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Thursday, 29 August, 2002, 18:00 GMT 19:00 UK
Rats give clue to male sex problems
Could the discovery herald new treatments?
Rats could hold the key to new treatments for men with sexual problems, scientists believe.

Researchers in the United States said they have identified nerves in the spinal cords of rats which trigger ejaculations.

They believe the findings may also apply to humans, prompting hopes of improved treatment for men who suffer from premature ejaculation and other sexual disorders.


The practical implications include the possible development of additional treatments for premature ejaculation

William Truitt, University of Cincinnati
William Truitt and colleagues at the University of Cincinnati in Ohio identified a group of nerve cells in the male rat's spinal cord that relay ejaculation signals from the reproductive organs to the brain.

Lab tests

They then deactivated a small group of neurons in the spinal cords of male rats which were then placed in a cage with a "sexually receptive" female.

The male rats appeared to mate with the female, but later examination of the female showed they had not ejaculated.

All other aspects of their mating behaviour remained unchanged.

The researchers said the findings suggested that the spinal neurons regulate the onset and completion of ejaculation.

Writing in the journal Science, they said the discovery could lead to new treatments for men who suffer premature ejaculation.

Similarly, they said it could also help paralysed men who have problems ejaculating.

"Detailed understanding of a spinal ejaculation generator will significantly benefit treatment of sexual dysfunction, in particular related to ejaculation," they said.

"The practical implications include the possible development of additional treatments for premature ejaculation and ejaculatory function in paraplegic men."

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05 Jan 00 | Health
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