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January 2, 1954


JAMA. 1954;154(1):81. doi:10.1001/jama.1954.02940350083026

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To the Editor:—  Now that processed snake venom, especially the neurotoxin of the cobra, is a recognized medicinal agent the following contribution to herpetological physiology and medical history may be of interest to physicians as well as to the general reader.Snake charming is an art that has been practiced from very ancient times in Africa and the East. It often remains from generation to generation the profession of certain families. It is sometimes practiced for alleged useful purposes, for example, to clear a house of unwelcome snake visitors. For the most part, however, it is employed as a form of popular amusement in India and other countries. The frequent use of a musical pipe or fife and the way in which certain snakes, especially the cobra, seem to respond to the sounds are facts of interest to naturalists, in spite of the claims of some authorities that snakes are

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