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US researchers warn of possible fertility risk to men using laptop computers on their laps

ent capable of inhibiting spermatogenesis and sperm concentration may be decreased by 40% per 1C increment of median daytime scrotal temperature.

"We don't know the exact frequency and time of heat exposure capable of producing reversible or irreversible changes in spermatogenesis. Studies have shown significant but reversible changes after short-term heating. However, LC produce significant repetitive transient scrotal hyperthermia for years, and insufficient recovery time between heat exposures may cause irreversible or partially reversible changes in male reproductive function."

Dr Sheynkin said his team now planned further studies to evaluate the heating effect of LC on testicular function and sperm parameters. For now, he did not know an exact time for safe use. However, their study showed that within the first 15 minutes of use scrotal temperatures increased by 1C, so it did not take long to reach a point that may affect testicular function. Also, frequent use may cause intermittent temperature rises, which could significantly increase a single heating effect.

"Until further studies provide more information on this type of thermal exposure", he said, "teenage boys and young men may consider limiting their use of LC on their laps, as long-term use may have a detrimental effect on their reproductive health."

Dr Sheynkin added that two LC brands were tested randomly to avoid criticism that brands may differ. "All laptop computers generate significant heat due to the increasing power requirements of computer chips. New laptops with higher power requirements may produce even more heat. So far, computer fans and 'heat sinks' are not sufficient. It's possible that external protective devices could somewhat help, but it is essential to confirm their protective effect in a clinical study to prevent commercial advertising and use of inefficient and useless products." (ends)
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Contact: Margaret Willson
m.willson@mwcommunications.org.uk
44-1-536-772-181
European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology
8-Dec-2004


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