Would You Agree to Get Bitten by a Deadly Spider or Have Its Venom Injected Into Your Brain to Protect You From a Stroke?
Scientists in the United Kingdom have discovered something that's both a little scary and a lot like a miracle. The question is, would you agree to getting spider venom in your brain if you just had a stroke?
In an effort to save stroke patients, researchers in the U.K. decided to play with the deadly Funnel Web spider. They were able to isolate a certain protein from the spider's venom, which they identified as Hi1a.
They injected Hi1a into lab rats and found that their brains became coated with a functional protective shell! They have evidence from preclinical studies that administering Hi1a to stroke victims within eight hours after the stroke will significantly lower the amount of ensuing brain damage and any permanent disability later on.
The question is would you agree to getting bitten by a Funnel Web spider? Just look at its picture – it's big and scary-looking with its protruding fangs! They're also regarded as one of the most dangerous groups of spiders in the whole world. In fact, their venom causes death by crushing your brain by causing too much intracranial pressure.
But it's that same mechanism on the brain that also places a shield around the brain when a smaller, carefully controlled dose is given to someone. Knowing what the venom does at full strength, would you be willing to risk intentionally putting it into your brain?
Ordinarily, you probably would say no. But it may depend entirely on the circumstances. If you suddenly come down with a stroke, you'll probably want to risk it rather than face permanent brain damage. The more dire the situation, the more willing you'll be to accept this venom treatment.
These scientists really do believe in the miracle of their findings. They want to rush further studies into the Hi1a so that it can be used as soon as possible in the medical field. They wholeheartedly believe it can preserve the quality of life for the 795,000 people suffering strokes annually in the U.S. and more around the globe.