- Title: USA: Bee venom therapy
- Date: 12th December 2000
- Summary: FILE (REUTERS) CU HONEY BEE ON BEE HIVE; HONEYBEES ON HONEY COMB (3 SHOTS)
- Embargoed: 27th December 2000 12:00
- Location: WALDORF, MARYLAND; WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES
- Country: USA
- Topics: Environment,Health,Quirky,Light / Amusing / Unusual / Quirky
- Reuters ID: LVA37D6M6V5U7TWKB8MTJDHTZTHH
- Aspect Ratio:
- Story Text: The honey bee - one of nature's most industrious, and hardest working creatures has long been employed to fertilise flowers and create honey. But now it may have a new job as pharmacist for those suffering from debilitating diseases.
Pat Wagner practices 'bee venom therapy', intentionally stinging herself and others who have Multiple Sclerosis (MS) - a disease in which the body's immune system attacks its own nervous system.
Wagner says bee venom relieves some of the numbness and lack of muscle control caused by MS.
"What I'm going to do is give you bee stings," Pat Wagner, warns others before she intentionally stings them with honey bees trapped in closed medical clamps.
Kelly Butler, from Maryland, was diagnosed with MS in 1983. He began bee venom therapy six years ago. On this visit received more than twenty stings - with some in very sensitive areas like his neck, buttocks, and inner thigh.
"I can tell you what that does. It just brings everything alive on the knee down. You can feel it just - it's like a warm feeling go all the way down your leg. It wakes everything up on the way, It's amazing," Butler said immediately after being stung.
And while she doesn't work in a formal clinic, the rumours about what Wagner is doing is spreading.
At Georgetown University Medical Center, in Washington D.C., Doctor Joseph Bellanti has started scientifically studying the effects of bee venom in MS patients.
It's too early for conclusive results. The study is still in phase one. Only in the second phase of the study will the effectiveness of bee venom as a treatment be determined.
"Even at this stage, we could say the doses we've given thus far have been safe and there have been no adverse reactions. The numbers are to small to say whether or not there's any significant improvement although some patients feel that there has been," Dr. Bellanti said.
While most attention has been on treating MS sufferers, therapists hope been venom might also be useful for other conditions, including arthritis, glaucoma, and skin disorders.
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