A Human Movement
Tuesday, July 29, 2003
 


I saw these little suckers at the dirty lil Central Park Zoo. Tucked in a corner of the bird building, they got a bunch of these fuckers running around in a cage. They had done each other up you could tell cause some of em were two colors! And unlike these pictures, the zoobums had decided to put in all the different colored-frogs in the same cage. It is possible that the Central Park Zoo veterinary stuff have created a new strand of psylicobic. Most pictures of poison-dart frogs have them alone and, when in groups, among similarly-colored fellas.

These and other frogs have long been favorite ingredients in folk medicines. They produce toxins in their skin to protect themselves from predators. Often, these toxins are alkaloids, a class of chemicals commonly produced by plants, but very rarely made by animals. Alkaloids include such plant-derived drugs as nicotine, caffeine, and morphine, and have wide-ranging effects on the human body.

Many frog-derived alkaloids come from tiny poison-dart frogs indigenous to South American rain forests. With continued study, it is possible that frog alkaloids may prove safer or more effective than currently used alkaloid drugs. Natives of Argentina sometimes tie a certain kind of live frog onto wounds to help them heal. Studies of this frog, called the African clawed frog, conducted by former NIH researcher Michael Zasloff may help explain the frogs' infection-fighting properties.

Zasloff identified two peptides made in the frog's skin that have impressive abilities to kill many kinds of bacteria, yeast, amoebae, and protozoa, all of which can cause infections in people. One day, these unusual peptides (called magainins after the Hebrew word for shield) may lead to a whole new kind of infection-fighting drug.

Zasloff sounds like a scientist looking to exploit these healing properties for commercial gain. But there are some serious potential in these fuckers for refinement and development, particularly in the field of anesthesiology and sedation. The poison of dart frogs is a subject of scientific research. First, there are several species of snakes in South America that eat these frogs and are not affected by it. Therefore, an arising question is how certain animals can be resistant to batrachotoxin. What is more, the strong poison makes it possible for scientists to investigate how nervous impulses are transmitted in animal organisms, and why not in the human ones. Scientists have discovered that batrachotoxin does not immediately block the nervous system; at first, it makes the contractions of the heart muscle stronger. Researchers claim that the pumiliotoxin released by Dendrobates auratus might be used as a cardiac stimulant after a heart attack. According to the National Institute of Health, poison dart frogs offer over 300 alkaloid components´┐Żchemicals that are similar to cocaine and morphine and can be used for medical purposes. Some medicines produced on the basis of batrachotoxin are already being used as anesthetics in surgery.

Does anybody know of where you can find descriptions of the folk medicines derived from these fuckers? Better yet, why are these alkaloids present in these frogs AND plants? What makes certain of God's creatures poisonous and how can we benefit from these poisons? Read about the poison dart fact sheet or about the entire universe of poison plants and animals.
 
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