What's the Buzz

What's the Buzz

Taking viagra may make you deaf

Doctors have warned that taking Viagra may make you deaf. The little blue pills and similar impotence drugs have been linked to hundreds of cases of sudden hearing loss around the world, including some in the UK.

The researchers from Charing Cross, Stoke Mandeville and Royal Marsden hospitals asked drug watchdogs in Europe, the America, East Asia and Australasia if they had received reports of ‘Viagra deafness’ — hearing loss shortly after taking impotence pills.

They uncovered 47 suspected cases of sensorineural hearing loss — a rapid loss of hearing in one or both ears — linked to Viagra and related drugs Cialis and Levitra. Eight were from the UK. The average age of those affected was 57, although two of the men involved were only 37.

It is not clear how long the problems lasted, but this type of hearing loss, more commonly due to infections and exposure to loud noise, usually causes permanent damage in up to a third of cases.

The FDA advises users of Viagra, Cialis or Levitra who find their hearing suddenly worsening to stop the pills immediately and see their doctor. The British researchers are not sure how Viagra might affect hearing, but it may be that the chain of chemical reactions it triggers have knock-on effects in the inner ear.

Brain consumes majority of energy for intrinsic activity

Ongoing, intrinsic brain activity that is not task-related accounts for the majority of energy used by the human brain.

Marcus Raichle of the Washington University School of Medicine (St Louis, MO), described the current understanding of the spontaneous, intrinsic activity of the human brain as “still very much a work in progress”.

A part from it, he provided a clear and comprehensive overview of the most recent observations derived from modern brain imaging techniques.

These included findings related to spatial and temporal patterns of intrinsic brain activity, the relationship between spontaneous activity and consciousness, the fact that a lack of direct physical connections between brain structures does not preclude functional connectivity, the link between age and changes in brain function and connectivity, and the integration of major brain systems during a task compared to when the brain is at rest.

Parents’ marital strife affects their baby’s sleep

A new study has found that couples having marital difficulties are more likely to have infants who are losing sleep, which may have a continuing impact on them.
Specifically, researchers found that marital instability when the child was nine months old was related to child sleep problems at 18 months, including difficulties falling asleep and staying asleep, according to Anne Mannering, an Oregon State University faculty member.

“If sleep problems persist, this can correlate with problems in school, inattention and behavioural issues,” Anne  said.

“Parents should be aware that stress in the marriage can potentially impact their child even at a very young age.”

Researchers interviewed more than 350 families with adopted infants in order to eliminate the possibility that these shared genes influence the relationship between marital instability and child sleep problems.

“Our findings suggest that the association between marital instability and children’s subsequent sleep problems emerges earlier in development than has been demonstrated previously,” she said.

Heart disease drug may help treat bronchitis

A new research led by Dundee University has suggested that beta blocker drugs, usually prescribed for heart diseases, may also help sufferers of chronic bronchitis and emphysema.

Researchers in the Asthma and Allergy Group at Dundee, NHS Tayside and St Andrews University, found the drugs reduced mortality rates and hospital admissions for patients already taking regular inhaler therapies.

“The clear benefits of beta blocker use in cardiovascular disease are well known but their use is generally avoided in patients who also have COPD, because of concerns they might cause adverse effects with breathing,” said Prof Brian Lipworth, who heads the group.

“But our research shows there are no adverse effects and in fact, when used in addition to regular treatments like inhalers, the beta blockers have a very positive effect,” added Lipworth.