A substance in the saliva of vampire bats could help victims of strokes survive, according to researchers at the University of Monash in Melbourne, Australia.
Strokes can happen when a blood clot blocks blood flow to the brain.
An anticlotting substance in bat spit keeps the bloodsucker victim's blood flowing freely, so the bat can continue to feed. The researchers think the same clot-busting substance may be able to dissolve blood clots in stroke patients.
Fortunately the substance would be contained in medicine, and vampire bats would not be required to bite patients!
It is amazing what researchers can study and learn about to save lives.
This brought a lot of questions to my mind. Do you do that? Here's some questions I had as I was reading the article.
- Where did the word saliva come from? Where did the word spit come from?
- In what other unusual ways can lives be saved?
Let us know the questions that come to your mind. If you think you can answer any of the questions that readers share, give it a try! We can gain information through questioning and work as a team from many parts of the world. I think that's cool. I know that there are lots of 'questioning minds' out there! Question away!
Update per request on comment from Jess:
From a Moment of Silence:
Vampire bat spit contains a different compound, DSPA, which does the good things tPA does with far fewer side-effects. DSPA is now being tried on patients who have suffered a stroke, and the data should be in within a year. If it works, doctors might just have found an unlikely friend--the vampire bat.
and from Action News in Philadelphia:
The Cleveland Clinic in Ohio is working on a potential medical breakthrough.
Doctors are using saliva from the "Vampire Bat" to help prevent strokes. Doctors say that when a bat bites someone something in the saliva prevents the blood from clotting. Researchers are proving a genetically-engineered version of the bat spit does not harm brain tissue. In fact, patients have fewer brain hemorrhages than with traditional clot-busting drugs. If studies are successful, this could have a dramatic impact on how stroke patients are treated.