Turns out cockroach brains might just save us all

Turns out cockroach brains might just save us all

Roaches, the gross-out saviours (Image: Liz West)

We wanted to follow up on our earlier story about how the UN is seriously considering the potential of farming insects to save the planet from the effects of meat farming. Honestly, we didn’t think we’d need another reason to start eating bugs, but then this tidbit hit the news: the universally reviled cockroach might become the next weapon against such drug-resistant bacteria as E. coli and MRSA.

The brain trust at the University of Nottingham has discovered that a substance in the brains and nervous systems of cockroaches is 90 per cent effective in killing resilient bacteria—which have been increasingly problematic of late—while leaving human tissue unharmed. Turns out that the cockroach’s gross-out factor is precisely what makes it useful to the medical community: because it hangs out in unhygienic environments, it is naturally resistant to, well, unhygienic environments.

Cockroaches are just one of many unlikely heroes emerging from the woodwork of late, joining the ranks of alcohol and psychedelic drugs. At this point, we’re just waiting to find out which misunderstood horror will turn out to be good for us in the long run. Global warming? Red meat?

How Cockroach Brains May One Day Save Your Life [Treehugger]