Tuesday, 23 October, 2018

Researchers find genetic risk factor for impotence

A box of Viagra typically used to treat erectile dysfunction is seen in a pharmacy in Toronto Researchers find genetic risk factor for impotence
Celia Hoffman | 10 October, 2018, 23:06

Having a thymine (T) nucleotide at this position increases the risk of erectile dysfunction by around 25 percent, the researchers found, after taking into account other risk factors for the disorder. "Hopefully, this will translate into better treatments and, importantly, prevention approaches for the men and their partners who often suffer silently with this condition".

Researchers identified a genetic variation that may be responsible for erectile dysfunction, in a finding that would help improve future treatments for this widespread condition among men, according to results published this Monday in the Proceedings of the American Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

He noted that about 50 per cent of men do not respond to erectile dysfunction treatments now available.

"We know that there are other risk factors for erectile dysfunction, including smoking, obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease", he continued. The disease is linked to many causes, such as neurological, hormonal and vascular factors.

The two-year study points to the potential of targeting variations in the SIM1 locus on the genome in developing new erectile dysfunction treatments. So, about one-third of the risk of erectile dysfunction is due to genetic factors.

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Men who are a flop in bed can now blame their genes, new research suggests. The first included 36,648 men from the Genetic Epidemiology Research on Adult Health and Aging cohort, or GERA. The region that includes the risk factor physically interacts with the SIM1 promoter, the researchers found. Results from the ENCODE project, which endeavors to identify various functional elements of the human genome, point to the locus as a likely enhancer, and lab tests confirmed that hypothesis, namely, that the T allele boosts the activity of an enhancer regulating SIM1, the authors write. Guys completed sexual health surveys, and the team looked at whether participants were diagnosed with erectile dysfunction or received treatment for the condition.

The second comprised 222,358 men from the UK Biobank-a long-term biorepository study investigating contributions of genetic predisposition and environmental exposure to the development of disease.

If you've ever experienced erectile dysfunction, you're not alone.

"This significant advance in our understanding of erectile dysfunction is made possible by the unique ability of the Kaiser Permanente Research Bank to link detailed questionnaires, electronic health records, and genetic data on such a large population", said the study's senior author, Stephen Van Den Eeden, PhD, a research scientist at the Division of Research.

"The next step is to find out how this location in the genome affects the risk of erectile dysfunction", Jorgenson tells Newsweek. The erectile dysfunction locus is located near, but not in, the SIM1 gene. Researchers at Kaiser Permanente, Northern California; The University of California, San Francisco; the University of Washington School of Medicine; and the University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City collaborated on the paper.

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