“Male fertility may be affected by perching laptop computers on the lap, according to a new study. Balancing laptop computers on the lap raises the scrotum’s temperature, say researchers including Yefim Sheynkin, MD, FACS, of the urology department at the State University of New York at Stony Brook,” Miranda Hitti reports for WebMD.
“About 15-20 percent of couples that want to get pregnant aren’t able to conceive. Many of those cases trace back to issues relating to the male. Gradually declining sperm production has been noted in recent decades, say the researchers. Elevated scrotal temperatures have been linked to male infertility. Many factors can raise scrotal temperature, including hot baths, saunas, and tight jockey shorts. Laptop computers may also belong on that list, say Sheynkin’s team. They studied 29 healthy young men ages 21 to 35 for two, one-hour sessions in a climate-controlled room,” Hitti reports.
“The researchers used two brands of Pentium 4 laptop computers. The brands aren’t identified in the study, which appears in the European journal Human Reproduction. The men balanced the computers on their laps. The researchers then removed the nonworking computers, instructing the men to hold the position for the rest of the session. Participants with working laptop computers kept the computers in place throughout the session. The men’s scrotal temperature was recorded every three minutes. The temperature on the bottom of the working computers was also monitored,” Hitti reports.
“‘Working on laptop computers in a laptop position causes significant scrotal temperature elevation as a result of heat exposure and posture-related effects,’ say the researchers. Is the increase enough to impair male fertility? The researchers can’t say for sure. However, they note that another study showed that sperm concentration dropped by 40 percent when median daytime scrotal temperature rose to about 34 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degree Celsius). More than 60 million laptop computers are expected to be in use by 2005, with another 90 million worldwide, the researchers say. Calling for more studies, they suggest that teenage boys and young men may want to limit their use of laptop computers on their laps,” Hitti reports.
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