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Study: Laptop Using Wi-Fi May Damage Sperm

Oh joy. Another day, another reason to be afraid of technology.  A study in Argentina indicates that a laptop computer hooked up to Wi-Fi MAY have negative effects on a man’s sperm, but the experts don’t agree on whether this is a genuine cause for alarm.

via Mario Tama, Getty Images

In a report in the venerable medical journal Fertility and Sterility, Argentinian scientists describe how they got semen samples from 29 healthy men, placed a few drops under a laptop connected to the Internet via Wi-Fi and then hit download.

Four hours later, the semen was, uh, well-done.

A quarter of the sperm were no longer swimming around. That’s almost twice as many as those in semen samples that were stored away from the computer.  And nine percent of the “nuked” sperm showed DNA damage, three times the comparison samples.

The culprit?  Electromagnetic radiation generated during wireless communication, says Conrado Avendano of Nascentis Medicina Reproductiva in Cordoba and colleagues.

“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,” they write in their report.  A separate test with a laptop that was not using Wi-Fi found negligible levels of EM radiation from the machine.

But don’t sell your laptop yet.  Dr. Robert Oates, the president of the Society for Male Reproduction and Urology, told Reuters Health he doesn’t believe laptops are a significant threat to male reproductive health.

“This is not real-life biology, this is a completely artificial setting,” he said about the new study. “It is scientifically interesting, but to me it doesn’t have any human biological relevance.”

“Suddenly all of this angst is created for real-life actual persons that doesn’t have to be.”

via Laptop Wi-Fi said to nuke sperm, but caveats abound | Reuters.

This study, of course, applies only to men who hook up to Wi-Fi with their laptops on their laps.  Presumably, if they place their laptop on a table, a park bench, or any flat surface, their “guys” have nothing to fear.

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Flickr user stockerre
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