The term Arthritis is used to describe inflammation of the joints. However, Arthritis is an umbrella term and encompasses some 200 subtypes of the condition. The most common types of Arthritis include Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Gout. All of these conditions involve the inflammation of various joints, for multiple reasons, and present in slightly differing ways. It is also difficult to treat diseases such as Arthritis because of how widespread they are.
Standard therapies include physical therapy, patient education, dietary restrictions, patient education, and prescription medication that helps to decrease the amount of uric acid and inflammation in the joints. However, the drugs taken most often are systemic and riddled with numerous side effects.
Newer and more innovative therapies are on the rise, though, and seem to be yielding promising results. One such treatment uses scorpion venom to treat Rheumatoid Arthritis, which is a subtype of Arthritis. Seems impossible? It isn't! Before we move on to explaining how scorpion venom might help with Arthritis, let's take a look at the disease and its symptoms first.
What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Rheumatoid Arthritis is a type of chronic arthritis, or inflammation of the joints, which is immune-mediated. In Rheumatoid Arthritis, the body's antibodies attack healthy joint tissues and cause damage and deterioration. Although the disease is quite common, especially in middle-aged people, there is very little progress in its treatments.
Most treatments act to either reduce inflammation, suppress the immune system, or treat symptoms such as pain and swelling. However, all of these treatments are systemic, which means that even if they do lead to some improvement in symptoms, it is most often at the cost of other health issues.
Rheumatoid Arthritis presents in many ways. However, the most common symptoms are:
* Warm, tender, and swollen joints* Increasing stiffness of the joints that is at its worst in the morning and after long periods of inactivity * Fever, Fatigue, and poor appetite * Signs and symptoms in some other, non-joint related organ such as the eyes, kidneys, and salivary glands
How Scorpion Venom Might Help With Arthritis
Researches from Baylor College of Medicine have recently discovered a specific protein in Scorpion Venom that they think might help mitigate and reverse some of the effects of Rheumatoid Arthritis. What’s unique about these cystine-dense peptides (CDPs), that make the compound iberiotoxin, is that they tend to accumulate in joint spaces all over the body quickly. This creates a unique opportunity for scientists to develop a joint-specific drug delivery system.[caption id="attachment_3381" align="alignnone" width="1500"] Common Yellow Scorpion (Buthus occitanus) in defensive mode against threats[/caption]
With the help of these peptides, scientists can now deliver drugs straight to the target areas and avoid the plethora of systemic side effects that would otherwise hinder treatment. Iberiotoxin has also been shown to bind to specific FLS potassium channels, causing them to halt and even reverse the effects of Rheumatoid Arthritis in some cases.
The results, collected after conducting thorough animal studies on rat species, have so far been quite promising. Subjects did not experience any severe adverse effects either, such as incontinence or tremors, and the treatment was accepted quite well. However, although the study is groundbreaking, more research needs to be conducted to figure out the best way to use this compound to treat Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Rheumatoid Arthritis is a subtype of Arthritis, where the body’s own antibodies and immune cells attack healthy joint tissues. Causing a range of painful and debilitating symptoms. Unfortunately, most of the common treatments of rheumatoid Arthritis have numerous severe side effects. However, researchers have recently discovered a protein in scorpion venom that binds to FLS potassium channels in the joints and causes a reversal or the symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis.
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