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Medical Uses for Spider Venom

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Published on Oct 31, 2013

Many people are scared of spiders because some of them can bite and a few are even poisonous. But now, scientists are looking at the possible medical uses for spider venom as a painkiller.

Many people are scared of spiders because some of them can bite and a few are even poisonous.

But now, scientists are looking at the possible medical uses for spider venom as a painkiller.

Venom from other animals like snakes and centipedes is being tested for a variety of medicinal uses..

Certain peptides in the venom can be isolated and might be useful as a non addictive form of pain relief.

Painkillers work by blocking the sodium channels to the nervous system that create the sensation of pain.

But most painkillers block several sodium pathways, while spider venom peptides might be able to block specific channels and still be effective.

Scientists are working on a way to nullify the side effects that venom has on heart function and muscles in the body.

Doctor Maggie Hardy at the University of Queensland in Australia is finding ways to use spider venom as a treatment for pets that are infested with ticks or fleas.

These parasitic insects have developed a resistance to pesticides that people use on their pets, but Hardy has found chemicals in Australian tarantula venom that might work to replace the ones currently in use.

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