Erectile Dysfunction or ED is common in men of middle or older ages. It is the condition when men are unable to keep or get an erection firm enough for sexual intercourse. It is also called impotence. Stress can lead to ED at times but frequent ED is a health problem requiring treatment.
For some time, twin studies have been conducted that suggest that genes may be the one-third part of the risk of ED. However, the researches have been inconclusive due to small sample sizes, candidate gene approaches, and weak phenotyping. The latest study, though, may have found a genetic cause.
● Latest Erectile Dysfunction Study
A large-scale genome-wide association study of ED in 36,649 men was conducted. The study also undertook replication analyses in 222,358 men from the UK Biobank. A single locus on chromosome 6 near the single-minded family basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor 1 gene (SIM1) was discovered to be considerably associated with ED. The effect found was independent of the known ED risk factors.
This particular study is being considered an important development in understanding the role of genetics in ED. This could help lead to the discovery of other genetic variants that may trigger the condition. The study presents the statistic that men with this genetic variance will have a 26 percent higher risk of developing ED as they age.
Factors like body mass index or BMI, diabetes, smoking, and cardiovascular disease were controlled during the study. Regardless of what additional health risk people had, the gene’s effect remained relevant. It seemed to have the strongest effects in men of ages between 50 and 59. ED can be varying in severity but the gene affected all the levels similarly. It is concluded that the same genetic factors are responsible for men experiencing ED differently.
● Treatments for ED
Having discovered this new genetic cause for ED, experts will be able to develop better treatments. There is a certain stigma surrounding ED so men and their partners often suffer in silence. The development of more precise treatments will be able to resolve their problems quickly.
The researches did not involve women in this study but plan to in the future. Obviously, women don’t have the risk of ED but the gene discovered is associated with hormones that are involved in women’s sexual function. It means that the presence of the gene could impact arousal in women too.