Monday, 20 Oct, 2008 Health & Fitness

Heavy Use of Cell Phones Leads to Sperm DNA Damage


According to Australian scientists, men who have long talks over the cell phone lower their chances of becoming a biological father. Researchers made an experiment which revealed DNA damage after a 16 hours exposure to radiation that is similar to the one a cell phone emits.

The results of the study were presented at a fertility conference held in Brisbane. The study supports a research performed by American scientists showing that men who often use their cell phones have up to 40 percent lower sperm counts.

In order to study the effect of radiation emitted by the cell phones on sperm, scientists at the University of Newcastle developed a device that can irradiate sperm at a radio frequency similar to the frequency of cell phone calls.

According to the director of Centre of Excellence in Biotechnology, John Aitken, exposure to 16 hours of radiation showed proof of DNA damage. Researchers linked DNA damage in spermatozoa with reduced fertility, high level of risk of miscarriage and a number of diseases in children, including cancer and several neurological disorders, including autism and spontaneous schizophrenia, reports.

Oxidative stress was the one that led to sperm DNA fragmentation in the research. The oxidative stress is when the generation of free radicals surpasses the anti-oxidant defense mechanisms in a human's body.

It was previously known that sperm DNA fragmentation was often caused by oxidative stress, which in its turn occurs from infection, smoking or older age. However, very little research has been made on sperm DNA damage caused by the use of cell phones.

"We also suspect components of acne treatment may give rise to potential free radical effects, but we have yet to find a dermatologist willing to participate in such a study," he said.

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