Episode 9 ─ More Talk, More Action: Causes and Treatment of Erectile Dysfunction

Did you know that having diabetes can affect sexual function? It can even cause erectile dysfunction (ED). And, for a proportion of people living with diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, drugs like Viagra have little to no effect.

So how do we find new ways of treatment for a growing segment of the population that is missed by current treatment options?

For most men, ED is caused by physical, rather than psychological, problems and is often seen as an early warning sign of cardiovascular diseases. ED is most commonly treated with drugs inhibiting an enzyme called phosphodiesterase 5, PDE5 for short. Viagra, the so-called “miracle drug” is a PDE5 inhibitor, and it is generally effective. But if the ED is caused by another health condition like diabetes or heart disease, the effect can be lessened - and some patients don’t respond at all.

In the hunt for alternatives to the “miracle drug”, scientists have made promising findings in studies with modulation of other pathways, such as calcium channels in endothelial cells or dopamine signalling.

Listen as an expert in urology and a senior scientist studying erectile dysfunction talk about causes, co-morbidities, and new approaches to treatment.

Episode info


  • Mikkel Fode, Professor of Urology, University of Copenhagen

  • Simon Comerma, Postdoctoral Scientist, Aarhus University


  • Gretchen Repasky, currently Education and Networking Manager, Danish Diabetes and Endocrine Academy; formerly, Communications Director, Nordic EMBL Partnership, University of Helsinki


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