“When Jesus heard [it], he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
A spider’s venom paralyzes its victim, keeping the victim fresh, yet immobile. Spider venom does this by slowing or stopping the work of a chemical called glutamate, which controls muscle movement in insects. Glutamate is also an important messenger chemical in the human brain.
When someone has a stroke, the chemistry changes in those brain cells that are not receiving enough blood. Under these conditions, glutamate actually kills brain cells. So medical researchers have been searching for medically safe drugs that can be given to stroke patients to block the damage inflicted by glutamate.
Neurobiologist Hunter Jackson is searching for drugs in spider venom that might be safely used to block glutamate’s damage. To do this, he collected, raised and milked spiders. He had to do 10,000 milkings to get enough venom to study. Spider venom is a mixture of many different chemicals. Jackson says that some of those that block glutamate have not been proven safe. However, animal tests now show that about 20 of the chemicals from spider venom deserve more study for possible use.
We can easily be tempted to try to find the solutions for all our problems within this creation. We need to remember that while these solutions are blessings, the solutions found in the creation, at best, only solve temporary problems. In contrast, forgiveness of sins through Jesus Christ provides a permanent solution to the problems caused by sin.
Forgive me, Lord, for those times that I have looked for temporary, earthly solutions for problems that are really caused by my sin. Enable me to do a better job of looking to Your suffering and death for the forgiveness of my sins and to Your resurrection for my new life. Amen.
Elizabeth Pennisi. “Spider Toxins May Take Bite Out of Strokes.” Science News, Vol. 139, p. 270. Illustration: Hippocrates was the first to describe the sudden paralysis often experienced by those who have a stroke.