Spider bite won’t turn you into Spiderman, but could give you an erection
30th August 2012
Would you willingly take a tablet that comprised of the venom from the world’s deadliest spider? As unthinkable as this thought may sound, it could be close to reality if the research from Brazilian and American scientists eventually comes to fruition in the near future. We’ve all seen the Spiderman films which depict Peter Parker succumbing to a spider bite, and subsequently adopting the traits of the insect; scaling walls and being able to create spider webs. Obviously this isn’t possible in real-life and a purely fictional account of what happens after being bitten, but there are other interesting side effects it seems! After conducting a study involving aging rats with sexual dysfunction, the scientists now claim that a toxin from the venom of the highly dangerous Brazilian ‘wandering spider’ can bizarrely be used to help treat erectile dysfunction in men. Also known as the ‘banana spider’, due to their common tendency to hide out in shipments of bananas and lurk within banana plants, the wandering spiders received their name due to their inclination to roam around the jungle floor at night. They emanate from South and Central America and are responsible for more fatalities than any other type of spider, with the venom often killing the victim within just one hour. For a number of years, there have been many instances of certain males being bitten by this spider and fortunately managing to receive the urgent medical treatment they require, and thus surviving. Following this, a good number of these men then reported a boost in their erections and sex lives, and the Brazilian and American researchers wanted to know more. Their research focused on elderly rats that had some degree of erectile dysfunction. The rats were injected with the PnTx2-6 toxin from the wandering spiders, which the scientists had successfully managed to isolate from the deadly venom. The PnTx2-6 was found to help trigger the release of nitric oxide, which aids in relaxing blood vessel walls and increasing efficient blood flow. The abstract of the study written by Kenia P. Nunes and her colleagues, says, “Nitric oxide synthase (NOS) activity in aged and young cavernosal tissue was increased by incubation with PnTx2-6. Age-associated erectile dysfunction involves a decrease in nitric oxide availability and impaired relaxation. Decrease in erectile function associated with age was partially restored 15 to 20 minutes after injection with PnTx2-6.” There are millions of men around the world who are suffering with erectile dysfunction, so the discoveries by the scientists may be fairly exciting. However, to say the findings are in the ‘early stages’ is a huge understatement. Many clinical trials will need to be conducted to fully determine the safeness of using toxins from known deadly spiders, any potential side effects and the risk groups to such chemicals. It may be several years before an erectile dysfunction tablet containing spider toxins is readily available and fit for public use. In the mean-time, it would be worthwhile for those with male impotence to read into the only available medications to treat the condition; Viagra, Cialis and Levitra.