Aberrant Baseline Brain Activity in Psychogenic Erectile Dysfunction Patients: a Resting State fMRI Study - Beyond the Abstract

Psychogenic erectile dysfunction (pED) consists of a major part of male sexual dysfunction in China, epidemiology studies have shown that pED sufferers consist of up to 90% of patients suffering from erectile dysfunction under their 40s. Despite its high prevalence, the understanding of the central mechanism of pED is still in its infancy. There is no effective treatment to pED up to now, due to the ambiguity in its underlying neural mechanism.

It is commonly appreciated that pED is a functional disorder, which can be attributed predominantly or exclusively to psychological factors, such as anxiety, depression, loss of self-esteem, and psychosocial stresses. In the current study, a joint research team from Xidian University and Henan Provincial People’s Hospital, China, aimed to elucidate the central mechanism underlying pED using fMRI, a neuroimaging method which enable in-vivo detection of human brain activity. Their study has disclosed that the baseline brain activity of the right anterior insular and the right orbitofrontal cortex is disrupted in pED patients.

Their results implied the impaired cognitive and motivational processing of sexual stimuli in pED patients, which may shed light on the neural pathology underlying pED and may help foster new specific, mechanistic insights. 

Written by:

Minghao Dong , Ph.D. Center for Brain Imaging, Engineering Research Center of Molecular and Neuro Imaging of Ministry of Education, XiDian University, Xi'an, Shannxi, P.R.China

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