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Brain potentials related to corpus cavernosum electromyography


The aim of this study was to elucidate the relation between electrical activity in the corpus cavernosum (CC), penile responses and brain processes. EEG potentials, penile circumference and electrical activity of the CC (CC-EMG) were recorded simultaneously while male subjects were exposed to visual sexual stimuli. The trials were sorted by the penile response of the subjects (erection, maintenance or detumescence). The corresponding EEG recordings were subjected to independent component analysis (ICA) and then correlated with CC activity. We found that CC activity was decreased in the case of erection. EEG activity was found to be correlated with CC activity in most cases at the same instant or with subsequent CC activity. EEG activity at early time points after stimulus onset (<300 ms) was found to be correlated with CC activity, indicating penile response preparation at a pre-attentive processing level. These data indicate that (i) CC activity is under the control of brain processing and (ii) autonomous input reaches the CC in fractions of a second after sexual stimulus onset. Our experimental paradigm should be used for the study of psychogenic erectile dysfunctions and could help in the development of an objective measurement of this disturbance

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Correspondence to J Ponseti.

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Ponseti, J., Bosinski, H. Brain potentials related to corpus cavernosum electromyography. Int J Impot Res 22, 171–178 (2010).

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  • phallometry
  • corpus cavernosum
  • CC-EMG
  • ICA
  • EEG

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