Afraid of spider? You're not alone - arachnophobia or fear of spiders is very common (it's been estimated that more than half of women in the Western world are afraid of spiders to some degree).
But for some, spider phobia can be very severe and debilitating - but now, there's hope: researchers have found that a two-hour "exposure" therapy can "cure" the irrational fear of spiders by fundamentally changing the brain's fear response.
The catch? You have to hold a tarantula in your hand (Eek!):
"Before treatment, some of these participants wouldn't walk on grass for fear of spiders or would stay out of their home or dorm room for days if they thought a spider was present," said lead study author Katherina Hauner, postdoctoral fellow in neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, in a statement.
After a single therapy session lasting up to three hours, "they were able to walk right up and touch or hold a tarantula. And they could still touch it after six months," Hauner said.