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June 13th, 2014
12:01 AM ET

5 studies you may have missed

Here's a roundup of five medical studies published this week that might give you new insights into your health, mind and body. Remember, correlation is not causation – so if a study finds a connection between two things, it doesn't mean that one causes the other.

Keep your phone out of your pocket – your sperm will thank you
Journal: Environmental International

Since guys don’t usually carry handbags, they tend to keep mobile phones in their pants pockets. A recent study from the University of Exeter suggests this may not be a great idea.

That cell phone could actually have a negative effect on your sperm quality.

The review looked at findings from 10 studies, that included almost 1,500 samples of semen. To evaluate the mens’ sperm quality, the scientists measured viability (the ratio of sperm that were alive), motility (the ability of sperm to move) and concentration (the number of sperm per unit of semen).

Compared to a control group, the percentage of sperm showing normal movement dropped by 8% among men who pocketed mobile phones. This group's sperm's ability to survive also decreased in about 9% of the samples.

The scientists write that the individual risk for sperm damage depends on how long a man keeps his phone in his pants and how much electromagnetic radiation the phone emits.

Read more from TIME

Eating too many hamburgers may increase your breast cancer risk
British Medical Journal

Past research has shown that eating a lot of red meat increases the risk of bowel cancer. Now Harvard researchers say eating red meat in early adulthood also increases a woman's risk of breast cancer.

The scientists analyzed data from 88,803 premenopausal women. During 20 years of follow-up, the team looked at the diets of those who developed breast cancer.

The result: higher consumption of red meat was associated with a 22% increased risk of breast cancer overall. Women who ate more poultry, fish, eggs, legumes and nuts had a lower risk for breast cancer.

Read more from BBC

The 'trust and cuddle-hormone' has another important purpose
Journal: Nature Communications

Oxytocin is often referred to as the “trust and cuddle hormone” because of  its role in maternal nurturing and friendship. Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, now say that oxytocin is also essential for healthy muscle maintenance and repair.

Their recent study showed that injecting oxytocin under the skin helped animals' muscles heal better.

Oxytocin is the first “anti-aging” molecule approved by the Food and Drug Administration for clinical use. That’s why the study presents oxytocin as a future treatment target for age-related muscle wasting.

Read more from UC Berkeley 

Bad-breath bacteria does more than turn off your date
Journal: Cell Host & Microbe 

Scientists from the University of Pennsylvania have found the bacteria that cause gum disease also create an imbalance in your immune system.

Their recent study revealed that the periodontal bacterium Porphyromonas gingivalis disarms the immune system, leading to periodontitis, with inflammation and bone loss. The gum germs block the immune cells' killing ability and cause inflammation. The dead cells become nutrients that the bacteria feed off of.

“The result is a vicious cycle that exacerbates periodontitis," the researchers write. The team’s discoveries open up new targets for periodontitis treatment.

Read more from University of Pennsylvania 

Heart disease can hurt your mental health
Journal: JAMA 

A healthy mind needs a healthy body.

According to a new study, keeping the heart healthy is also a great way to keep your brain fit. The research examined 17,761 individuals with normal mental function and then re-evaluated them after four years.

The scientists found that the risk for cognitive impairment is greater for people with poor cardiovascular health. A deficit in learning, memory and verbal skills developed in 4.6% of people with the worst heart health and in only 2.6% of those with the most healthy hearts.

The study doesn’t explain the mechanisms that may have led to the findings. However, the study’s author, Evan L. Thacker, said “undetected subclinical strokes could not be ruled out.”

To learn more visit Health.com 

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Filed under: Aging • Brain • Cell Phones • Conditions • Dental health • Diet and Fitness • Fertility • Heart • Living Well • Men's Health • Mental Health

soundoff (294 Responses)
  1. mom

    I would never carry a phone in my pocket. How terrible. Putting radiation next to my body all day? No way! No wonder there is so much infertility out there.

    June 13, 2014 at 15:12 | Report abuse | Reply
    • gager

      The radiation is minimal. A phone in pockets will not affect sperm. Since when are men producing less sperm?

