Minerva: February 2003
- By: M Butler, H J C R Belcher
Spiders inspire legendary levels of fear and anxiety. But an Australian prospective follow up study of 750 people who attended emergency departments with definite spider bites found surprisingly few significant clinical effects. Among these 6% of bites, most caused persistent pain, but no early allergic reactions or necrotic ulcers were recorded, and secondary infection occurred in just seven bites. Widow spiders were the worst culprits, and rapid identification of the type of spider would increase the opportunity of giving antivenin (Quarterly Journal of Medicine 2002;95:723-31).
Heres the latest search for another use of statins: this time they are being tested as a treatment for multiple sclerosis. American scientists used mouse models to show that atorvastatin prevented disease relapse and lowered levels of inflammation in the nervous system. They say the drug seems to shift the bodys production of destructive T cells, causing it to produce anti-inflammatory T cells (Nature 2002;420:78-84).