Taking Viagra Has An Awesome Secondary Effect, Study Suggests

"Laboratory tests on nerve cells from people with Alzheimer’s supported the notion that sildenafil may treat the disease."

Image Credit: Getty Images

Viagra is known for increasing your bedroom performance, but a new study has found it could have some other benefits, too. 

Taking Viagra cuts your Alzheimer’s risk by almost 70%, a new study suggests.

The scientists claim the erection hoisting drug may also give your brain health a boost and reduce the levels of bad proteins that cause dementia.

Researchers went through data on 7.2 million US adults and found regular Viagra users had a 69% lower chance of Alzheimer’s over the next six years, publishing their findings in Nature Aging.

As Medical News Today reports, “Laboratory tests on nerve cells from people with Alzheimer’s supported the notion that sildenafil may treat the disease.”

The researchers were quick to point out, however, that only clinical trials will give definitive proof that sildenafil (the drug that increases blood flow to the penis) is an effective treatment for Alzheimer’s.

“The association between sildenafil use and decreased incidence of AD does not establish causality, which will require a randomized controlled trial,” the paper in Nature Aging reads.

According to The Sun, “Medics are planning a fresh study to test the benefits of sildenafil – the generic version of Viagra – in early Alzheimer’s patients.”

Man taking little blue pill. Image Credit: thetimes.co.uk

The Sun also reports that a team from Cleveland Clinic “looked at whether any of 1,600 approved drugs could be repurposed to tackle the underlying causes of the disease,” quoting lead researcher Dr. Feixiong Cheng, from Cleveland Clinic’s Genomic Medicine Institute, as saying: “Sildenafil, which has been shown to significantly improve cognition and memory in preclinical models, presented as the best drug candidate.”

Healthline reports that the study had significant limitations, and that – at present – only one drug (Aducanumab) has been approved to treat Alzheimer’s.

Healthline draws attention to a statement made by Professor Tara Spires-Jones, DPhil, deputy director of the Centre for Discovery Brain Sciences at the University of Edinburgh, who said: “This study looks at data from a very large number of people, but there are several important limitations to consider.”

“According to Spires-Jones, study data came from insurance claims, aren’t very detailed, and did not include information on other important risk factors for Alzheimer’s, like sex, risk genes, and socioeconomic status” (Healthline).

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, it is estimated that in 2020 there [were] between 400,000 and 459,000 Australians with dementia, with Alzheimer’s disease accounting for up to 70% of diagnosed cases.

According to The Sun, Dr. Jack Auty, a lecturer in the medical sciences at the University of Tasmania, said of the news: “This is exciting stuff. But we need further research.”

Another university lecturer reportedly asked whether it is feasible to treat everyone with sildenafil for years before they are likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease, and wondered whether this would cause problems in and of itself.

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