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posted by chromas on Thursday October 28 2021, @10:02AM   Printer-friendly
from the junk-shot-in-my-junk-shot dept.

Is the air we're breathing reducing sperm counts? Scientists think so:

Researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) have shown how air pollution reduces sperm count in mice, by causing inflammation in the brain.

[...] The whole team of researchers, composed of Ying, Lianglin Qiu, Minjie Chen, Xiaoke Wang and Sufang Chen, tested healthy mice and mice bred without a marker of inflammation in the brain called Inhibitor Kappa B Kinase 2, or IKK2.

Exposing both healthy and IKK2 mutant mice to polluted air, they observed the effects and then tested their sperm counts.

The outcome was clear: the mice bred without the IKK2 inflammation marker in their neurons did not see any reduction in their sperm counts, unlike the healthy mice.

As a second step in the study, the researchers then removed IKK2 markers from specific neurons in order to determine more precisely how air pollution was leading to lower sperm counts.

They found that one specific kind of neuron typically associated with the sleep cycle and obesity was responsible for the reduced sperm count due to air pollution.

These neurons are typically found in the hypothalamus, the part of the brain which controls hunger, thirst, and sex drive.

The hypothalamus also works with the brain’s pituitary gland, which makes hormones that communicate directly with reproductive organs.

Journal Reference:
Lianglin Qiu, Minjie Chen, Xiaoke Wang, et al. PM2.5 Exposure of Mice during Spermatogenesis: A Role of Inhibitor κB Kinase 2 in Pro-Opiomelanocortin Neurons, Environmental Health Perspectives (DOI: https://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/doi/10.1289/EHP8868)


Original Submission

Related Stories

High Mobile Phone Use May Impact Sperm Count 28 comments

High mobile phone use may impact sperm count, study says

Male sperm count has fallen by more than 50% globally in the last 50 years, leaving researchers scrambling to understand why. Could it be pollution, PFAS and other potential toxins in our food and water, an increase in obesity and chronic disease, or even the ever-present mobile phone?

A new study explored the role of cell phones and found men between the ages of 18 and 22 who said they used their phones more than 20 times a day had a 21% higher risk for a low overall sperm count. The men also had a 30% higher risk for a low sperm concentration, a less important measure of sperm count in a milliliter of semen. The study did not specify whether the men called or texted or used their phones to do both.

[...] "I am intrigued by the observation that the biggest effect was apparently seen with older 2G and 3G phones compared to modern 4G and 5G versions. This is not something I am able to explain," said Allan Pacey, deputy vice president and deputy dean of the faculty of biology, medicine and health at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, in a statement. He was not involved in the study.

[...] Results showed that men who used their phones one to five times a day or less than once a week had much higher sperm counts and concentration. As cell phone usage climbed, sperm count dropped, with the lowest levels among men using their phone 20 or more times a day.

Tin foil underwear is an excellent and high fashion accessory to go with tin foil hats.

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  • (Score: 5, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 28 2021, @10:20AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 28 2021, @10:20AM (#1191296)

    A mother heard a hum coming from her daughter’s bedroom. She opened the door to find her daughter lying naked on her bed, enjoying a vibrator. “What are you doing???? The daughter replied, “Mom, I’m 35 and still living at home with my parents. This is as close as I can get to a husband!??? A few days later the father heard a hum coming from the basement. He went downstairs and found his daughter lying naked on the sofa, again enjoying her friend, the vibrator. “What are you doing???? She replied, “Dad, I’m 35 and still living at home with my parents. This is as close as I can get to a husband!??? A few days later the mother again heard the hum, this time coming from the living room. She found her husband watching TV with the vibrator buzzing away beside him. “What are you doing???? He replied, “Watching the game with my son-in-law!???

  • (Score: -1, Troll) by Runaway1956 on Thursday October 28 2021, @10:33AM (26 children)

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Thursday October 28 2021, @10:33AM (#1191299) Journal

    https://www.livestrong.com/article/554285-does-milk-raise-estrogen-in-men/ [livestrong.com]

    Incels drink lots of milk, don't they? They would do better to drink beer if they want to find a woman.

    • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 28 2021, @10:39AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 28 2021, @10:39AM (#1191300)

      the site launched by a disgraced drug cheat? no thanks.

      be careful of what you read on the internet, including this post.

    • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 28 2021, @10:50AM (12 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 28 2021, @10:50AM (#1191304)

      The thing is what they use to milk the cows with may contain phthalate which may reduce testosterone levels / increase estrogen levels.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phthalate [wikipedia.org]

      BPA has also been shown to have similar effects.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bisphenol_A [wikipedia.org]

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 28 2021, @10:55AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 28 2021, @10:55AM (#1191307)

        A Global Fertility Crisis - Dr. Shanna Swan
        By After Skool
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uo-kSxHNSDQ [youtube.com]

        Go to about 18:30 to see the study

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 28 2021, @02:29PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 28 2021, @02:29PM (#1191330)

        If we're concerned with estrogen, perhaps folks should put down the big macs and get their asses out for a jog. Fat cells literally produce estrogen as part of the body's regulatory response to cycles of feast and famine.

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Immerman on Thursday October 28 2021, @04:12PM (9 children)

        by Immerman (3985) on Thursday October 28 2021, @04:12PM (#1191369)

        Anything the milk just passes through for a few seconds is unlikely to leach enough contamination into the milk to cause a problem.

        Store it for weeks in a plastic jug or plastic-lined cardboard carton though? That's a different story. We had that big BPA scare a few years back that eventually got everybody excited about BPA-free plastics, but the subsequent stories revealing that the BPA alternatives were even worse faded away almost immediately.

        Of course, most milk also comes from cows subjected to heavy hormone treatment to maximize lactation - and those hormones almost certainly end up in the milk as well. I suspect that's probably a bigger part of the problem.

        Not to mention the fact that the psuedo-estrogen from human birth control has built up to such levels in the environment that even fresh rainwater from high in the most remote mountains in the world is full of it. And so is the OP's beer.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 29 2021, @08:43AM (8 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 29 2021, @08:43AM (#1191620)

          "Anything the milk just passes through for a few seconds is unlikely to leach enough contamination into the milk to cause a problem."

          Based on what? The link to the video cites studies?

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 29 2021, @08:44AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 29 2021, @08:44AM (#1191621)

            err ... there shouldn't be a question mark at the end, it does cite studies.

          • (Score: 2) by Immerman on Friday October 29 2021, @03:26PM (6 children)

            by Immerman (3985) on Friday October 29 2021, @03:26PM (#1191709)

            Based on molecular diffusion rates. Moreover, if the chemicals could leach into the milk in significant quantities in the seconds the milk takes to pass from cow to storage vat (usually stainless steel last I checked), then it would very rapidly all leach out of the part and cease to be a problem.

            Could you point out the place where it cites anything about the chemicals leaching into milk (or any substance) in significant amounts during brief exposure? I don't see it, and everything I've heard suggests the problem comes from *storing* foods and beverages in contact with such plastics, especially if frozen (which counter-intuitively apparently increases the BPA solubility somehow).

            I do see mention of plumbing and such - but in that case the water (or whatever) spends hours or days within the network of pipes absorbing contaminants, rather than just momentarily flowing though them on its way elsewhere like milk would at a processing facility.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 30 2021, @06:09PM (5 children)

              by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 30 2021, @06:09PM (#1191980)

              "Based on molecular diffusion rates."

              Could you be more specific.

              "Moreover, if the chemicals could leach into the milk in significant quantities in the seconds the milk takes to pass from cow to storage vat (usually stainless steel last I checked), then it would very rapidly all leach out of the part and cease to be a problem."

              This is like saying that using lead pipes to temporarily transfer drinking water isn't a problem because if it were a problem the problem would be solved because the fresh water would eventually wash all the lead away until there is no pipe left... such an argument doesn't hold water ...

