Spider, snake venom to be used as painkillers in the future?

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Last week, a Popular Science Magazine writer  shed light on current research that is sure to pique anyone’s interest—A look at how venom, from spiders and snakes to millipedes, scorpions and more, might be used as painkillers in the future.

Many scientists globally are looking to the non-addictive qualities of venom as a new alternative to quell chronic pain in patients.

And what better way than to tap into a resource with more than 40,000 different species?

The writer goes on to explain that each venomous species holds a peptide variation in their venom, which target specific reactions in their prey. So researchers believe odds are good they can pinpoint a handful of venom peptides that will block sodium channels in the body—which carry out pain messages, causing you to hurt— to make venom painkillers a reality.

Interested in the details? You’ll want to read more here.

Mich. professor studies scorpion venom and why it becomes a painkiller for grasshopper mice that have been stung

A Michigan State University professor recently spent time out west studying a species known as grasshopper mice. Known for eating Arizona bark scorpions, which are highly venomous to other creatures, the grasshopper mouse has been seen remaining nearly neutral when stung. (The professor and journal author Ashlee Rowe describes these mice as licking their stung food, but other than that, seem unchanged by what should have harmed them.)

The venom acts as what she calls an analgesic, or a painkiller, rather than a pain inducer. This is because grasshopper mice have developed an evolutionary combat to the toxin, which chemically morphs the toxin into a painkiller, allowing the mice to hardly flinch when stung.

Her work was published in the journal Science just last month. You can check it out here.

To read more about this stream of research, you’ll also want to check out this Michigan State University post or in this Los Angeles Times brief.









About Jen Bucciarelli

Veggie lover and aspiring word chef, reporter Jen Bucciarelli covers all things health and medicine for Rochester Media and The Community Edge. She is always on the hunt for local experts who can help improve the lives of our readers. Send her a note at JenBucciarelli@gmail.com.

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