Viagra reaches new peaks - fighting altitude sickness

The impotence drug Viagra may help to combat altitude sickness, doctors believe. Tests involving 12 French volunteers who spent eight days camping near the top of Mont Blanc were described as encouraging yesterday. The middle-aged volunteers pedalled exercise bicycles at 4,360 metres watched by doctors working with Professor Jean-Paul Richalet of the University of Paris 13, an authority on environment-related illness. Half of the volunteers were given three daily doses of sildenafil, which is sold as viagra, and the rest placebos. Professor Richalet said the preliminary results were "encouraging". Viagra appears to increase blood circulation in the lungs at extreme altitude.

This reduces the effects of altitude sickness, which include migraines, insomnia and fatal lung or brain failure.Professor Richalet is to conduct further tests before he publishes his findings.

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