Industryinet

A SHOCK CURE
for Snakebite
The first part of the article tells several stories of cases where high voltage DC was used to treat snakebites.

In the first case, Dr. Daryl Neans, a veterinarian of Pflugerville, Texas, tells the story of a rancher who brought in a dog that was bitten on the face by a rattlesnake 30 minutes earlier. The dog's face had started swelling and because Dr. Neans had previously read an OUTDOOR LIFE article about the treatment, he connected a wire to one of the spark plug wires of his truck then grounded another one to the frame and used the two wires to shock the "dog's face half a dozen times around the bites." The treatment seemed to relieve the dog's pain, but "for insurance, Dr. Neans had followed the shock treatment with the usual cortisone, antibiotics, and tetanus antitoxin, but he's convinced that the shock had already effected the cure." The article explains why Dr. Neans believes in the cure: "Body tissue is negatively charged, snake venom is slightly positive, and unlike charges attract. If ionization of the venom molecules is altered by electrical shock, he reasoned, perhaps they can't attach themselves to animal tissue and destroy it."

Dr. Markus Kryger had read about the treatment in a medical journal when he opted to use it on courthouse employee in southwestern Missouri who was bitten by a copperhead just outside the courthouse. He used jumper cables attached to the spark coil of his car to treat the wound after giving the woman a tetanus shot and disinfecting the bite. "Within the hour, the puzzled patient was back at work." Dr. Kryger became convinced that electrical shock could deactivate snake venom because of the chemistry of the poison. Besides proteins and enzymes, venom contains copper and other trace metals whose electrical properties could be easily upset by high-voltage shock, thereby possibly uncoupling what makes the venom work.

Dr. Ronald Guderian is a missionary doctor from Seattle who is given credit for being the first to use high voltage DC to treat snakebite. He has "successfully treated more than 60 cases in the Esmeraldas Province of Ecuador." Based on Dr. Guderian's experience it seems that if the treatment is received within 15 to 20 minutes after the bite has been inflicted then the pain stops almost immediately and no swelling will occur. If swelling has already started, then it stops and the pain soon subsides. Dr. Guderian typically uses a Nova Technologies stun gun with one of the electrodes modified so that the current can be passed directly through the limb by placing an electrode on each side. "All of the successful treatments have been performed with 20,000 to 25,000 volts or more." It has to be DC voltage, too.

The article expresses a concern that someone with a pacemaker might be killed if they were shocked with the voltage from an ignition system. The frequency and duration of the pulses of an ignition system, it is feared, might scramble a pacemaker.

"NO ONE HAS EVER USED ELECTRIC SHOCK TO TREAT SNAKEBITE INFLICTED BY SNAKES WHOSE VENOM ATTACKS THE NERVOUS SYSTEM." (ex. cobra) "The only venomous snake of this kind in the United States is the coral snake." The article warns that the high voltage DC shock would not be effective against the neurotoxins in the venom of snakes such as the cobra and coral snakes. Dr. Guderian's success has been with using the Stun Gun made by Nova Technologies. The FDA won't let Nova advertise the stun gun as a treatment against snakebite until further testing has been achieved. There has been some trouble with reproducing the effect of the treatment in the laboratory. It has been proposed that the reason that the treatment has not worked in the laboratory is because those who were doing the testing were using one of the many imitation stun guns imported to the US from Taiwan or South Korea. Another factor in why the treatment does not work in the laboratory is that, in the laboratory, it is tested on small animals.

In the words of Dr. Guderian, "Think about it. Snake venom evolved for the purpose of quickly killing prey. Humans are not snake prey: we just get in the way some times. There may be biological differences causing small animals to be more susceptible than humans to venom. Or it may just be a matter of our much larger size. ….When a small animal is snakebitten, all of it's biological systems shut down so fast that nothing can be done to stop it. When a human is bitten, he has a local reaction, followed by pain, swelling, and possible death perhaps 24 hours later."

