A sting from the honey bee, though painful, could be a great booster for your nerves! Apamin, a toxic chemical found in the honey bee venom could hold the key to make you rid of an array of ailments including muscular dystrophy, depression and dementia, researchers say.

The natural substance apamin in bee venom blocks a type of ion channel that enables a high-speed and selective flow of potassium ions out of nerves.

Nerves become hyperexcitable leading to improved learning when these channels in the brain are blocked, according to a new research by two teams from the University of Bristol and the University of Liege in Belgium.

This may be a target for designing new drugs against dementia and depression. "Drug design depends on knowing the target. Our findings have provided a new approach to designing a therapeutic agent that could help with the treatment of a number of conditions,” according to Professor Neil Marrion of the University of Bristol's Physiology & Pharmacology department.

Apamin when given as injection improves the symptoms experienced by sufferers of myotonic muscular dystrophy (MD), as well, claims a study published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.Even though the scientists have knowledge about apamin toxin, the exact mechanism by which apamin acts was not properly known.

Now, the researchers are able to pinpoint exactly where apamin binds to block the channel in nerve cells of the brain.

Pharmaceutical companies can now utilize the discovery for design of new SK channel blockers which could imitate the action of apamin, to target SK channels for several diseases affecting the nerves, hope the researchers.