A ‘health number’ that could tell about prostate disease

When it comes to staying on top of your health, doctors often tell you how important it is to “know your numbers.” Blood pressure, cholesterol and body mass index can tell you a lot about your heart health, but if you’re a man, you need to know one more – your PSA, or prostate-specific antigen.

Doctors use the PSA test to check for any abnormalities within the prostate, a male reproductive gland located between the bladder and the penis. An elevated level of PSA in the blood can be a sign of non-cancerous, as well as cancerous, prostate issues.

Cancer patients share survivorship story, celebrate strength and self-care

To survive in his struggle against an aggressive form of prostate cancer, Bin McLaurin didn’t only have to overcome the disease attacking his body. He said he also had to toss out his long-held image of masculinity.

For years, even after he came to work for Cedars-Sinai in 2011, McLaurin accepted the notion that real men didn’t go to the doctor unless it was a clearcut emergency. He finally relented after moving into a research assistant job at the Smidt Heart Institute. As McLaurin, 51, explained, he felt hypocritical about encouraging people to take care of their health while he hadn’t gone for a physical in years.

Erectile dysfunction can affect a man’s quality of life, but treatable

By age 50, nearly half of men experience some degree of erectile dysfunction. Advertisements for medications treating the condition have been all over mainstream media for years.

Despite this, many men still are not comfortable bringing up the subject during routine check-ups. Because not all primary care doctors inquire about it, many couples suffer in silence.

“I think it’s because of the stigma attached to it,” said Dr. Susan MacDonald, a urological surgeon who specializes in prosthetics and treatment of erectile dysfunction at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.

Penis enlargement surgery ineffective and potentially dangerous

A new study has shown that penis enlargement surgeries are usually ineffective and can cause substantial psychological and physical damage to men. The study results were published in the latest issue of the journal Sexual Medicine Reviews. The study was titled, “Systematic Review of Surgical and Nonsurgical Interventions in Normal Men Complaining of Small Penis Size”.

Image Credit: Golubovystock / Shutterstock

Image Credit: Golubovystock / Shutterstock

Is it a feminist right to want more sex? One company thinks a pill is the answer

Studies have never defined a “normal” level of sexual desire. Despite that, there’s a website and an online quiz to help you decide if you’ve got a problem. Called “Right to Desire,” it brands libido as a feminist “right,” and its home page offers the defiant, in-your-face prompt: “Yes, I want my desire back.”

Click a few boxes and you’re instantly directed to a remedy (and an online doctor to prescribe it): a pill called Addyi from Sprout Pharmaceuticals.

Erectile dysfunction drug ‘effective’ as heart failure treatment

A drug used to treat erectile dysfunction has been found to slow or even reverse the progression of heart failure in sheep. The study is a breakthrough in the treatment for the disease in which five year survival rates are lower than most common cancers.
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New minimally invasive technique to help men regain erectile function after prostate cancer surgery

Melbourne surgeons have modified a minimally invasive technique to help men regain erectile function lost after prostate cancer surgery.

The surgery had a 71 per cent success rate with two participants achieving their first erection in 12 years.

Published in European Urology, the study is the first to report this procedure, which can restore the ability to have satisfactory sexual intercourse and improve sexual quality of life in men with erectile dysfunction following a nerve-sparing or non-nerve-sparing radical prostatectomy.

Of the 8500 Australian men with prostate cancer who have a radical prostatectomy each year, at least 70 per cent experience erectile dysfunction. Many are unaware of the risk or suffer in silence.

Unisex, hormone-free contraceptive pill on the horizon

Side effects from hormonal contraceptives are common. That’s why YourChoice Therapeutics, a start-up launched by researchers at UC Berkeley, is developing a hormone-free contraceptive that can be used by both men and women.

YourChoice Therapeutics are developing a unisex contraceptive pillAleksandra Berzhets | Shutterstock

The hormonal contraceptives currently taken by women often come with unwanted and unpleasant side effects, including weight gain, nausea, changes in mood, and decreased libido.

Hormonal contraceptives have been linked to breast cancer

There has also been a great deal of research into the effects of long-term contraceptive use and whether it increases women’s risk of developing certain types of cancer. Results on this important issue are varied and widely debated.

UCI discovery may lead to mitigation of side effects caused by erectile dysfunction drugs

In a study published in Science Advances magazine, researchers from the University of California, Irvine have captured, for the first time, the full-length structure of the rod photoreceptor phosphodiesterase 6 (PDE6), an enzyme that plays an indispensable role in human vision.

PDEs are associated with various diseases and are targets of several widely used drugs and major targets for drug development. Unfortunately, many of these enzymes have similar structures, particularly their catalytic domains, where the chemical reaction takes place. Because of this, inhibitors that target one type of PDE can stop the reaction in multiple members of the PDE family, resulting in unwanted side effects.