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The Subtle Beast
Snakes, From Myth to Medicine





ISBN 9780415284981
Published April 30, 2003 by CRC Press
176 Pages

 
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Book Description

The Subtle Beast: Snakes, from Myth to Medicine introduces you to the complex and absorbing world of these mysterious creatures. Each of the fourteen chapters in this volume can be read independently, but read together they trace a fascinating journey from the macroscopic features of snakes to the molecular description of their venom components.

The first three chapters detail how snakes inspired fear and worship, served as sources of medicine, and represented good and evil throughout the ages. The remaining sections describe much of the scientific work that has eroded these supernatural beliefs during the past three centuries. The book examines the origin, features, and classification of snakes, and also offers a precise description of snake venoms and their components. The final chapter discusses how venoms can be applied toward medicinal purposes. Illustrated with a wealth of full color figures, this volume explains technical topics in language that is understandable to an educated lay audience.

About the Author
André Ménez is the Director of the Department of Protein Engineering at the Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique (CEA) in France. He heads the Laboratory of Protein Chemistry and is Professor at the National Institute of Sciences and Nuclear Techniques. His knowledge of the toxins of venomous animals inspires his study of proteins for the development of new antivenins and drugs. He is a recipient of the Redi Award from the International Society of Toxicology.

Table of Contents

Men and Snakes: Truths and Fallacies

Snakes and Myths

Snakes and Early Medicine

The Origin of Snakes

What Are Snakes?

Classification of Snakes

Discovery of Snake Venoms

Snake Venom Potency

Clinical Aspects of Snake Poisoning

Non-Toxic Venom Components

What Are Snake Toxins?

Toxins in Action

Stopping the Action of Toxins

From Toxins to Drugs

Appendix: A Taste of Protein Chemistry

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