Published: Thu, October 11, 2018
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Scientists have found a new cause of impotence

Scientists have found a new cause of impotence

It turned out that nearly a quarter of the risk of erectile dysfunction increases variation in the region of SIM1. Although this is sometimes normal, the condition might affect a man's sex life, relationship, and self-image when it occurred regularly.

The GERA cohort included male members of Kaiser Permanente who completed a survey on their condition, had a clinical diagnosis of erectile dysfunction based on their electronic health records, and had used drugs or other erectile dysfunction treatments. "Identifying the first genetic risk factor for erectile dysfunction is an exciting discovery because it opens the door for investigations into new, genetic-based therapies".

Scientists report they have uncovered the first evidence that erectile dysfunction may have genetic underpinnings. The findings in the GERA cohort were then verified in a cohort of 222,358 men from the U.K. Biobank. According to the South China Morning Post, about a third of erectile dysfunction risk is associated with genetic factors. Because the erectile dysfunction risk locus showed enhancer activity and interacted with the SIM1 promoter, the erectile dysfunction risk locus likely influences the expression of the SIM1 gene, turning it on and off when needed, the study suggests.

Men with erectile dysfunction (ED) have trouble getting or maintaining an erection to have satisfactory sexual intercourse, according to the U.S. Department of Health. The scientists have long thought that genetics could be somehow connected with erectile dysfunction, but only now they located the exact place where the problematic gene can be found.

"We know that there are other factors for ED including smoking, obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and men who address those factors can reduce their risk of ED", Jorgenson noted.

Roughly half of the patients diagnosed with erectile dysfunction do not see their symptoms improve with now available treatments. Looking at genetic profiles from 36,000 men enrolled in a study funded by healthcare company Kaiser Permanente, researchers from Kaiser were able to find what genetic variants men with erectile dysfunction had in common. In some cases, patients were prescribed to take medications or even surgery.

This new insight into ED could be a beacon of hope to the 50 percent of men who do not respond to now available treatments, said Jorgenson.

Jorgenson also added that discovering a biological explanation could shed light on developing new treatments.

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