Electroshock... for Snakebites Melvin D. Saunders Pyramid Research Center 1463 Berger St.; Odenton, MD 21113 Reprinted from: Exotic Research Report (Volume 1, Issue 1; Jan/Feb/Mar 1996) Stun Gun Technology The Nova XR-5000 stun gun (Nova Technologies, 2207 Braker Lane, Austin, TX 78758) was first marketed in 1983. It is a hand held stunning device where the front 2 prongs (spaced 2 inches apart) must be pressed against the person for contact effect. One probe acts as the ground terminal, and the other applies the current. A single 9-volt battery with step-up circuits creates a DC electrical spark of 45,000 volts and 60 microamps (very low amperage) at a rate of 20 to 23 pulses per second. Two to four seconds of contact temporarily immobilizes an individual. Any more contact may cause serious electrical burns. High amperage AC electricity from your household outlet on the other hand can easily kill you. With high voltage and low current, just enough DC electricity is transmitted to your body to interfere with the normal electrical circuitry of your nerves and muscles. You react with involuntary muscle spasms and a temporary dazed condition. The Consumer Product Safety Commission’s tests revealed no danger to wearers of artificial pacemakers or patients with heart conditions. In certain U. S. cities though, stun devices are illegal for citizens to carry. For the do-it-yourself kind of person, Radio Electronics Magazine (Sept. 1986) outlined details on making your own stun weapon. Besides self-defense, another use for shock devices has recently been developed. Dr. Ronald Guderian works in the Esmeraldas Province of the Ecuadorian jungle and uses a modified stun gun routinely on snake bites as well as scorpion, stingray, ant and bee stings (Outdoor Life, June 1987, p.55, June, p.64, July 1988 p.45). A Cure for Bee Stings? It all came about when a friend of Dr. Guderian mentioned a Farm Journal article that described how an Illinois farmer who was allergic to bee stings had accidentally found a cure when he touched an electrified fence. Afterwards, Dr. Guderian began successfully treating insect stings and snakebites with the ignition systems of outboard motors, chain saws and automobiles. He attached a wire from a spark plug and used another wire as a ground. Then he applied the live ends to the bite or sting site for 1 or 2 seconds to provide relief. Now Dr. Guderian uses a Nova stun gun. Since insect stings are near the surface, treatment consists of simply spanning the site with the 2 probes and delivering a momentary shock. With the deep fang wounds of snakebites, he added an extension wire to the shorter probe so that it could be held to the opposite side of a bitten limb while the other probe was applied directly to the fang punctures. In this way, current could travel through the wound on its way to the extension wire on the other side of the limb. Some Case Histories... In 34 recorded snakebite cases (mainly fer-de-lance and bushmaster varieties), Dr. Guderian applied the current within a half-hour’s time of the bite, no serious medical complications developed, all pain disappeared within 15 minutes, and none of the patients died. No antivenom was ever administered to any of the patients. Within an hour, each patient was able to return home, and follow-up examinations revealed no necrosis (cellular tissue damage) around the bite. Two patients arrived with swollen limbs and were treated 2 hours after being bitten. Seven electrical treatments spaced 5 to 10 seconds apart provided considerable pain relief and after 12 hours, swelling no longer increased. After 3 days, the swelling had practically disappeared, and only a small necrotic area was visible around one bite site. Seven patients who refused electrotherapy suffered the usual complications of considerable swelling, bleeding, necrosis, shock and kidney failure. Of these, two patients could only be saved by limb amputation. One patient, that had been bitten 3 times by a bushmaster (the largest pit viper in the world), stumbled into Guderian’s medical station 3 hours after being bitten. Despite several applied shocks to the wounds, the patient died within 24 hours. There was just too much venom in his system and too much time before treatment to save the man. Why Does It Work? The biological reason electroshock treatment neutralizes the incompatible alien proteins of snake venom remains unclear. Besides proteins, snake venom contains enzymes and trace elements that could easily be uncoupled or ionized by high-voltage electricity. In the British medical journal, The Lancet (Dec. 6, 1986), C. Kroege and K H. Meyer propose the theory that electricity may neutralize the snake