Could the Brains of Cockroaches Save Your Life?

Cockroaches could be the next best thing for treating bacteria infections.

Powerful antibiotic properties have been discovered in the brains of cockroaches and locusts. These antioxidants are reported to be able to kill more than 90% of bacteria without harming human cells.

Medical researchers discovered nine different chemicals in the insect brains, which all had anti microbrial properties strong enough to kill 90% of MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus).

Staphylococcus aureus is a group of bacteria that live on the surface of people’s skin and inside the nose. Problems occur if the bacteria enters the body through a cut or wound.

People with weakened immune systems or who have undergone sugery can develop more serious problems. It has been known to cause boils, abscesses, septic wounds, heart-valve problems and a few others. In extreme cases, it can result in death.

Simon Lee, who heads the study, conducts his research from Nottingham University.He explains how the research came about because of cockroaches’ ability to survive and thrive in even the dirtiest and barren environments.

(According to experiments in Amsterdam some species of cockroaches are able to survive a whole month without food, and can gain sufficient energy for activity by just eating the glue off the back of postage stamps. Others were able to recover from being submerged underwater for half an hour)                

[Mullen, Gary; Lance Durden, Cameron Connor, Daniel Perera, Lynsey Little, Michael Groves and
Rebecca Erskine (2002). Medical and Veterinary Entomology (2002 ed.). ]

Mr Lee reckons they must have a defense against micro organisms because their capacity to live in dirty, infectious conditions indicates that the brains contain these kinds of compounds.

His main aim is to be able to use the compounds to treat infections like E. Coli and MRSA which are becoming increasingly resistant to some of the most powerful current antibiotics.

The compound would need years of testing for safety before any drugs developed from them could go on the market, but researchers are hopeful that it could be available by the year 2018.

Maybe Bear Grylls knew what he was doing by eating so many cockroaches and locusts along his journeys  🙂

3 Comments

  • Peter says:

    Ja, makes sense seeing as they feast in bacteria-infested environs.

    By the way, the other day I forgot to take out the bin (I normally do it every monday morning). By tuesday morning there were maybe 100 maggots, much to my wife’s horror. But ants were busy carting them out the kitchen, through the entrance hall, up the bathroom wall and out the window! We vaccumed most of them up, but left the ones the ants had already managed to get to the bathroom as a just reward for their efforts.

    Then last night Lins thought that a mosquito was stuck by its head to the outside of the bath. But on closer inspection she realised it was being carried by an ant! Amazing little creatures – my heroes of the week!

    • Enjoy Life says:

      Lol, that’s brilliant.
      Ants are cool – pound for pound they contain more protein than beef. So you could have got a healthy meal too.
      I wonder if their brains contain any amazing health benefits.

      Good to know if there’s a maggot problem and no electricity (for the vacuum cleaner), we can just employ a couple hundred ants.

      – Rory

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