Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Claim: Use of a laptop computer can reduce a man's sperm count.
Example: [Collected via e-mail, December 2005]
Origins: Sometimes modern technology provides risks that aren't readily apparent, as appears to be the case with guys' using laptop computers balanced in their laps
A 2004 study from the State University of
The potential problems for men related to laptop use was deemed to be due not only to the heat generated by the machines, but also to the sitting positions employed by the users. "As well as being capable of producing direct local heat, [laptops] require the user to sit with his thighs close together to balance the machine, trapping the scrotum," explained Yefim Sheynkin, the researcher who led the study.
As to how serious the effect might be, the study noted: "We don't know the exact frequency and time of heat exposure capable of producing reversible or irreversible changes in spermatogenesis [the production of sperm]. Studies have shown significant but reversible changes after short-term heating. However, [laptop computers] 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."
Ergo, fellas, if fatherhood is in your plans, you might want to steady your laptops on tables rather than on your persons, at least until additional studies better identify the possible risks involved.
Barbara "hot rods are dangerous to your reproductive health" Mikkelson
Last updated: 29 February 2008
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