Laptop Dangers – Electromagnetic Radiation Harming Male Fertility & More


Men who regularly balance their laptop computers on their laps when working may be jeopardizing their ability to have children, according to a new study from fertility researchers at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

The potential risk comes from the heat generated by the laptop computer and the close position of one’s thighs when balancing the computer on one’s lap, the researchers found. This heat is transferred to the scrotum, where the temperature can rise several degrees, putting users within the danger zone for testicular dysfunction.

The findings suggest that young men should place laptop computers on a desk, a table or anywhere else but their own laps.

“I definitely recommend that teenage boys and young males limit the use of laptop computers because the results may be unpredictable,” said lead researcher Yefim Sheynkin, director of male infertility and microsurgery at the university. “Don’t get me wrong — the laptop computer is very useful and helpful. But we need to be cautious.”

Scientists have known for years that an increase of even 1 degree Celsius in testicular or scrotal temperature can decrease the production of healthy sperm by as much as 40 percent. In the Stony Brook study, researchers found that test subjects who sat for an hour with running laptops on their laps had a median increase in scrotal temperature of 2.6 to 2.8 degrees Celsius.

The 29 volunteers, aged 21 to 35, were also asked to sit with their thighs together for an hour without a laptop. This resulted in a median increase in scrotal temperature of 2.1 degrees, suggesting that the act of balancing a laptop computer is just as much to blame as the heat generated by it.

Two unidentified brands of Pentium 4 laptops were used at random in the study. Additionally, the volunteers were required to wear the same type of clothing in both tests to rule out variations caused by differences in underwear and pants. The volunteers’ scrotal temperatures were measured every several minutes with a device attached to both sides of subjects’ scrotums.

The tests did not measure the volunteers’ actual sperm production.

Because of this, laptop users may want to wait for further studies before deciding to change their computing habits, cautioned Moshe Wald, a male infertility specialist in the University of Iowa’s urology department who was not affiliated with the study.

“They definitely made their point that temperatures are elevated. And since we know that elevated temperatures might affect sperm production, this is something we might want to look into,” he said. But, “I am reluctantly going ahead with recommendations about laptop use at this point. This is a first-stage study.”

Sheynkin agreed that more research is necessary to prove the link between laptop use and infertility, but he said he felt that the findings so far indicate a need for caution — especially among laptop users who may be trying to conceive a child.

“In the questionnaires that I give to my patients before I see them, I ask if they use hot baths or a sauna, and I tell them that they should stop it if they are trying to conceive,” he said. “I am now going to start asking if they use laptop computers.”

The results of the study will be published in issue of the journal Human Reproduction.

Balancing laptop computers on the lap raises the scrotum’s temperature, say researchers including Yefim Sheynkin, MD, FACS, of the urology department at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

About 15%-20% of couples that want to get pregnant aren’t able to conceive. Many of those cases trace back to issues relating to the male. Gradually declining sperm production has been noted in recent decades, say the researchers.

Elevated scrotal temperatures have been linked to male infertility. Many factors can raise scrotal temperature, including hot baths, saunas, and tight jockey shorts.

The radiation emitted from a computer monitor

or from a laptop is a low frequency type of radiation, in contrast to ionizing radiation which has enough force to remove an electron from at atom. Exposure to ionizing radiation is of great concern because the high energy waves have the ability to alter DNA, the genetic material found in cells. Ionizing radiation can create mutations which increase the risk of developing a cancer if the mutation isn’t repaired by the body’s own natural defense mechanisms.

In contrast the radiation from laptops is of low frequency and is often labeled as ELF or extremely low frequency radiation. ELF is the type of radiation most people are exposed to a daily basis from their television screens, hair dryers, and other electrical appliances. Although these waves don’t have the power to knock electrons off of DNA like ionizing radiation, there’s concern that they may have negative health effects with long term exposure. Despite this, few studies have shown an association between radiation from laptops and health problems.

