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Mobile phone use linked to low sperm count in young men

Washington, Nov 7 (Prensa Latina) Male sperm count has fallen by over 50% globally in the last 50 years, leaving researchers scrambling to understand why. Could it be pollution, PFAS and other potential toxins in our food and water, an increase in obesity and chronic disease, or even the ever-present mobile phone?

A new study explored the role of cell phones and found men between the ages of 18 and 22 who said they used their phones more than 20 times a day had a 21% higher risk for a low overall sperm count.

The men also had a 30% higher risk for a low sperm concentration, a less important measure of sperm count in a milliliter of semen.

The study did not specify whether the men called or texted or used their phones to do both.

The research was conducted between 2005 and 2018, and showed that the link between the two aspects was greatest in the early years of the study, Fertility and Sterility cited.

On the positive side, researchers found that as phone technology improved over the 13 years of the study, the impact on sperm count began to ease.

“I am intrigued by the observation that the biggest effect was apparently seen with older 2G and 3G phones compared to modern 4G and 5G versions. This is not something I am able to explain,” said Allan Pacey, deputy vice president and deputy dean of the faculty of biology, medicine and health at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, in a statement. He was not involved in the study.

Another plus: There was no decline in the shape and motility of the sperm, which refers to the way sperm swim to their destination, according to the study.

“Whilst sperm numbers matter, the ability of sperm to swim, have healthy intact DNA and be the right shape, is at least as important,” said Alison Campbell, chief scientific officer of Care Fertility, a network of fertility clinics, in a statement.

“This is a fascinating and novel study which should not cause alarm or drastic changes in habits,” said Campbell, who was not involved in the study. “Men looking to conceive, or wanting to improve their sperm health should exercise (but not overheat in their groin area), eat a balanced diet, maintain a healthy weight, avoid smoking and limit alcohol and seek help if they are having problems conceiving.” pll/rgh/lpn

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