If it passes further testing, there might be a radical new way to boost the sex lives of men with erectile problems.
It involves the firing of shock waves into strategic points in the body to stimulate the growth of new blood vessels in the genital region. This is the same technology developed around 20 years ago to treat kidney stones.
The small trial of 20 men was carried out in January last year and tabulated results look good for the new pain-free therapy to be introduced in the clinical setting in the near future.
Apparently, 15 of the subjects (all were picked because they were using Viagra) could perform sexually without the use of the pills after the trail. Best part, there were no reported side-effects whatsoever.
It triggers the release of an important substance called Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor, or VEGF, which sends out a signal for new blood vessels to start growing.
ABOUT THE TRAIL:
Doctors at the Rambam Medical Centre in Haifa, Israel, recruited 20 men with an average age of 56 to take part in the trial.
All 20 were already on medication and had suffered mild to moderate erection problems for an average of three years.
During the three-week course of treatment, low-intensity shock-waves were repeatedly fired into five specific points in the genital area, using a handheld device.
Doctors then assessed the severity of the men's ailments on a 30-point scale called the International Index of Erectile Dysfunction, widely used to measure impotence problems.
The lower the score, the greater the problem.
Before the trial, the men averaged scores of between 12 and 20 points, which meant they had mild to moderate sexual dysfunction.
But after treatments, their scores increased by between five and 10 points.
Experts say anything in excess of five points is a significant improvement.
Although Viagra and similar medications, such as Cialis and Levitra, have transformed the treatment of impotence in the past ten years, around 30 per cent of men who take them see no improvement.
For these men, the only other options are to inject drugs straight into the penis, or use a pump that manually increases blood supply to the organ.
Dr Yoram Vardi, who led the trial, says: "Drugs are not a cure. When patients stop taking their medication, then they cannot function.
"With shock-waves, we can do something biological for the problem. These patients can then function without the need for medication."
Missus Singapore out!