Friday, 11 October 2013

Internet connected through Wi-Fi decreases male sperm motility

In recent years, the use of portable computers (laptops, connected to local area networks wirelessly, also known as Wi-Fi) has increased dramatically. Laptops have become indispensable devices in our daily life, offering flexibility and mobility to users. People using Wi-Fi may be exposed to radio signals absorbing some of the transmitted energy in their bodies. Portable computers are commonly used on the lap, therefore exposing the genital area to radio frequency electromagnetic waves as well as high temperatures. Infertility is a common worldwide condition that affects more than 70 million couples of reproductive age. It has been suggested that male fertility has declined during the past several decades. Such decline has been attributed to the direct or indirect exposure to certain environmental factors such as electromagnetic waves.

Extremely low frequency magnetic fields can initiate a number of biochemical and physiological alterations in biological systems of different species. Many of these effects have been associated with free-radical production. Free radicals are causative factors of oxidative damage of cellular structures and molecules such as lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids. Free radicals react with polyunsaturated fatty acids in cell membranes promoting a process called lipid peroxidation. In human spermatozoa the presence of unesterified polyunsaturated fatty acids is causally associated with the induction of reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation and lipid peroxidation. Damage may occur at the membrane level, leading to immotility and cell death, or at the DNA level. DNA integrity is essential to normal conception.

Sperm DNA fragmentation has been associated with impaired fertilization, poor embryonic development, high rates of miscarriage, and increased incidence of morbidity in the offspring, including childhood cancer. It has been proposed that genetic and environmental factors would be involved in the etiology of sperm DNA damage. The electromagnetic waves from mobile phones may cause DNA damage, in addition to decreased motility and viability. Increased levels of intracellular ROS would be the cause of these deleterious effects. Portable computers using Wi-Fi emit RF-EMW and are typically positioned close the male reproductive organs. Their potential negative effects on male germ cells have not been elucidated. To assess this potential association we used an in vitro model incubating human sperm in the presence of an active portable computer connected to the internet by Wi-Fi.

The use of laptop and PC computers wirelessly connected to local area networks (Wi-Fi) has increased dramatically in recent years. People using Wi-Fi may be exposed to radio signals. The use of portable computers (connected via Wi-Fi) on the lap exposes the genital area to radio frequency electromagnetic waves (RF-EMW) and high temperatures.

It has been postulated that declines seen in male fertility over recent years may be related to various environmental factors, including RF-EMW. The effects of extremely low frequency magnetic fields may be associated with oxidative damage of cellular structures and molecules. Oxidative damage to spermatozoa could affect motility or damage DNA. Deleterious effects on spermatozoa from mobile phone use have been reported.

Since the dawn of wireless technology, it's been a fear amongst the panic-prone that the technology emits radiation that causes brain tumors, mutant babies and plane crashes. Couple that with man's unorthodox paranoia that everything from underwear to Mountain Dew; can lower sperm count and we've heard our fair share of "wireless technology will destroy sperm" myths.

But according to a new study, this myth might have a basis in truth. They took sperm samples from 29 healthy men. They separated each sample into two containers. Motile sperm were selected by ‘swim up’. Each sperm suspension was divided into two aliquots. One sperm aliquot (experimental) from each patient was exposed to an internet-connected laptop by Wi-Fi for 4 hours, whereas the second aliquot (unexposed) was used as control, incubated under identical conditions (including the same temperature) without being exposed to the laptop. What they found was enough to make some men reconsider perching their laptops on their crotch.

Their findings stated that 25 percent of the sperm in the samples placed under the laptop stopped swimming as opposed to 14 percent from the control group. They also found that nine percent of the Wi-Fi exposed sperm showed DNA damage as opposed to three percent from the control.

While the experiment didn't conclusively prove that Wi-Fi is dangerous to sperm, there was enough of an effect that scientists recommended further testing. Our data suggest that the use of a laptop computer wirelessly connected to the internet and positioned near the male reproductive organs may decrease human sperm quality.

But before you invest in a lead codpiece, Ejaculated sperm are particularly sensitive to many factors because outside the body they don't have the protection of the other cells, tissues and fluids of the body in which they are stored before ejaculation. Therefore, we cannot infer from this study that because a man might use a laptop with Wi-Fi on his lap for more than four hours then his sperm will necessarily be damaged and he will be less fertile.

Some very Important Points to be note:
·         The data suggest that the use of a laptop computer connected wirelessly to the internet and positioned near the testes may decrease sperm quality.
·         The potential effects of the heat produced by the laptop were controlled for in this study, as other studies have shown increased scrotal temperatures from laptop use.
·         As this was an ex vivo study, the effects of laptop use on sperm in the body can only be speculative.
·         The effects seen were due to RF-EMW but they were not able to discount the possibility that it was the radiation from the laptop itself causing the effect.
·         Further in vitro and in vivo investigations are required to confirm these findings and the postulated mechanism.
·         Uses of laptop and computers which connected to internet through Wi-Fi decreases human sperm motility and increases sperm DNA fragmentation? It is very interesting to raise few curiosity and questions regarding this interesting matter.

Doctors and Scientists around the world have warned against unnecessary exposure of children to wireless technology and recommend safer wired internet connection instead, both in school and at home. We are parents who fully support the use of computers and the incorporation of technology in education, and we believe that it must be implemented in a safe manner.


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