Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Viagra may be saving endangered species after all

Date:
October 11, 2005
Source:
University of New South Wales
Summary:
Chinese men are selectively switching from traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) to Viagra to treat erectile dysfunction, but sticking with tradition for ailments such as arthritis, indigestion and gout, according to new research published in the journal Environmental Conservation. The finding supports a prediction made by Australian and Alaskan researchers at the advent of Viagra's commercial release in 1998 that the new impotence drug might reduce demand for several animal species that are over-harvested to treat impotence with TCMs.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA -- Chinese men are selectively switching from traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) to Viagra to treat erectile dysfunction, but sticking with tradition for ailments such as arthritis, indigestion and gout, according to new research published in Environmental Conservation.

The finding supports a prediction made by Australian and Alaskan researchers at the advent of Viagra's commercial release in 1998 that the new impotence drug might reduce demand for several animal species that are over-harvested to treat impotence with TCMs.

Animals such as seals, sea horses and tigers have long been hunted because practitioners of TCM use their body parts for their presumed healing and virility qualities.

The researchers surveyed 256 Chinese men, aged 50 to 76, who sought treatment at a large TCM clinic in Hong Kong. The men were questioned about their previous and current use of TCM and Western treatments for arthritis, indigestion, gout and impotence.

The study's lead authors are Dr Bill von Hippel, a psychologist from the University of New South Wales (Sydney, Australia), and his brother, Dr Frank von Hippel, a biologist from the University of Alaska, Anchorage. The von Hippels cite three key findings from the research.

"First, significantly more men had formerly used a TCM treatment for impotence than were current users," says Bill von Hippel.

"Second, they were significantly more likely to be using a Western treatment for impotence than a TCM treatment.

"Finally, among men who formerly used either Western or TCM treatments for impotence, they were more likely to switch from a TCM treatment to a Western drug than vice versa. In fact, nobody had switched from a Western drug to a TCM treatment for impotence.

"This was in contrast to their behaviour with the other three ailments - arthritis, indigestion and gout, where the men were more likely to be current users of a TCM treatment than a Western treatment.".

These findings stand in contrast to prior research suggesting a mistrust of Western medicine in Asian markets.

"When we proposed that Viagra might make inroads into TCM treatments for impotence, conservationists told us we were naïve and that TCM consumers were unwilling to use a product outside their own medical tradition," says Bill von Hippel. "For example, there is still strong demand for tiger bone among TCM apothecaries who use it in the treatment of pain relief, despite the widespread availability of aspirin.

"But the failure to achieve an erection isn't comparable to having a headache or the many other ailments for which consumers still prefer TCM treatments. Furthermore, Viagra differs from many other Western drugs, in that the effects are rapid and visible to the naked eye.

"The fact is that prior to the commercial availability of Viagra in 1998, no product in any medical tradition had been proven to be an effective and non-intrusive treatment of erectile dysfunction. So despite their history of using traditional medicines and their alleged suspicions of Western medicine, the men we interviewed chose the product that works best."

These findings are consistent with previous research by the von Hippels showing evidence of a post-Viagra decline during the 1990s in the harvesting of three species used in TCM impotence treatments.

The pair attributed some of this decline to Viagra, despite scepticism among many academics and wildlife experts.

In 2002, the global market for TCM products and treatments was valued at more than $20 billion, according to the Chinese firm Shenzhen Matrix Information Consulting.

###

About Bill Von Hippel:

Bill von Hippel, PhD, is associate professor in the school of psychology at the University of New South Wales (Sydney, Australia). His research interests include prejudice and stereotyping, social-cognitive ageing, and evolutionary psychology.

Homepage: http://www.psy.unsw.edu.au/Users/BHippel/

FUNDING STATEMENT
The research was assisted by research grants from Pfizer Inc.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of New South Wales. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of New South Wales. "Viagra may be saving endangered species after all." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 October 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/10/051011074239.htm>.
University of New South Wales. (2005, October 11). Viagra may be saving endangered species after all. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/10/051011074239.htm
University of New South Wales. "Viagra may be saving endangered species after all." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/10/051011074239.htm (accessed August 20, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Possible Ebola Patient in Isolation at California Hospital

Possible Ebola Patient in Isolation at California Hospital

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 20, 2014) — A patient who may have been exposed to the Ebola virus is in isolation at the Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Medical Center. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: World's Oldest Man Lives in Japan

Raw: World's Oldest Man Lives in Japan

AP (Aug. 20, 2014) — A 111-year-old Japanese was certified as the world's oldest man by Guinness World Records on Wednesday. Sakari Momoi, a native of Fukushima in northern Japan, was given a certificate at a hospital in Tokyo. (Aug. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) — A new study found couples who had at least 150 guests at their weddings were more likely to report being happy in their marriages. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Freetown a City on Edge

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Freetown a City on Edge

AFP (Aug. 19, 2014) — Residents of Sierra Leone's capital voice their fears as the Ebola virus sweeps through west Africa. Duration: 00:56 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins