Spyder Bite Cures Paralyzed Man, OH spydee where you at - The Horse Forum
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 1 Old 03-25-2009, 05:30 PM Thread Starter
Trained
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 5,332
• Horses: 0
Spyder Bite Cures Paralyzed Man, OH spydee where you at

It sounds like something out of the pages of The Weekly World News, right next to an alien abduction story: Paralyzed California man bit by brown recluse spider walks again. Only it was reported for real last week on CNN, ABC, NBC and CBS.
Yes, a miracle - a miracle this could make the evening news, for this was a phenomenally poorly reported story bereft of the simplest of fact-checking. Of the three basic facts reported by these apparently professional journalists - paralyzed man, brown recluse spider, and walking - two are surely false.

Yet more than just another example of lousy broadcast journalism, such stories bring false hopes and even danger to those desperate enough to experiment with venom to cure their paralysis.

Talk to a doctor

Here's the full story as sort-of reported: A man named David Blancarte of either Modesto or Manteca, Calif. (reports vary), who was either paralyzed or confined to a wheelchair (reports vary) after a motorcycle accident either 20 or 21 years ago (reports vary), was bitten by a brown recluse spider two years ago and sought treatment in a hospital. An unnamed nurse there noticed muscle spasms; concluded his nerves were just "asleep"; ordered tests; got him to rehab; and got him walking again.

"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence," the late astronomer Carl Sagan liked to say. None of the news reports, however, included a doctor or scientist commenting on the possibility of a spider curing paralysis, let alone confirming Blancarte's recollection of the medical facts.

I'm not saying this guy wasn't in a bad way for 20-some years. What likely happened was that Blancarte's legs weren't completely paralyzed and, in fact, were slowly healing. A bite of some sort - more on this below - got him to a hospital, where medical professionals realized that there was nerve and muscle activity unrelated to the bite. Through physical therapy he slowly regained the ability to walk, albeit with a walker.

Good for him. What a great stroke of luck. But that's a far cry from headlines such as "NorCal Paraplegic Cured by Spider Bite."

Talk to your local arachnologists

There's a touch of Spider-Man in this tale, with the venom of a spider imparting superhuman powers. But the journalists' spider senses weren't tingling enough to understand that there are no brown recluse spiders in California. These tiny spiders - no bigger than a quarter, legs and all - are rarely seen west of the Rockies, inhabiting the Midwest from Texas up to Canada.

Chances are, it wasn't even a spider that bit Blancarte. As reported in a 2005 article in the New England Journal of Medicine, 80 percent of patients seeking medical care for a spider bite were actually bitten by something far more benign, such as a tick, flea or beetle.

The brown recluse spider, in particular, gets a bum rap. As the name implies, these spiders aren't aggressive and don't like to be around anyone. In the states that do have lots of them, reports of bites are rare or non-existent. Yet in states that don't have them, such as California or Colorado, reports of bites number in the hundreds, according to a study in the journal Toxicon led by Rick Vetter of University of California, Riverside, who seems to be on a crusade to stop myths about spider bites.

Alas, there's a new twist to this strange story. Blancarte can walk but apparently he can't run from the law. With his sudden fame alerting police to his whereabouts, Blancarte was arrested last week on a contempt-of-court charge stemming from a domestic violence case - that is if you believe the news reports

I am concerned for the security of our great Nation; not so much because of any threat from without, but because of the insidious forces working from within. Douglas MacArthur
RegalCharm is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the The Horse Forum forums, you must first register.

Already have a Horse Forum account?
Members are allowed only one account per person at the Horse Forum, so if you've made an account here in the past you'll need to continue using that account. Please do not create a new account or you may lose access to the Horse Forum. If you need help recovering your existing account, please Contact Us. We'll be glad to help!

New to the Horse Forum?
Please choose a username you will be satisfied with using for the duration of your membership at the Horse Forum. We do not change members' usernames upon request because that would make it difficult for everyone to keep track of who is who on the forum. For that reason, please do not incorporate your horse's name into your username so that you are not stuck with a username related to a horse you may no longer have some day, or use any other username you may no longer identify with or care for in the future.



User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in









Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
severe bug bite reaction ? pic lacyloo Horse Health 10 08-01-2009 07:45 PM
Bite ratlover Horse Health 2 03-25-2009 09:35 PM
Horse bite, Advice ShowJumpLife Horse Talk 4 01-28-2009 11:22 PM
Tips for horses that bite/are mouthy girl_on_black_pony Horse Training 6 07-23-2008 01:55 AM
Old bite marks perhaps? SonnyWimps Horse Health 3 05-30-2008 06:18 PM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome