How Cockroach Brains May One Day Save Your Life

cockroach close-up photo
Photo via C.E. Bucephalus

They´re the insect that everyone loves to hate - but one day a cockroach just may save your life. Typically despised for being ugly, dirty, and icky, the hardy critters actually possess powerful antibiotic properties inside their little brains which could be used to help combat drug resistant bacterial infection in humans.According to Physorg, researchers from the University of Nottingham found that cockroaches brains and nervous systems contain a substance that was 90 percent effective in killing resilient bacterial strains, like MRSA and E. coli bacteria, while leaving surrounding human tissue unharmed.

Researcher Simon Lee explains how the discovery could help combat superbugs:

We hope that these molecules could eventually be developed into treatments for E. coli and MRSA infections that are increasingly resistant to current drugs. These new antibiotics could potentially provide alternatives to currently available drugs that may be effective but have serious and unwanted side effects.

Mutant strains of drug resistant bacteria, called superbugs, are a growing concern among medical researchers. Through the heavy use of antibiotics and disinfectant, particularly in a hospital setting, bacterial forms occasionally evolve resiliency to antibiotics. These superbugs ¨have shown the ability to cause untreatable infections, and have become a major threat in our fight against bacterial diseases,¨ says Dr Naveed Khan, who´s working with Simon on the project. ¨Thus, there is a continuous need to find additional sources of novel antimicrobials to confront this menace.¨

While it may be a bit surprising that an insect normally considered unclean may hold the key to keeping ourselves disease free in the future, Dr. Kahn says the cockroach´s down and dirty lifestyle may be the reason why.

Insects often live in unsanitary and unhygienic environments where they encounter many different types of bacteria. It is therefore logical that they have developed ways of protecting themselves against micro-organisms.

So, it just may be the outcast little cockroach that comes through in the end to save humanity from evil superbugs. Let´s just hope they don´t hold those slipper attacks against us.

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