Laptops: Link to testicular cancer?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by higgz, Mar 7, 2008.

  1. higgz macrumors member


    Feb 26, 2008
    Boston, MA
    Thought this article was pretty interesting...

    Doctors warn young men: Get the laptop off your lap

    New medical research is about to hit the technology industry below the belt -- a provocative U.S. study has concluded that the last place any male should use a laptop computer is in his lap.

    Research published today in the journal Human Reproduction has found that laptops, combined with the thighs pressed-together posture needed to balance them, give off enough heat to raise the temperature inside testicles by nearly three degrees Celsius (5.4 F).

    This increase, researchers warn, could endanger the production of healthy sperm and lead to infertility.

    "Some people don't use laptops on their laps, but a lot of young men, or boys, have all these wireless services and they do use them on their laps to play games or do all sorts of things, on the sofa, or the school bus, or in the backyard and this is a continuous heat exposure. . . . But in 10 or 20 years when they try to have a family they might have problems," said study leader Yefim Sheynkin, a urologist at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

    So where should men use a laptop? "Use it on a desk," he said, "anywhere but on the lap."

    If the findings sound, well, nuts, no doctor is likely to dismiss them.

    The health of sperm globally has been a subject of great concern for the past 12 years. Reports, particularly from Western countries, suggest sperm counts and quality have been declining for half a century, while testicular-cancer rates are rising. The phenomenon remains controversial, but no one disputes that semen has its environmental enemies -- and heat is one of them.

    Heat is known to mangle the traditional tadpole shape of sperm, as well as limit numbers, stunt sperm growth and make them sluggish. "If [Dr. Sheynkin] can measure that difference in temperature [with laptop use], it is significant, but it needs more study," said male-infertility expert Victor Chow, a consultant with the University of British Columbia's Centre for Reproductive Health. "We need to know if it actually lowers sperm counts . . . or [if] the only thing you can say about it is that laptops heat up testes."

    But Christopher Wood, a 30-year-old consultant with Maverick Public Relations in Toronto and a laptop enthusiast, is already reconsidering his favorite weekend ritual.

    Ever since his girlfriend bought a laptop five months ago, Mr. Wood has spent Sunday mornings snuggled in bed, leaning back with coffee in hand, watching DVD movies on the laptop, which is perched, naturally, on his lap.
    "I never thought it could impact my ability to have children," Mr. Wood said. "I mean it would be really sad that I would not be able to have children because I decided to watch Shrek in bed."

    Most people assume, he said, that the main risks of computer use are strained wrists or aching backs. But he admitted that the notion that a laptop's heat may be hazardous to his reproductive parts is not a complete surprise: The warmth the machine generates through his duvet and sheets on Sunday mornings is intolerable.

    "I haven't been able to get through a whole movie yet," he said. "I don't think I'm doing myself any favors."

    Dr. Sheynkin conducted the study over two one-hour sessions with 29 healthy men aged 21 to 35. In one session, researchers recorded the temperature of the subjects' scrotums as they sat with thighs together as though using a laptop. In the second session, the researchers took scrotal temperatures again, but this time the men had a working laptop that heated up from 31 C to 40 C at the end of the one-hour experiment.
    Sitting with thighs together increased testicular temperature by 2.1 C. When the laptop was added, the temperature rose to a median 2.6 C in the left testicle and 2.8 C in the right. Studies have shown that increases of more than one degree can have a negative effect on sperm development.

    Dr. Sheynkin said sperm production may take up to six months to recover from heat damage, and chronic exposure may have long-term effects.

    There are no known studies of the effects of laptops on women's fertility.
  2. Zwhaler macrumors 604


    Jun 10, 2006
    Uh oh, I've been using a MacBook a lot lately :eek:

    But the majority of the time I am using a desktop, so *phew* :cool:
  3. flyfish29 macrumors 68020


    Feb 4, 2003
    New HAMpshire
    Thread title does not correspond to the topic...this article/study is about fertility, not cancer. Big difference!!!

    There is a reason they no longer call them laptops, but portable computers!!! I think the industry has been making that change for years now.
  4. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    Well laptop, notebook......potato potato (this phrase works out so much better when spoke. Maybe it's "potayto potaato").

    The point is that I always thought it was just a name. After all, a "notebook" was hardly created for taking notes, nor is it a book. I don't think the names are meant to be taken so literally.
  5. FF_productions macrumors 68030


    Apr 16, 2005
    Mt. Prospect, Illinois
    My junk used to get fried by my MacBook Pro, I've spared the poor bastards by getting a tower.
  6. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    Good idea. The weight of your Tower would simply crush your happy sack and make them pop.
  7. scotthayes macrumors 68000


    Jun 6, 2007
    Birmingham, England
    When I saw the thread title I thought "Oh bollocks" but after reading it I'm not worried in the slightest.

    How the OP came to the idea the article was saying using a laptop on your lap causes testicular cancer I do not know. Guess it's just another misleading thread title.
  8. CanadaRAM macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    Old article. Has nothing to do with cancer.

    Heat vs. sperm has been posted numerous times before.

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