Another concern about radiation from laptops is that the low level radiation exposure that comes from the computer resting in the lap could increase the risk of infertility, pregnancy related issues, or cancer of the testicles. One study did show that males who rested a computer in their lap developed changes in sperm production, although this was believed to be related to the heat produced by the laptop causing a rise in scrotal temperatures and affecting sperm production. An association between radiation from laptops and testicular cancer has never been proven.

Another concern relating to radiation from laptops is their effect on pregnancy. With so many women using laptops throughout their pregnancy, this is an issue that could be of concern to many. One study that looked at the rate of miscarriage among a group of pregnant, office computer users found no association between radiation from laptops and an increased rate of miscarriage or premature birth.

If you  don’t believe that radiation effects you, go outside and stand in the sunlight. You feel that? That’s heat from the sun’s radiation. Radiation that has been filtered by the earth’s atmosphere so it doesn’t kill you. Enough exposure to ANY TYPE of radiation is enough to genetically alter you and your DNA. Enough to cause any type of mutation or cancer.

Men who regularly balance their laptop computers on their laps when working may be jeopardizing their ability to have children, according to a new study from fertility researchers at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

The potential risk comes from the heat generated by the laptop computer and the close position of one’s thighs when balancing the computer on one’s lap, the researchers found. This heat is transferred to the scrotum, where the temperature can rise several degrees, putting users within the danger zone for testicular dysfunction.

The findings suggest that young men should place laptop computers on a desk, a table or anywhere else but their own laps.

“I definitely recommend that teenage boys and young males limit the use of laptop computers because the results may be unpredictable,” said lead researcher Yefim Sheynkin, director of male infertility and microsurgery at the university. “Don’t get me wrong — the laptop computer is very useful and helpful. But we need to be cautious.”

Scientists have known for years that an increase of even 1 degree Celsius in testicular or scrotal temperature can decrease the production of healthy sperm by as much as 40 percent. In the Stony Brook study, researchers found that test subjects who sat for an hour with running laptops on their laps had a median increase in scrotal temperature of 2.6 to 2.8 degrees Celsius.

The 29 volunteers, aged 21 to 35, were also asked to sit with their thighs together for an hour without a laptop. This resulted in a median increase in scrotal temperature of 2.1 degrees, suggesting that the act of balancing a laptop computer is just as much to blame as the heat generated by it.

Two unidentified brands of Pentium 4 laptops were used at random in the study. Additionally, the volunteers were required to wear the same type of clothing in both tests to rule out variations caused by differences in underwear and pants. The volunteers’ scrotal temperatures were measured every several minutes with a device attached to both sides of subjects’ scrotums.

The tests did not measure the volunteers’ actual sperm production.

Because of this, laptop users may want to wait for further studies before deciding to change their computing habits, cautioned Moshe Wald, a male infertility specialist in the University of Iowa’s urology department who was not affiliated with the study.

“They definitely made their point that temperatures are elevated. And since we know that elevated temperatures might affect sperm production, this is something we might want to look into,” he said. But, “I am reluctantly going ahead with recommendations about laptop use at this point. This is a first-stage study.”

Sheynkin agreed that more research is necessary to prove the link between laptop use and infertility, but he said he felt that the findings so far indicate a need for caution — especially among laptop users who may be trying to conceive a child.

“In the questionnaires that I give to my patients before I see them, I ask if they use hot baths or a sauna, and I tell them that they should stop it if they are trying to conceive,” he said. “I am now going to start asking if they use laptop computers.”

The results of the study will be published in the February 2005 issue of the journal Human Reproduction.

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~ by 619 on March 25, 2010.

3 Responses to “Laptop Dangers – Electromagnetic Radiation Harming Male Fertility & More”

  1. This is only one of many health risks associated with elecetromagnetic radiation. The research is out there if you look. There is a scientifically validated answer for protection from EMR that is easily available. As a parent of 6 I researched and found a way to protect my family.

  2. damn im keeping my laptop on my lap from now on! No kids for me.

  3. I have published in 1995 regarding this issue. Unfirtunatly no researcher looked into this seriously since

    Br J Urol. 1995 Jan;75(1):113.
    Laptops, infertility and testicular cancer.
    Koriech OM.

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