      June 13, 2014 at 17:04 | Report abuse |
    • stop having kids

      there is more radiation coming off your front yard. guess it's time to bulldoze it *slaps forhead* ijit impressionable americans.

      June 14, 2014 at 07:48 | Report abuse |
    • dude

      Yes, infertility is a rampant epidemic. I noticed that there is almost no one left on earth. Underpopulation is a huge issue. Forests are overgrowing farms abandon since no one is left to feed.

      June 14, 2014 at 08:48 | Report abuse |
    • TomAnon

      I suspect it is the warmth from the cell phone and not the actual EM radiation. There are many of sources from EM radiation and it would be nearly impossible to control for that in a proper experiment.

      June 14, 2014 at 08:51 | Report abuse |
    • Bozo

      Just gettin a lil cancer stan.

      June 14, 2014 at 09:08 | Report abuse |
    • heavenboundasof22608

      @Mom.... You wouldn't because you probably carry a purse....and to say how TERRIBLE..... you would NEVER expose your body to radiation all day.... What about your microwave and holding your phone to your ear...... THATS gotta taker a toll on ones brain, and one day the experts will be attributing it to brain tumors. There are also women who wear their cell phone in their bras.

      June 14, 2014 at 09:20 | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      Did anyone commenting here actually UNDERSTAND what the cell phone pocket study was about? Please read about the last study in the article and see a doctor.

      June 14, 2014 at 10:10 | Report abuse |
    • Keith

      I've known since I was 16, I'm 40 now, that I do not want kids. Luckily my wife agrees with me. So I will gladly carry it in my pocket if it helps me to not have any kids and stem the global epidemic of over population of the planet.

      June 14, 2014 at 11:13 | Report abuse |
    • Aika

      You probably shouldn't ever take cross-country flights, then, because that accrues more radiation than your non-ionizing cell phone does over long periods of time.

      June 14, 2014 at 11:15 | Report abuse |
    • RGD

      First, the article was not about radiation from phones, it was about heat from phones near the sperm factory, which does indeed have a negative affect on healthy sperm count. And Great Britten seems to have a clinically significant decline in male fertility. Elsewhere the data is less conclusive. But the bigger point is, if you're trying to start a family and it's not happening right away, it's probably a good idea to not carry your phone in your front pocket.

      June 14, 2014 at 11:20 | Report abuse |
    • bob freen

      The radiation from your cell phone is low power radio waves which are non-ionizing radiation. The only danger from radio waves is possible tissue heating if the transmission source is powerful enough. That tissue heating only occurs on body components that are 1/4 or 1/2 or 1 full wavelength of the transmitted frequency. How do I know? I'm an engineer.

      June 14, 2014 at 11:22 | Report abuse |
    • lulany

      My teen has many friends who actually sleep with their cell phone turned on under their pillow. Imagine the long term impact on the brain.

      June 14, 2014 at 11:45 | Report abuse |
    • k7kbn

      Yeah – read "Inferno", by Dan Brown.

      June 14, 2014 at 11:55 | Report abuse |
    • You're a ship dit.

      Did you read the article gager?

      June 14, 2014 at 12:12 | Report abuse |
    • JZG

      Ever eaten a banana? That's more radiation than you'll get from a lifetime with your phone. Same with 5 minutes in Grand Central Station. Also, the radiation emitted by phones has too long of a wavelength to affect anything in your body.

      June 14, 2014 at 12:34 | Report abuse |
    • Nonovyerbeezwax

      @mom: you are beyond laughable. You never got past high school, did you? Never took a science class that you actually passed, either.

      You seem to think you know what causes autism, even though nobody who has any brains would make that claim, since the evidence is far from conclusive, and now you think you know something about cell phones and radiation?

      I feel sad for your kids.

      June 14, 2014 at 12:37 | Report abuse |
  2. Krandal

    I've knocked up more chicks than I care to admit, and have my phone in my pocket for most of the day. Has a true study been ever done on the effects of cell phone "radiation" on sperm?

    June 13, 2014 at 15:35 | Report abuse | Reply
    • debbie

      hope you're paying for them

      June 13, 2014 at 17:22 | Report abuse |
    • JustMe

      That's so sad. Why would you brag about something so pitiful?

