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Scientists find genetic risk factor for erectile dysfunction

Raghu Kshitiz

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WASHINGTON — For the first time, scientists have found a specific place in the human genome that raises a man’s risk of erectile dysfunction.

The researchers, in the study published on Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, analyzed data from hundreds of thousands of men.

They found that gene variations in a specific spot in the human genome near the SIM1 gene that are significantly associated with an increased risk of impotence.

The finding is a significant progress in the understanding of the genetics underlying erectile dysfunction (ED), the inability to obtain and maintain an erection sufficient for sexual activity, which is a common condition of men of primarily in middle and older ages.

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“Identifying this SIM1 locus as a risk factor for erectile dysfunction is a big deal because it provides the long sought-after proof that there is a genetic component to the disease,” said study author Eric Jorgenson, a research scientist at Kaiser Permanente Northern California’s division of research.

The disease is linked to many causes, such as neurological, hormonal and vascular factors. Many men don’t respond to therapies based on these factors however.

Genetics has been suspected to be a factor in about one-third of ED cases, but researchers have failed to make any link with any specific genomic locations until now.

The new study found that variations in a genetic locus near the SIM1 gene are significantly associated with an increased risk of erectile dysfunction.

The researchers ruled out that the risk was due to other known risk factors for erectile dysfunction, such as body mass index.

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The study also demonstrated a biological role for the genetic location in regulating sexual function, strongly suggesting that these variations can cause erectile dysfunction.

The study found that variations in the SIM1 locus were associated with a 26-percent increased risk of erectile dysfunction. This risk was independent of known erectile dysfunction risk factors.

The SIM1 gene is known to be part of a signaling pathway that plays a central role in body weight regulation and sexual function.

Agencies

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Diabetes drug might ease heart failure risk

Gorkha Post

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A new research has showed that the diabetes drug Farxiga might do double-duty for patients, helping to ward off another killer, heart failure.

According to the findings were published in the New England Journal of Medicine to coincide with their presentation at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association in Chicago, Type 2 diabetics who took Farxiga saw their odds of hospitalization for heart failure drop by 27 percent compared to those who took a placebo.

Farxiga is a type of drug called a SGLT2 inhibitor. The compound is called dapagliflozin.

The study included more than 17,000 type 2 diabetes patients aged 40 and older. Nearly 7,000 had heart disease and more than 10,000 had numerous risk factors for heart disease, Wiviott’s group said.

Patients were randomly assigned to take a dummy placebo pill or 10 milligrams of Farxiga each day.

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“When it comes to helping our patients control and manage blood glucose, the ‘how’ appears to be as important [as] the ‘how much,” said study author Dr Stephen Wiviott, a cardiovascular medicine specialist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

“When choosing a therapy, trial results like these can help us make an informed decision about what treatments are not only safe and effective for lowering blood glucose but can also reduce risk of heart and kidney complications,” Wiviott said in a hospital news release.

Taking the drug did not reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke and cardiovascular-related death, the research team noted. However, patients who took the drug did see healthy declines in their blood sugar levels, plus an added bonus: a 27 percent decrease in their risk of hospitalization for heart failure.

Their risk of kidney failure and death from kidney failure also fell, researchers noted.

Two other recent studies of this class of drugs show that they “robustly and consistently improve heart and kidney outcomes in a broad population of patients with diabetes,” Wiviott noted.

With Inputs from HealthDay

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