December 23,

When it comes to sickness and disease, most of us have grown 

used to accepting what life brings us. We are all equally at risk. Viruses and bacteria don't care. They attack the weak and the vulnerable or the just plain unlucky. But those born with a genetic or hereditary condition deserve our special sympathy. 

This is always particularly unfair. They are born with a limited number of years to live or with a permanent disability. They never have the chance of an "ordinary" life. So it is with muscular dystrophy, an unfortunate condition where muscles waste away, limiting mobility, affecting balance and eventually removing the ability to walk. 

People who have this condition tire rapidly, even when the activity level is actually very low. This rapid loss of energy has always been considered odd. We can all intuitively understand that people whose muscles are wasting away will get tired quickly, but not so tired after so little exercise. At first, scientists believed the cause of this fatigue to be overproduction of an enzyme called creatine kinase. 

However, the most recent research suggests an alternative - that there is a loss of an enzyme called neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS). This prompted the researchers to turn to an unlikely medication for treatment - viagra. As you know, viagra works by allowing the smooth muscles in arteries to dilate. 

The research team has bred lab mice with muscular dystrophy (scientists are really clever in a macabre kind of way). They examined the blood vessels before and, after light exercise, found the vessels had constricted, reducing the flow of oxygenated blood. But when these mice were given viagra, they were able to exercise without tiring. Preliminary testing in human volunteers shows that they too lack nNOS. 

The hope is that treatment with viagra as an already approved drug will allow people with muscular dystrophy to move around with getting so tired. However, the fact that this treatment works in mice is no guarantee that it will work in humans. The further difficulty is that if humans are able to exercise more, this may accelerate the breakdown in the muscle cell structure. There needs to be considerable testing before this treatment can be approved. But it does at least offer the chance that the lives of these people can be improved while we wait for gene splicing therapy to come along in the future. So thats an exciting reason to buy viagra online.

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