Cell phones can affect sperm quality, researcher says
Story Highlights -
- Cleveland Clinic: Phones left on talk mode in pockets can hurt quality of sperm
- Semen samples from 32 men were used in the study published Thursday
- Researchers found increase in oxidative stress in sperm exposed to cells
Overall, researchers found an increase in oxidative stress such as a significant increase in free radicals and oxidants and a decrease in antioxidants. Agarwal says that equals a decrease in sperm's quality, including motility and viability. Evidence of oxidative stress can appear under other conditions, including exposure to certain environmental pollutants or infections in the urinary genital tract.
"On average, there was an 85 percent increase in the amount of free radicals for all the subjects in the study. Free radicals have been linked to a variety of diseases in humans including cancer," said Agarwal. Free radicals have been linked to decreased sperm quality in previous studies.
However, the study does have major limitations, he acknowledged, such as the small sample size. It also was conducted in a lab and so cannot account for the protection a human body might offer, such as layers of skin, bone and tissue. Agarwal is in the early stages of further research that can model the human body's role in protecting from radio-frequency electromagnetic waves emitted from cell phones.