              • (Score: 2) by Immerman on Sunday October 31 2021, @02:13PM

                by Immerman (3985) on Sunday October 31 2021, @02:13PM (#1192191)

                And you think getting data out is likely to be a real problem once a professional espionage agent has legitimate access to its physical location? Worst case you swallow the data on a non-metallic micro-SD card.

              • (Score: 2) by Immerman on Sunday October 31 2021, @03:15PM (3 children)

                by Immerman (3985) on Sunday October 31 2021, @03:15PM (#1192205)

                Sure - think of gently placing a drop of dye into a bowl of still water. The water will eventually all become a uniform color, but for a long time you'll have a blob of die with a slowly expanding cloud of colored water around it.

                That's visible molecular diffusion rates in a liquid - molecules are far, *far* less mobile when in a solid or plastic. Any BPA, etc. on the surface of a container will take a long time to break free (or else you could just wash the plastic and be done with it). And it will take even longer for molecules embedded inside the plastic to migrate to the surface to replace those that have been lost.

                Most importantly, at the extremely low concentrations and solubility we're talking about, the amount of contamination that is absorbed by a particular food/beverage is almost perfectly proportional to the amount of surface area in contact, times the amount of time the contact lasted. A brief exposure will cause far less contamination than a prolonged one.

                >This is like saying that using lead pipes to temporarily transfer drinking water isn't a problem

                Not really - lead pipes have a big difference: when you dissolve all the exposed lead off the surface of a lead pipe, underneath there's more lead. While if you dissolve all the exposed BPA off the surface of a plastic pipe, you're left with a thin layer of BPA-free plastic. More may slowly diffuse from the interior to the surface, but *very* slowly.

                Moreover, having pure water momentarily flowing through a lead pipe isn't actually that big a deal*. If you have a lead hose attached to your garden faucet, pouring yourself a glass of water through is not going to be a significant problem. Lead molecules just can't dissolve into the water fast enough in the few seconds the water spends in the hose to begin to rival the lead you routinely inhale along with the dust in the air in any city center or other area where cars used to burn leaded gasoline. Yeah, no level of lead exposure is safe, but there's no sense in worrying about a pinhole leak in your basement plumbing while it's being flooded by a broken pipe.

                What *is* a significant problem is if the municipal plumbing is lead, or worse, the plumbing inside your house. Then when you pour yourself a glass of water in the morning, you're getting water that's been sitting in a lead container for hours. In one hour you'll dissolve 3,600x as much lead into the water as in one second. In ten hours, 36,000x as much. At those levels it does start to become a problem. Especially if you continue drinking that lead-enriched water for years. A lead hose isn't great, but it'd take thousands of years to add as much lead to your body as lead plumbing would in one.

                Similarly, milk passing through a plastic pipe on its way from A to B in the factory will absorb some additives, but it will be a tiny, tiny fraction of a percent as much as it would sitting in a plastic bottle for a week. If you consume *anything* that has been stored in contact with plastic, the amount of additives that entered the milk while momentarily passing through a pipe at the processing facility will amount to a rounding error. Moreover, thanks to environmental plastic contamination, we all actually eat around 5g of micro-plastic particles per week, which combined have a truly massive surface area that can remain in our system for days.

                * I'm talking pure water - some of the additives to municipal water might be highly reactive with lead, in which case it might take very little time for the additives to react and fill the water with the resulting lead compounds. I think that's actually been the problem in a few high-profile cases.

                • (Score: 2) by Immerman on Sunday October 31 2021, @03:29PM

                  by Immerman (3985) on Sunday October 31 2021, @03:29PM (#1192207)

                  Just realized I used two different "plastic"s in my post. To clarify, when I say

                  > molecules are far, *far* less mobile when in a solid or plastic

                  I'm talking about plastic in the physical properties sense, not the hydrocarbon sense. As a rough approximation, plastic = moldable. Clay, sticky mud, peanut butter, etc., are all plastics, sticking together into a cohesive lump that's solid enough to hold a shape, up to a point. Existing in a sort of in-between state between solid and liquid, and the transition to solid is often rather... blurry, more a question of "how solid is it?" than "is it solid?". Hydrocarbon plastics are so named because they dramatically demonstrate such properties.

                • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 01 2021, @10:53AM (1 child)

                  by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 01 2021, @10:53AM (#1192420)

                  Kinda like when you clean a stain off a carpet a week or two later some of the stain comes back but if you keep cleaning it two or three times eventually it won't come back.

                  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 01 2021, @10:54AM

                    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 01 2021, @10:54AM (#1192421)

                    Eventually it won't really come back *

    • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 28 2021, @11:05AM (9 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 28 2021, @11:05AM (#1191309)

      I feel compelled to postscript my troll mod with a comment, because I would have actually modded you informative, had you not dropped the incel/milk bit.

      That's why. Maybe flamebait would be more appropriate, but I really am not seeing a functional difference in this particular case.

      Anyways, mod's not personal; just about the incel bit.

      • (Score: 1, Troll) by Runaway1956 on Thursday October 28 2021, @11:15AM (8 children)

        by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Thursday October 28 2021, @11:15AM (#1191310) Journal

        The incel bit is relevant. Incels are infertile. The article is about fertility and infertility. *rolleyes*

        • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 28 2021, @11:18AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 28 2021, @11:18AM (#1191311)
          I have to say, my mental thesaurus doesn't list incel as a synonym for infertile, but as a synonym for "unbearable dipshit".
        • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 28 2021, @11:49AM (6 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 28 2021, @11:49AM (#1191314)

          Incels ain't infertile, they just have no way to prove their fertility status.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 28 2021, @01:32PM (1 child)

            by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 28 2021, @01:32PM (#1191319)
            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 28 2021, @02:12PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 28 2021, @02:12PM (#1191326)

              Hawt

          • (Score: 1, Informative) by Runaway1956 on Thursday October 28 2021, @02:34PM

            by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Thursday October 28 2021, @02:34PM (#1191332) Journal

            Fertility rates are computing using the number of children born - not your potential to be fertile. Fertility has been dropping in pretty much all of the developed world. Incels contribute to the low fertility rates by not using their potential. I insist that incels are infertile - they aren't producing any babies. They are multiplying by zero.

          • (Score: 3, Informative) by ikanreed on Thursday October 28 2021, @04:07PM (2 children)

            by ikanreed (3164) Subscriber Badge on Thursday October 28 2021, @04:07PM (#1191366) Journal

            Having that kind of personality is a kind of infertility.

            • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 28 2021, @05:33PM (1 child)

              by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 28 2021, @05:33PM (#1191402)

              It's not all down to personality. I'm a rude, unpleasant, very bitter and jaded person at most times, but I have a symmetrical face and good build so sex is no difficulty. Incels have bad personalities and self-defeating worldviews *in addition* to being ugly, which is the real problem, despite all the cultural myths about how much imaginary traits matter more than real ones to potential mates.

              • (Score: 2) by ikanreed on Thursday October 28 2021, @05:56PM

                by ikanreed (3164) Subscriber Badge on Thursday October 28 2021, @05:56PM (#1191411) Journal

                I've seen plenty of "I'm too ugly woe is me" posts from people who look, frankly, pretty decent. Especially if they cleaned up a bit.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by PinkyGigglebrain on Thursday October 28 2021, @08:59PM (1 child)

      by PinkyGigglebrain (4458) on Thursday October 28 2021, @08:59PM (#1191455)

      Despite specifically mentioning the controversy around rBGH [centerforfoodsafety.org] the linked study apparently didn't take any measures to control for it..

      rBGH is an artificial estrogen like hormone used by some dairy farmers to increase a cows milk production by ~10% and already linked to cancer, low level allergic reaction in some people and the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria. It has also been linked to increased rates of infections and miscarriages in cows treated with it. Use of rBGH is also prohibited in Canada and Europe on grounds that it hasn't been proven to be safe. Also of note is that the US FDA approved rBGH in 1993 despite studies that indicated it may be harmful to Humans.

      So before pointing the finger at milk, something that has been a part of the human diet longer than Human history, perhaps we should be looking more closely at what is being done to the milk we drink now by Monsanto and other companies that put profit above all else.

