Could you imagine eating a pile of chile peppers or spicy hot mustard and not feeling any pain? The ability to sense pain is physiologically quite important as it alerts us to potentially dangerous or poisonous chemicals. Many plants (stinging nettles, pungent bulbs, hot chilies) and animals (stinging ants, scorpions, snakes) produce noxious chemicals to protect themselves from predators. In turn, some predators have evolved resistance to these chemicals. An […]
Tag Archive for ‘pain’
A new study published in Science Advances reveals that fruit flies may feel chronic pain after an injury. While researchers have known that insects can feel pain (evidenced by their avoidance of stimuli that may be perceived as painful), they did not know whether insects developed chronic pain like people sometimes do after an injury. The research team studied fruit flies with an amputated leg resulting in damage to the […]
In the face of the current opioid crisis, scientists are searching for new and safer painkillers (analgesics). Venomous animals may be useful in the search as their venom can contain peptides with analgesic properties. In fact, researchers recently discovered and characterized an analgesic peptide, dubbed SsmTX-I, that was isolated from the venomous centipede, Scolopendra subspinipes mutilans. This peptide was shown to block a type of potassium channel (Kv2.1) in the body that is involved in sensing […]
I read an interesting review article published recently in Physiology. The review discussed how various animals sense pain. Perhaps understanding how animals detect pain will lead to better pain management techniques for animals and humans. Our bodies have special sensors, called nociceptors, that detect noxious stimuli that could injure tissues. Stimulation of these receptors is what allows you to move your hand away from a hot stove even before your […]
Sea snails (Conus asprella) produce a venom that paralyzes their prey. Scientists are working towards isolating compounds from sea snail venom that they hope may lead to the production of safer pain relievers to help combat the opioid crisis.
Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and The University of Queensland have discovered a venom from centipedes capable of blocking pain more effectively than morphine! According to the study authors, centipedes have appeared in the fossil records as far back as 430 million years. They are also one of the first land-dwelling creatures to use venom to incapacitate their prey as shown in the image above of a Chinese […]