Laptop Exposure Associated With Nonthermal Effect on Sperm Quality
Exposure to laptop computers might adversely affect male fertility by inducing DNA fragmentation and decreasing progressive motility, according to research presented here at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine 66th Annual Meeting.
In the first study of its kind to evaluate the effect of laptop computers receiving wireless Internet signals on human spermatozoa, researchers evaluated semen samples from 15 men. The samples were separated into 2 incubation groups: one that was exposed to a laptop computer receiving a WiFi signal for 4 hours, and another that was not.
Despite the fact that the 2 groups were kept at a controlled temperature (25 °C) to rule out thermal effects, the results showed significant DNA damage and decreased sperm motility in the laptop-exposed group.
In the meantime, he said, the preliminary findings represent a red flag in regard to laptop use.
"This is the beginning of a new line of research," and new data will be needed to confirm this finding, Dr. Avendano said. "However, we recommend that our patients do not use the computer on the lap, especially if they are of reproductive age."
Keith Jarvi, MD, professor in the Department of Surgery at the University of Toronto, Ontario, agreed that much more research will be necessary before any conclusions can be drawn, but the study nevertheless sheds light on a potentially important issue.
"This is a very interesting but very preliminary study. The effect of laptops on real people's testis is still unknown, and this study does not shed light on this," he said.
"However, the study does provide hints as to what might be happening, and [points us toward] the kinds of studies in humans that would answer the question about the effect of laptops on male fertility," Dr. Jarvi said.
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