Altered brain structure a potential indicator of venous erectile dysfunction
Patients with venous erectile dysfunction (VED) exhibit cortical volume and white matter (WM) microstructural changes on multimodal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and such cerebral structural alterations are correlated with clinical symptoms and neurologic impairments, as shown in a recent study.
The study included 45 VED patients (mean age 29.8 years) and 50 healthy controls (mean age 28.1 years) who underwent MRI. The resulting imaging data were analysed using voxel-based morphometry (VBM), tract-based spatial statistics (TBSS) and Pearson correlation analyses. The machine learning classification was adopted to confirm its utility in distinguishing between VED patients and healthy controls.
Compared with healthy controls, VED patients had significantly reduced cortical volumes in the left postcentral gyrus and precentral gyrus, whereas only the right middle temporal gyrus showed a significantly greater cortical volume.
VED patients also showed increased axial diffusivity, radial diffusivity and mean diffusivity values in widespread brain regions. In certain regions, these diffusion tensor imaging (DTI)-derived indices significantly correlated with clinical symptoms and disorder durations in VED.
Machine learning analyses corroborated the differences in the various DTI-derived indices between VED patients and healthy controls. Additionally, the differences discriminated patients from controls with high accuracy (96.7 percent), sensitivity (93.3 percent) and specificity (99.0 percent).
The present data suggest the utility of MRI in the assessment of patients with VED, researchers said. Furthermore, the various DTI-derived indices of some brain regions could be regarded as reliable discrimination features between VED patients and healthy individuals.
However, the potential use of DTI necessitates validation in longitudinal studies and comparison with patient groups showing similar clinical presentations, they added.