Are you pleased to see me or did a Brazilian Wandering Spider just bite you?!
The Wall Street Journal amongst others has run stories recently covering the perils of the local wildlife in Brasil for those visiting for The World Cup. One of the critters singled out is the Brazilian Wandering Spider (warning, spider picture) which has the pleasant characteristics of both being BIG and very poisonous.
There is a bit of good news, apparently fatalities are now rare due to the widespread availability of an antivenom. Also studies show it actually only injects venom one third of the time often just giving you a friendly nip to warn you off.
Less reassuring is the fact you may not have to travel to Brazil to meet one of these friendly fellows, a rather unlucky pub chef got bitten by one in the less than exotic surroundings of southern England. The unlucky fellow was sorting a delivery of bananas which held the stowaway, fortunately he recovered though did spend 2 weeks in hospital. (warning, spider photo)
Why is this potentially good news for men? Well, if being given a potentially fatal spider bite wasn't bad enough one of the effects of the venom is to give men priapism. This is a serious medical condition in which men get an erection which won't go down (variably defined between 4 - 6 hours). This is BAD news: even after treatment it can result in erectile dysfunction and without treatment can result in gangrene.
Still not seeing the good news? It turns out the element of the toxin (Tx2-6) that causes this may help men with erectile problems and work has been done in rats exploring this. To be absolutely clear I would not recommend bringing the actual spider into the bedroom but wait for the research to be completed.