It’s what I didn’t know about Spider-man that’s
making me rethink my Halloween costume.
|What Peter Parker should have said...|
Smithsonian: A bite from the banana spider of Central and South
American rain forests causes shortness of breath, excessive salivation,
tremors and—for men—a persistent, intensely painful erection, known as
priapism in the medical community.
So potent is this spider’s ability to command an erection
that researchers wondered if it couldn’t be somehow transformed and used for
good. According to WebMD,
erectile dysfunction and common treatments like Viagra, Levitra and
Cialis fall short of providing results for one in three men with ED.
Scientists write in the Journal of Sexual Medicine that
one of the banana spider’s toxins, PnTx2-6, triggered the release of nitric
oxide, which increased circulation in the rats’ genitals … If rats and human
men are anything alike, the researchers suspect treatments eventually derived
from the toxin might help patients who fail to respond to drugs like Viagra,
which relies on a different mechanism.
Banana spiders are not the only organisms found in nature
with a particular penchant for bringing on unwanted erections. Rabies, too,
sometimes has this effect. In 1988, doctors described the case of one
such affliction in the Postgraduate
Journal of Medicine.
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