Scientists in the US have announced that they have discovered an area of the human genome, which is associated with an increased risk of erectile dysfunction in men. This is the first time that a genetic risk factor has been identified for this problem, which probably opens the way for new treatments for those men who do not respond to existing therapies.
Erectile dysfunction, ie a man’s inability to have a sufficient erection during sexual activity, is a common disorder of middle-aged and elderly men. It is thought to have many causes, such as neurological, psychological, hormonal and vascular.
There are currently some treatments, but not all men respond to them. Scientists suspect that the problem also has a genetic background in about a third of the incidents, but so far they have not found a gene.
Researchers, led by Dr Eric Yorkström of the Kaiser Permanente Medical Research Center in Northern California, who published the report in the PNAS journal, surveyed about 380,000 men.
They found, according to the Athenian News Agency, a genetic region close to the SIM1 gene, which has a significant correlation with erectile dysfunction (a 26% risk increase for those who have the specific genetic factor in their DNA) and this regardless of other factors that can co-exist in the same person (eg obesity).
This SIM1 gene is known to play a central role in weight regulation and sexual function. The risk factor for erectile dysfunction is an area of the genome very close to this gene. He does not identify with this, but interacts with him.