for the banking industry!
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 01/31/09 at 10:38 PM
gee what did you do to piss them off?
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 01/31/09 at 11:10 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
gotta love that rum! 💋
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 02/01/09 at 08:36 AM
life sucks and then you die. dennis leary had it right when he said 'happiness isn't a permanent state it's a moment, it's a cigarrette, or a chocolate chip cookie or an orgasm. finish the butt, eat the cookie, bust a nut, that's it.' do the best you can and enjoy the special moments. that's it. oh and df you make it sound like your family is with the mob or something dude. :gulp:
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 02/01/09 at 03:48 PM
The Papal Encyclical "Humanum Genus" of 1834

i tried to look this up without sucess df. at the risk of sounding stupid to you, which i face with much trepidation, can you explain the above post. i really am interested.
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 02/01/09 at 05:34 PM
there is a joke that comes to mind here-
a christian dies and finds himself at the pearly gates. st. peter welcomes him and takes him on a tour of heaven. he shows the new arrival beautiful fields and golden halls but then they come to a wall as tall as the eye can see and going off left and right infinitely. the man says,'st. peter this is heaven, why would there be a wall such as this in heaven?'
st. peter replied,'shhhh the catholics are over there, they think they're the only ones up here.' :lol:

df your appearent association just gives you something in common with most of our presidents over here.
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 02/01/09 at 07:05 PM
do you mean leonardo davinci? i always compliment you df! 😉
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 02/01/09 at 10:08 PM
i hadn't heard that leonardo dicaprio was rumored to be a member.(obviously) i also hadn't heard that he was possibly gay either. another question comes to mind, what did you think of 'the davinci code'? if you saw or read it.(i did both) all fiction yes, but still facinating to me.
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 02/01/09 at 11:15 PM
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.