Medicine: Curare for Polio

The Indian arrow poison curare (rhymes with safari) is sometimes used in abdominal surgery and in spastic paralysis, to relax taut muscles. But doctors have not generally liked it much, because an overdose will kill a patient.

A new use for curare was described in the Journal of the American Medical Association last week: Dr. Nicholas S. Ransohoff of Long Branch, N.J. says it has helped relax polio patients. (They often have severe cramps, because paralyzed muscles cause unaffected muscles near by to contract.)

Dr. Ransohoff does not say that curare is a cure for polio—it cannot restore destroyed nerves. All...

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