Tarantula Toxins Offer Key Insights Into Neuroscience of Pain

Toxins Extracted from Ornamental Baboon Tarantula May Be Used as Tools to Study Disorders Ranging from Irritable Bowel Syndrome to Epilepsy A Heteroscodra maculata, a West African tarantula. When your dentist injects lidocaine into your gums, the drug blocks the pain of the oncoming drill, but it also blocks all other sensation – leaving your mouth feeling numb and swollen. What if there were a drug that could specifically block pain, but leave the rest of your sensations alone? In order to do this, you would need to find a way to control the cohort of nerve fibers that transmit the specific type of pain you would like to block. A research team led by UC San Francisco scientists has discovered molecules that may help researchers do just that: two…


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