      --
      "Beware those who would deny you Knowledge, For in their hearts they dream themselves your Master."
      • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Friday October 29 2021, @03:52AM

        by Reziac (2489) on Friday October 29 2021, @03:52AM (#1191580) Homepage

        And TFA immediately tried to sell us on soy milk, which kinda nuked their credibility.

        --
        And there is no Alkibiades to come back and save us from ourselves.
  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by looorg on Thursday October 28 2021, @10:54AM (1 child)

    by looorg (578) on Thursday October 28 2021, @10:54AM (#1191306)

    I'm fairly sure if I stopped breathing my sperm count would drop drastically. Beyond that it seems like a reasonable assumption that things around us will have an effect, things we eat, drink, breath etc.

    • (Score: 2) by ikanreed on Thursday October 28 2021, @04:22PM

      by ikanreed (3164) Subscriber Badge on Thursday October 28 2021, @04:22PM (#1191372) Journal

      Which things around us have which effect is literally the point of a controlled experiment.

      In this case, the Soylent headline is inaccurate as to what the findings teach us. What we learned is by what bio-mechanical process air pollution may induce sperm count reduction, suggesting maybe we already knew it did. From there you can do subsequent research to identify what specific pollutants trigger that process, and shape future legislation to prevent it from being emitted(or cause it, I guess, if you're a conspiracy type).

  • (Score: 4, Funny) by DannyB on Thursday October 28 2021, @02:07PM

    by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Thursday October 28 2021, @02:07PM (#1191325) Journal

    Can this drop in sperm count be extrapolated from mice to humans. Will another study be conducted to find out?

    Does this affect the taste?

    I mean the taste of the mice. Asking for my cat.

    --
    When trying to solve a problem don't ask who suffers from the problem, ask who profits from the problem.
  • (Score: 3, Informative) by Muad'Dave on Thursday October 28 2021, @03:12PM (3 children)

    by Muad'Dave (1413) on Thursday October 28 2021, @03:12PM (#1191345)

    Around 92 per cent of the world population lives in areas where the level of fine particles in the air smaller than 2.5 micrometres in diameter “exceed the minimum safety standards set by the World Health Organisation,” the study noted.

    • (Score: 2) by captain normal on Thursday October 28 2021, @03:35PM (2 children)

      by captain normal (2205) on Thursday October 28 2021, @03:35PM (#1191355)

      Well it seems that accidentally we may actually be doing something about over population.

      --
      Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts"- --Daniel Patrick Moynihan--
      • (Score: 2) by Common Joe on Thursday October 28 2021, @06:03PM (1 child)

        by Common Joe (33) <common.joe.0101NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday October 28 2021, @06:03PM (#1191413) Journal

        That we are. Not joking, not sarcasm: It's amazing how I feel pretty bad when the wind blows from a particular direction where I live. Also, there are plenty of times when me, my spouse, and our pet all get watery eyes and puffy faces at the same time. And it's been getting worse over the years.

        • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Friday October 29 2021, @04:04AM

          by Reziac (2489) on Friday October 29 2021, @04:04AM (#1191584) Homepage

          I remember such an incident in the Los Angeles area some decades back. Blamed industrial pollution... turned out it was actually some South American ornamental that had been used as a decorative planting in the new subdivision, spitting out mild toxins along with its pollen, and the whole neighborhood was reacting. And there were certain parts of the city where at certain times of year, I could count on getting a rash of calls from clients whose dogs were having sneezing fits (reacting to something that bloomed same time every year).

          Where are you that air is getting worse? in the U.S. it's gotten measurably better.
          https://gispub.epa.gov/air/trendsreport/2021 [epa.gov]
          scroll down to "Criteria Pollutant Trends Show Clean Air Progress" for a quick chart.

          --
          And there is no Alkibiades to come back and save us from ourselves.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 28 2021, @03:20PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 28 2021, @03:20PM (#1191348)

    No, Neo. It's sperm.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 29 2021, @02:26AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 29 2021, @02:26AM (#1191547)

    Goodbye oxygen.

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