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article imageSpider venom may contain breakthrough for erectile dysfunction

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By Kev Hedges     Mar 7, 2011 in Science
New research by scientists at a medical college in Georgia have found the venom from a Brazilian wandering spider can cause four-hour long erections.
The toxin works in a different way to Viagra or Cialis and could be used by patients who don't respond to those conventional treatments. The highly-venomous spider, also known as the banana spider, possesses a toxic mixture of several molecules. The side-effects of the toxin causes priapism, a condition that causes erections lasting four hours.
Priapism however is often painful and is not associated with sexual desire but Kenia Nunes, a physiologist at the Medical College of Georgia, isolated the active toxin and fed the peptide called PnTx2-6 to rats that were erectile-challenged and had high blood pressure. The result, published in her Journal of Sexual Medicine study, found the previously flaccid rats were very much perked-up and with no side effects, reports Discover, a science blog.
Miss Nunes now wants to see if this toxin can also help female sexual dysfunction, reports the Daily Mail.
The spider, whose scientific classification is Phoneutria nigriventer, usually turns up in banana plantations in South America. Some of these spiders have found their way into supermarkets in the USA and Canada. One was discovered recently in a grocery store in Manitoba, Canada.
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