Detachable tails aid in Lizard’s survival…

It is not unusual for some to sacrifice a body part when under attack. Spiders will lose a leg. Crabs will give up a claw, and some rodents are known to shed skin in order to survive. Why is it so easy for a lizard to lose its tail when threatened and yet it remains so strongly attached when under normal conditions? The bones and muscles in the tail are so important for movement and balance and yet can be separated so easily. The vertebrae which extend down the tail is constructed in a way that it has weak areas known as fracture planes. When threatened the muscles along these planes will pull apart and release the tail. There is no blood loss during this process. Since an average lizard will live for four years and it takes 4 months to grow a new tail, it is estimated that they can perform this feat at least 12 times. Unfortunately, we have not yet evolved to mimic this process.

 

 

Venom as a Cure-all…

Natural toxins such as venom from spiders, snakes and scorpions hold the ability for the development of new drugs. Venomics is the study of the different proteins in venom which have led to separating different compounds and different drug discoveries. Previously it was believed that venom contained as little as 3 or 4 components, but now researchers have realized that they contain thousands. A drug from the deadly “Frazer Island Funnel Web Spider of Australia” can hinder cell death after a heart attack. Venom is a complex mix of proteins and can vary greatly in potency from jellyfish, insects, reptiles and even snails. Venom proteins have evolved to target a certain molecule in the body which is why they are so effective as a drug. Neurotoxins attack the nervous system, Hemotoxins attack the blood, and tissue toxins attack the area around the poisoned section. Venom from the Pit Viper is now used to treat High Blood Pressure. A drug derived from the venom of the Gila monster is used to treat diabetes. Ante coagulant drugs originated from vampire bats. Work is now being done in Israel with the Deathstalker scorpion to detect tumors. At the same time, because there are so many components to the makeup of venom, it is also difficult to find an antidote to a venomous bite. Opossums are responsible for the antidotes for bites from rattlesnakes since somehow, they can withstand being bitten several times and still survive. Just be careful who you decide to bring home as a pet.

 

https://www.bbcearth.com/news/how-venoms-are-shaping-medical-advances

Trauma and Weight Training…

For years Psychologists have recommended exercise for mental health. Now it seems mental health groups are recommending formalized weightlifting routines as a therapeutic tool for those who have experienced both physical and psychological trauma. Physical trainers are being educated on how to deal with this special category. Why is it that lifting heavy things helps people with trauma recover? Research is finding that the resistance of weight training has a connection to building resilience. There is now a certification for any practitioner who wishes to become a special trainer for clients dealing with trauma. Yet people who have experienced some sort of emotional trauma may avoid exercise because it may raise heart rate, breathing, and body temperature-all symptoms which they feel may bring on anxiety. A beneficial system of weight training will include periods of rest in which the person is allowed to check in with themselves to see how they are feeling so as not to be overwhelmed. This gives the nervous system a chance to settle down, so it can absorb more stress as the sessions continue. Hope is that these people will feel more comfortable in their body and have a stronger mind-body connection.

 

Insect Waste Valued by Farmers…

Insects are being farmed as a source of food for both humans as well as animals. Now it seems the waste they excrete, their feces (frass) and their outgrown exoskeletons (exuviae), are now valuable to farmers as a way of rejuvenating soil. Both frass and exuviae are rich in polymers and nutrients needed to promote plant growth. The waste it seems stimulates microbe growth which can be an asset in sustainable farming.