anyone got fried testes? gobs, what about you?

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    Attention all men: using a laptop may, ahem, heat your testicles and cause infertility

    James Meikle, health correspondent
    Thursday December 9, 2004
    The Guardian

    Thousands of men across the country will be crossing their legs and groaning in despair today when they learn that their trusted friend, the laptop computer, has become the latest threat to their manhood.

    Just months after they were warned that carrying mobile phones in their pockets might damage their sperm count, men now have to absorb the news that laptops can similarly threaten their fertility.

    Under the title "Increase in scrotal temperature in laptop computer users", researchers today reveal in the journal Human Reproduction that a combination of the heat generated by the computers and the position of the thighs needed to balance the machines leads to higher temperatures around men's genitals.

    Yefim Sheynkin, who led the research team from the State University of New York at Stonybrook, said it was possible that years of heavy laptop use "may cause irreversible or partially reversible changes in male reproductive function".

    Until there was further research, teenage boys and young men might want to limit the use of computers on their laps, he said.

    Past studies have suggested higher scrotal temperatures can damage sperm and affect fertility. Pesticides, smoking, obesity, prolonged car driving and tight trousers had all been blamed for diminishing male potency while the mobile phone theory was suggested by Hungarian scientists this summer.

    Dr Sheynkin said, however, that except for an anecdotal report of genital burns, the effect of portable computers on scrotal temperature had not been known. "Laptops can reach internal operating temperatures of over 70C. They are frequently positioned close to the scrotum, as well as being capable of producing direct local heat, they require the user to sit with his thighs close together to balance the machine, trapping the scrotum." The researchers worked with 29 volunteers between 21 and 35, measuring their scrotal temperature with and without laptops, during two one-hour sessions on different days, in a room where the temperature was around 22C.
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    The surface temperature of the computers rose from nearly 31C to nearly 40C after one hour, while the scrotal temperature had risen by 1C in 15 minutes of computer use.

    Evoking images of the laptop equivalents of the cricketer's box, Dr Sheynkin said: "It's possible that external protective devices could help."
 
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