Locust Experiments May Lead To New Treatments For Strokes, Migraines, & Epilepsy

Credit: Courtesy of Gary Armstrong, Queens UniversityCredit: Courtesy of Gary Armstrong, Queens University Scientists at Queen's University in Canada have discovered a link betwen locust comas and human strokes, migraines and epilepsy.  This is not only an interesting scientific finding, but it may lead to new drugs to prevent or alleviate the occurances of brain disturbances in humans.

When a locust suffers from extreme heat or dehydration, its nerve cells shut down to conserve the insect's energy until the conditions disappear.  As one of the study's researchers pointed out, it is hard to drown an insect because it can remain safely in a coma for several hours.

The research, Locusts Shed Light On Migraines, Stroke And Epilepsy, published in the July 2, 2009 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience, indicates that the brain episodes that occur during stroke, migraine, and epilepsy are similar to those in locusts during comas, although humans do not benefit from their brain disturbances.

What is most important about identifying the similar cellular occurrences between locusts and humans is that locusts can be used to test drugs that prevent a coma or that can speed up recovery from the coma.  One drug has already been tested that completely suppressed the coma in 70 percent of the locusts. 

Imagine how such a drug could impact humans about to suffer a stroke.


Queen's University (2009, July 3). Human-like Brain Disturbances In Insects: Locusts Shed Light On Migraines, Stroke And Epilepsy. ScienceDaily. Queens University release.


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