21 February 2008

Use a Cell Phone, Lose Some Sperm

Can you fertilize me now?

A recent Cleveland Clinic study compared the sperm quality of subjects (men, mostly) with their cell phone usage.

Mean sperm motility, viability, and normal morphology were significantly different in cell phone user groups within two sperm count groups. The laboratory values of the above four sperm parameters decreased in all four cell phone user groups as the duration of daily exposure to cell phones increased.

The researchers concluded that cell phone usage decreases sperm count.

It is a highly questionable conclusion (at least based on the abstract). For one thing, there is no causative data to connect the dots. For another, there are too many other lifestyle variables that could be influencing the subjects’ physiology. It is possible that sperm count is decreased because of lifestyle, and cell phone usage is merely a component of that lifestyle.

This research might be the rogue spermatozoan that slipped through the zona pellucida of peer review. Premature conjecturation, if you will.

The study would be more convincing if the subjects’ phone usage was altered (increased or decreased, as applicable) and any corresponding sperm changes were noted. This would have provided the data and one variable to correlate it with.

So don’t put away your phone just yet. But if you're this woman, I guess it wouldn't hurt to buy some more minutes.

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