This year’s Nobel Prizes in Medicine were awarded to William C. Campbell, Satoshi Ōmura, and Youyou Tu whose work to develop novel therapies for the treatment of globally devastating parasitic diseases such as River Blindness, Lymphatic Filariasis (Elephantiasis), and malaria. While this work was certainly important, the greatness of the awardees is already prominently displayed on the front page of the Cell website.
“I also hope that kissing will bring not only love, but also attenuation of allergic reaction.” ~Dr. Hajime Kimata
Less well known are this year’s Ig Nobel prize winners, which were awarded at the 25th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony on September 17th, 2015. This year’s Ig Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded to Hajime Kimata, as well as Jaroslava Durdiaková and colleagues Peter Celec, Natália Kamodyová, Tatiana Sedláčková, Gabriela Repiská, Barbara Sviežená, and Gabriel Minárik. The topic of their research? The health benefits of intense kissing (and other interpersonal activities).
Sure you may have been unknowingly collecting data on this important topic since your middle school prom, which was coincidentally themed, “Time of your Life.” But, given the reproducibility issues in science, I think it is necessary, as global scientific citizens, that we collectively confirm the following findings ASAP:
- Intense kissing and sexual intercourse reduces allergic skin weals and white blood cell response to allergens.
- The group hypothesizes that this is through neuroimmune signaling. While this sounds like code for, “It’s all in your head,” it actually means this occurs not through histamine signaling, but possibly through neuropeptide signals like neurotrophin and neuropeptide.
- DNA from a kissing partner persists in the saliva up to 60 minutes.
- This isn’t necessarily beneficial to your health, but could be useful when you want to use forensics to identify your last kissing partner.
This is not to say that there are no dangers in kissing (viral and bacterial transmission). However, to quote Dr. Kimata’s acceptance speech, “I also hope that kissing will bring not only love, but also attenuation of allergic reaction.”
The entire award ceremony can be viewed on Youtube. The Ig Nobel Prize in Medicine is awarded at the 1 hour mark.
Peer edited by Saidivya Komma & Adele Musicant.
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This article was co-published on the TIBBS Bioscience Blog.