Cockroach Brains May Hold New Antibiotics?
2010 09 16

By Christine Dell’Amore | NationalGeographic.com



Cockroaches may make your skin crawl, but the insects—or, to be exact, their brains—could one day save your life.

That’s because the central nervous systems of American cockroaches produce natural antibiotics that can kill off bacteria often deadly to humans, such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and toxic strains of Escherichia coli, scientists said this week.

Two species of locust tested so far also have the same bacteria-killing molecules in their tiny heads.

The findings suggest that the insect world—which makes up 80 percent of all animals on Earth—may be teeming with new antibiotics, said study co-author Simon Lee of the University of Nottingham in the U.K.

Such a discovery is crucial, because scientists are scrambling to combat strains of several infectious diseases, including MRSA and E. coli, that are resistant to traditional antibiotics, Lee said.

"It’s a promising new lead. We are looking in an unusual place, and to my knowledge no one else is looking there," Lee said.

"That’s what we need in terms of [finding new] antibiotics, because all the usual places"—such as soil microbes, fungi, and purely synthetic molecules—"have been exhausted."

Insect Brains Have "Clever Defense" Against Bacteria

Lee and colleagues dissected the tissues and brains of cockroaches—which "smell as bad as they look," Lee said—and locusts in the lab.

The team tested nine separate types of antibacterial molecules found in the insects’ brains and discovered that each molecule is specialized to kill a different type of bacteria.

This "very clever defense mechanism" allows the bugs to survive in the most dirty of domains, Lee said.

The scientists found the bugs had antibiotics only in their brain tissue, the most essential part of the body, he added.

A bug might live with an infected leg, for instance, but a brain infection would almost certainly be fatal.

Insect-brain drugs for humans are still years away, Lee said, but there’s one hopeful glimmer: When the team added the insect antibiotics to human cells in the lab, there were no toxic effects.

Preliminary findings on antibiotics in bug brains were presented at the Society for General Microbiology meeting held this week at the University of Nottingham.

Article from: news.nationalgeographic.com







Related Articles
Are you ready for a world without antibiotics?
Doctors reconsider old antibiotics despite hazards
The Stunning Pictures of Sleeping Insects Covered in Water Droplets
Insects (the original white meat)
Insects Use Plants Like A Telephone


Latest News from our Front Page

13 years ago this man was accused of abusing 18 girls in Rotherham - so why are police only NOW acting on the claims?
2014 09 02
Comment: As this story finally is getting more and more coverage, let’s expose these sick perverts for what they are and get to the root of the problem that enabled horrors like this to not only go unnoticed for such a long time, but also to the heart of why people in law and government denied it and decided to ...
Harvard Professor Noel Ignatiev talks about how to end the White race
2014 09 02
There was some doubt earlier this week as to the validity of the claim in Kevin MacDonald’s article The War Against Whites. We’ll we found something for your guys: Source: youtube.com Not that this is the only one, far from it, this is just a small sample of the barrage of conferences and a well educated cultural marxists that have set their goals ...
Secret underground tunnels of ancient Mesopotamian cult revealed under Ani ruins
2014 09 01
For the first time in history, the academic world is paying attention to the spectacular underground world of Ani, a 5,000-year-old Armenian city located on the Turkish-Armenian border. Hurriyet Daily News reports that scientists, academics, and researchers have just met at a symposium in Kars titled ‘Underground Secrets of Ani’ to discuss the city’s underground world mentioned in ancient ...
A Government Vision Of The Future That Isn’t That Great
2014 09 01
Here’s a report by the UK Ministry of Defense, a document that they’re not hiding - it’s not classified. In fact, they WANT you to read it: the Global Strategic Trends 2045. For your convenience, they’ve even produced a handy video about their dire predictions: They present a warning call for how things are going to be bad in the future. ...
Bad Memories Turned to Happy Ones in Mice Brains
2014 09 01
Memories are often associated with emotions, and these feelings can change through new experiences and over time. Now, using light, scientists have been able to manipulate mice brain cells and turn the animals’ fearful memories into happy ones, according to a new study. Memories are encoded in groups of neurons that are activated together or in specific patterns, but it is ...
More News »