top of page

Viagra prevents dementia?

Taking Viagra might lower your risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease, by increasing blood flow to the brain. This is the opinion of Brian Doctorow PhD, writing in “NIH Matters” on 14th December 2021. And Lisa Rapaport writing in the website “Everyday Health” on 18th February 2022, agrees. She reports on a trial that showed Viagra’s cousin Cialis can prevent vascular dementia by increasing blood flow to the brain.

We have been worrying more about dementia in recent years as researchers focused on a protein called amyloid in the brains of people who died with Alzheimer’s Disease. However, some experts consider that Alzheimer's Disease is caused by blood clots blocking up cerebral arteries and is another version of the dementia of multiple strokes. J.C. de la Torre writing in the journal "Stroke" April 2002 issue, stated "the data presented here pose a powerful argument in support of the proposal that AD (Alzheimer's Disease) should be classified as a vascular (blood vessel) disorder" .


If this is true, then it is reasonable to expect that taking a drug that will increase blood flow to the brain might lower the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. And perhaps there could be another factor at play in triggering the progressive deterioration seen in Alzheimer's Disease. The pattern of the dementia of multiple strokes is one of a step-like loss of brain function with each episode of cerebral artery blockage.


When I worked as a psychiatrist in a large hospital, it was common to hear relatives of women diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease say, “You know she’s always been a bit like this, don’t you Doc?” “She’d rather read a Mills and Boon instead of the newspaper.”

Could it be that a tendency to prefer romantic fantasy over harsh reality might suggest a tendency to withdraw from areas of social difficulty? And could this tendency to remake one’s daily reality be somehow involved in causing Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alan Alda from the TV show M.A.S.H was the researcher in a series of TV documentaries. One of the studies involved a laboratory technician wearing an occlusive eye cover that made her blind for three weeks. They would be teaching her Braille, the touch language of the blind. She would be learning how to interpret the feel of the raised dots of the Braille alphabet with the tip of her right index finger.


Before our volunteer applied her blindfold, a special electroencephalograph EEG demonstrated that stimulation of the right index finger tip produced, as expected, a spike in the EEG record in the left lateral side of her brain. This part of the brain controls the right index finger. After three weeks of learning Braille while she was temporarily blind, stimulation of the right index finger tip unexpectedly produced a spike in the EEG from the occipital lobe at the back of the brain. This is the seeing part of the brain.

In three weeks, our volunteer laboratory technician's brain had re-wired itself to see the world through her right index finger tip. Can the brain do this?

If someone does not want to hear, the brain will begin switching off hearing. Some people who claim they’re going deaf have been saying to their relatives, “Don’t tell me any more bad luck stories, I’m not listening!”

Some relatives might say of a loved one claiming poor eyesight, “She can read if she wants to. She would much rather someone else opens the overdue bills.”

It is not uncommon for a minor stroke to start a deterioration that eventually becomes a dementia. This is more likely if this person is afraid of getting by in the world after a minor loss of brain function. The brain is perfectly capable of rewiring itself to switch off communication skills that might cause a fearful person intolerable situational anxiety.

Could it be that some cases of dementia might start as a reaction to loss of a minor function where the brain re-wires itself?

Certainly worth some thought.

9 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Do We Want to Stop War?

Without the threat, the fear, and the memories of wars we would live in a different world. Whoever wrote Genesis Chapter One of the Holy Bible claimed that God, the Spirit who created us, designed us

Behaviour leading to hell

Christians know of some "hard sayings" of Jesus but they may not be fully aware of the danger described in verse 22 of the Gospel of Matthew Chapter 5. "But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry wit

Comments


bottom of page