Imagine a simple hike in a grassy part of South America. You hear a rattle and feel a quick stab of pain as fangs sink into your leg. Toxins in the snake venom travel through your blood vessels and penetrate your skin. If the snake is a South American rattlesnake, Crotalus terrific duressis, one of those toxins will be a phospholipase. Phospholipases attack cell and mitochondrial membranes destroying nerve and muscle function. Without quick treatment, a snakebite victim may be die or suffer permanent damage (1, 2).
The phospholipase from the South American rattlesnake is called ... Read more
When my parents were young, summer made cities a scary place for young families. My mother tells me children were often sent away from their homes to relatives in the country, if possible, and swimming pools were definitely off limits. The disease they feared, poliomyelitis, and the havoc it wrecked were the stuff of nightmares. Children could wake up with a headache and end up a few hours later, in an iron lung, struggling to breathe.