Public Release: 

Penn Urologist Helps Launch First International Impotence Education Month

University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

(Philadelphia, PA) -- Over 20 million American men and approximately 52% of the world's male population (ages 40 - 70) reportedly experience some form of impotence. Unfortunately, only five to ten percent of these men seek help despite the fact that most cases of male impotence can be treated successfully. In an effort to raise awareness and generate greater understanding for available treatment options, Gregory A. Broderick, MD, assistant professor of urology and director of the Center of Male Sexual Dysfunction at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, will join 14 of the world's leading urologists who have been invited to present information at the Science Writers Conference on Impotence, Monday, October 27, at the National Institutes of Health, Washington, DC.

The conference -- hosted by the Sexual Function Health Council of the American Foundation for Urologic Disease (AFUD), in collaboration with the National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) -- will kick-off the first International Impotence Education Month (November 1997). The purposes of November's designation and the Conference are not only to educate the public about impotence, or erectile dysfunction (ED), but also to prompt those suffering from the condition to seek medical advice and treatment, and to increase visibility and understanding of ED within the medical community.

Broderick, a distinguished specialist in male sexual dysfunction, will be presenting in-depth information on penile vascular testing, specifically addressing how it has contributed to current understanding of the erectile mechanism, as well as its role in the future of ED treatment. Formerly regarded as psychological in nature, today ED is recognized as a condition primarily occurring due to abnormalities in penile blood flow. Broderick emphasizes how invaluable penile vascular testing is to differentiate the organic causes from psychological causes of impotence. For some patients this has financial implications as well since many health insurers will not cover management of psycho-sexual dysfunction, but will cover treatment of organic impotence.

Penile vascular testing has revolutionized the diagnosis and treatment of ED by providing the first direct test of penile health and the first specific therapy for impotence. In the Philadelphia area, Broderick pioneered the use of color Doppler ultrasound testing for ED which consists of penile injection with a vascular stimulant. This is a simple, minimally invasive, inexpensive technique, and the most commonly used diagnostic tool in Europe and the United States. The penile blood flow study that Broderick performs with ultrasound provides an objective evaluation without exposing the patient to radiation; it quantifies the severity of the condition and identifies the type of ED (arterial, venous, or mixed vascular).

"Patients have a right to know why they are experiencing impotence," explains Broderick. "Current medical technology is available to diagnose erectile dysfunction and its possible causes -- the public needs to know that ED is a treatable medical condition." By seeing a physician, the severity of dysfunction can be evaluated and the most effective therapy can be administered. A variety of medical options are available to successfully treat a majority of patients who live with ED: they need not suffer silently.

In addition to the AFUD and NIH, other organizations involved with International Impotence Education Month include: the American Urologic Association; European Society for Impotence Research; National Impotence Resource Center; and the International Society for Impotence Research. Launching International Impotence Education Month, the Writers Conference on Impotence was coordinated as an effort to educate medical reporters about many issues surrounding impotence, with the ultimate goal of improving professional and public awareness of impotence.

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