Viagra, the drug long known to treat erectile dysfunction has been studied for all sorts of potential side effects. But most of the time scientists and researchers were looking for ones that negatively affect our health. But, a team of researchers have identified a side effect that is actually incredibly beneficial to our health – they think it may stave off dementia.
A team of researchers from St Georges, University of London found that a drug called Tadalfil works by dilating blood vessels and helping blood to travel easier around the body. Tadalfil is incredibly similar to Viagra as they work in the same way, so they believe it may have the same effects.
Vascular dementia is the second most common form of dementia. It is caused by damage to blood vessels in the brain as they deliver less oxygen, effectively starving it. The part of the brain that isn’t receiving enough oxygen becomes damaged and therefore, functions relating to that section begin to become difficult for the patient.
The way Viagra may fix this is by helping those blood vessels to carry enough oxygen and prevent this from happening.
According to the World Health Organisation there are about 35.6 million people worldwide living with dementia and there are 7.7 million new cases every year.
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The Daily Mail reports that lead researcher Dr Atticus Hainsworth has said, “We want to know whether a well-known, well-tolerated drug can be used to combat dementia, which has been called the twenty first century plague. The drug tadalafil is widely used to increase blood flow in penile tissue. Now we’re asking whether it can do the same for another vital organ – the brain.”
Dr Doug Brown, of Alzheimer’s Society, added, “Drug development can take decades and sadly, the path towards developing dementia treatments over the past decade is littered with drugs that have failed in clinical trials. As we learn more about the causes of dementia and its links to other conditions, there is hope that treatments we routinely use for other diseases may also work for people with dementia.”
It is an unusual solution treating something like dementia with the drug that treats erectile dysfunction, but if it works then we say, get that clinical trial started.
Would you consider using this treatment?