The Japanese have reported to Dr. Guderian "that his shock treatment works on people bitten by their venomous snakes." He has also received letters telling of success stories in Peru, Columbia, Argentina, New Guinea and Africa. As an explanation for why the treatment works, the article cites a Texas chemist who suspects that electro-phoresis is taking place. In electro-phoresis, a high DC voltage is applied to a substance to dissociate the compounds in that substance. "Snake venom is a complex combination of proteins, enzymes (which are proteins with biological activity) and metal ions…. The positively charged proteins travel toward the negative terminal, and the negatively charged proteins migrate toward the positive connection…. The chemist suggested that high-voltage shock would cause enough separation to render the venom inactive."

This second part of the article opens by describing the experience of Jim Scroggins, vice-president of Nova Technologies, when he took a trip to Ecuador for the purpose of verifying the incredible claims being made by Dr. Ronald Guderian in regards to the ability of the Nova Stun Gun to treat snakebite. On a hike through the jungle to visit an indian village, Jim was bitten on the arm by a conga ant. The conga ant's "venom can cause a limb to swell so badly that it can't be used for days." Jim claimed the bite felt like "five wasp stings in the same spot." He shocked the wound with a stun gun and "within 30 to 60 seconds the pain was gone." Even though conga ant bites are supposed to swell the whole limb, Jim had no swelling, only a discolored area the diameter of a baseball. Dr. Guderian began the high voltage DC shock treatment, not on snakebites, but originally on stings and bites from scorpions, ants, bees, wasps, and other kinds of insects.

In the beginning he used the ignition systems of outboard motors and chainsaws to treat the stings, but he later was sent a portable, battery powered "buzzer-and-coil" setup from a friend in Indiana. Later on the same friend sent him several Stun Guns to try out. While Jim Scroggins was in Ecuador, a girl was stung on the toe by a scorpion and given the shock treatment with a stun gun. After a few minutes the pain was gone and the girl left the emergency room. After Scroggins got home from his trip to Ecuador, his wife was working in the yard when she was bitten on the hand by four fire ants. "Donna starts getting a reaction to just one fire-ant bite in about five minutes. Then, she goes into anaphylactic shock and can't breathe." In the rush to go to the hospital, the Scroggins took time to treat the hand with "two quick half-second zaps" from a Nova Technologies Stun Gun. On the way to the hospital, the pain had stopped, so they turned around and went home. "There was little or no swelling, perhaps one third of what she usually gets from a single bite."

Dr. Guderian has found out through various sources that shocks have been used to treat scorpion stings for years in places like India. 40 years ago, people in Nigeria who were stung by scorpions were commonly shocked with the ignition system of a motorcycle. High voltage DC can be used to treat other things as well. While in the city of Esmeraldas, Dr. Guderian had the opportunity to treat a child who had been stung on the back by a stingray. He used a wire connected to an automobile's ignition coil and 20 minutes after the treatment the child was back in the water again playing as if nothing had happened.

A Dr. Stoddard, talked to by OUTDOOR LIFE, points out that bacteria, like venom, is largely protein. So are viruses. In Europe, acne is being treated with electricity. Dr. Guderian has treated boils with high voltage DC. According to him, if a boil is treated before it comes to a head, the swelling and reddness will be gone in three to four days. Dr. Stoddard even suggests that in the future rabies may be treated with electric shock. Dr. Guderian is amazed at how well the shock treatment works to relieve pain. He suspects that the pain deactivation process is separate from the deactivation of the poison. The article tells the story of a Texas woman who suffers from severe migraine headaches and voluteered to be treated with a stun gun. She was shocked on the back of the neck and once on each side. The pain went away, but in the morning it was back, only this time much weaker. The process was repeated again and the pain totally vanished. It is proposed in the article that, "the same high voltage shock that upsets the electrical charge of venom proteins may upset the charges in body proteins that signal pain to our brains."

Submitted to KeelyNet by Michael McQuay
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The previous article is a summation and series of quotes from a two part article that appeared in OUTDOOR LIFE magazine. The name of the article is "A Shock Cure for Snakebite" and was written by Larry Mueller. Part 1 of the article was in the June 1988 issue and Part 2 was in the July 1988 issue. Back issues of OUTDOOR LIFE can be purchased by writing OUTDOOR LIFE, Back Issue Department, P.O. Box 54733, Boulder, CO 80233. The price per back issue is $4.00. A cheaper way out is to call the OUTDOOR LIFE home office at (212)779-5000 and ask them to send you a copy of the article. They will do this free of charge but you may have to tell them that you are a subscriber to their magazine.