venom by destroying the secondary and tertiary structures of enzymes by influencing their hydrogen bonds. High voltage electricity may also reduce metal ions that are attached to harmful enzymes, thus making these enzymes no longer destructive. Also since body tissue is negatively charged and snake venom is positively charged, unlike charges attract. With the application of electricity, venom may become negatively charged, thus negating its magnetic attraction to body tissue. An Electronic Snakebite Kit As a result of Dr. Guderian’s successful treatment technique, pilots, missionaries, mining engineers and many explorers are now carrying stun guns into the jungles of the world as standard first- aid gear. Even doctors in many remote regions of the world are using and having good results with this method of treating snakebites. Since this treatment has been known for several years in the U.S., anyone who dies as a result of a Crotalid snakebite or being allergic to bee stings has only the ignorance of their own doctors to blame if this technique is not at least tried on them, whether in conjunction with traditional treatments or not. It is certainly something to remember if anyone has suffered a mass attack of “killer bees.” If all the reports are true, to continue denying electrical treatment to bee sting and snakebite victims in the face of so many successful patient recoveries is simply tragic. Emerging Treatments Depending upon how quickly treatment is administered, multiple electric shocks are some-times necessary, but swelling and pain disappear, and recovery is complete when a charge is applied in the early stages after being bitten. For most snakebites, 20,000 - 25,000 volts (at less than one milliamp) like from a modified stun gun is sufficient (The Lancet, July 26, 1986 p. 229). Researchers are experimenting to determine how wide a range of animal poisons can be neutralized in this way. It seems that primarily the hemotoxic poisons (destroyers of blood and other tissues) in snakes are affected by the electro-treatment. There is not enough data on how it affects the neurotoxic venoms (which attack the nervous system, resulting in paralysis of the diaphragm and bodily muscles) of Elapid snakes (cobras, corals, mambas, etc). Jim Scroggins, vice- president of Nova Technologies, the originator of the Stun Gun, found it also works wonderfully on fire ant stings as well. His wife, Donna, is extremely allergic to fire ant stings. While doing some yard work one day, she accidentally got stung by 4 fire ants. Scroggins spanned the sting sites with the stun gun probes and gave her 2 quick half-second zaps. She did not go into her normal anaphylactic shock where her breathing would become extremely difficult. Her pain quickly stopped and no blistering or swelling appeared. The normal emergency room visit for such a mishap become unnecessary. More Research Is Needed Even though the curative principles behind electroshock treatment remain puzzling, expensive antivenin and heretofore lethal snakebites could both be a thing of the past if only doctors would seriously investigate the reasons behind why this new treatment works. Years ago, Bill Haast of the Miami Serpentarium developed some immunity to the neurotoxic venom of cobras by injecting himself with minute amounts of the poison, and then gradually increasing the dosages so that more and more antibodies could build up in his system. You’d think it would dawn on some serious researcher to do a similar experiment using a stun gun. Through small injections of hemotoxic venom coupled with shock treatments from a stun gun, the truth could easily be demonstrated. This would also silence doubting doctors thinking that Guderian’s Indians had an immunity or that the snakes didn’t inject much venom ?!__MDS Publisher’s disclaimer: The purpose of this article is not to recommend, but to inform. Since controlled laboratory experiments have yet to be tried, the author and publishers accept no responsibility for results obtained by using this treatment. References: 1) High Voltage Shock Treatment for Snakebite. July 26, 1986. The Lancet. P. 229. 2) Electric Shocks for Snakebite. Sept. 6, 1986. The Lancet. P. 578. 3) AIDS, Cancer and Snakebite - What Do These Three Have In Common? Jan. 1988. West. Jour. of Medicine. 148(1):84. 4) Shocks For Snakebites. June, 1987. Outdoor Life. P. 55+. 5) Latest Research: A Shock Cure For Snakebite, Part 1. June, 1988. Outdoor Life. P. 64+. 6) A Shocking Cure For Snakebite, Part 2. July, 1988. Outdoor Life. P. 45+. 7) A Letter On Electroshock For Snakebite. Aug. 1987. Veterinary and Human Toxicology. 29(4):320.
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