      June 14, 2014 at 09:04 | Report abuse |
    • RogerWilliams

      There's an app for that. Are these your Droids? No I'm an Apple user!

      June 14, 2014 at 10:17 | Report abuse |
  3. God Smack

    What if i'm a 48yo that doesn't want more kids? I'll keep it in my pocket, thanks!

    June 13, 2014 at 17:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Dean

    I carry my phone in the car. And usually leave it there most of the time.

    June 13, 2014 at 18:16 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Manny

      You will have less sperm in your car.

      June 14, 2014 at 06:29 | Report abuse |
    • fidel

      manny, awesome !!!

      June 14, 2014 at 08:33 | Report abuse |
  5. basketcase

    Unless you're actively trying to have kids, who cares about sperm viability?

    June 13, 2014 at 18:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. DidiTM

    Is the decrease in sperm viability really related to EM emissions from the phone in the guy's pocket, or is it more to do with carrying the phone, probably a billfold, and whatever else in various pockets, thus making the pants fit tighter and compressing the groinal region? Heat and compression have both been related to lower sperm counts and decreased sperm viability.

    June 13, 2014 at 20:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • k7kbn

      "Groinal"! Good one! Reminds me of "buttular", which I heard a while ago. Excellent wordsmithing.

      June 14, 2014 at 11:59 | Report abuse |
  7. BrianS

    Kudos for having the disclaimer that correlation is not causation. Thumbs down for writing each of these to imply causation. Seems a bit hypocritical and misleading the way these are written.

    June 14, 2014 at 06:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Samir Zurba

    Put your cell phone in your socks. Case closed.

    June 14, 2014 at 06:53 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Coolsmartfriendguy

      But that may lead to an increased incidence of mutated foot fungus!

      June 14, 2014 at 07:24 | Report abuse |
  9. SixDegrees

    I'm done having kids. Mine were conceived long before the smartphone era, anyway. Why do I care?

    June 14, 2014 at 07:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • DerpHerp

      Yes, everything must be about you. What is CNN thinking? It's the SixDegrees show! It's all about SixDegrees!

      June 14, 2014 at 09:55 | Report abuse |
  10. Dave

    Try keeping your balls out in the fresh air where god meant them to be.

    June 14, 2014 at 08:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • fidel

      what will atheists do with their balls ?

      June 14, 2014 at 08:35 | Report abuse |
  11. Faither of 4 under 8

    Don't believe it. I've carried my phone in my pocket my whole life, and had a vasc, and still added a 4th. And no, my wife isn't sleeping with anyone else. The kid looks like my clone.

    June 14, 2014 at 08:04 | Report abuse | Reply
    • john blaze

      What if u have a twin?

      June 14, 2014 at 08:12 | Report abuse |
    • adam yauch

      You are really young to have 4 kids if you have carried a phone in your pocket your whole life. Or you have pockets big enough to fit a rotary phone in.

      June 14, 2014 at 08:44 | Report abuse |
  12. jason

    I thought radiation made things larger? See Godzilla?

    June 14, 2014 at 08:08 | Report abuse | Reply
    • itsallthere

      It does make things larger! Much larger! You should see how big my junk is since I've been carrying my phone in my pocket!

      June 14, 2014 at 13:18 | Report abuse |
  13. jimatmad

    Maybe guys who carry cell phones in their pockets are less 'spermy'.

    June 14, 2014 at 08:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Richard

    Thanks for the morning chuckles fellow commenters.........Seriously don't depend on your phone for family planning?

    June 14, 2014 at 08:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. jcs6

    I don't carry my phone in my pocket. I have a pouch strapped to my balls I keep it in.

    June 14, 2014 at 08:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. jimatmad

    I don't want more kids so it doesn't matter, but where else would a guy carry a phone when he's out running around? One of those ridiculous holsters?

    June 14, 2014 at 08:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. fidel

    i cant keep my phone in my pocket, cuz, when i get drunk, my johnson will dial it.

    June 14, 2014 at 08:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. o

    Frankly, I'm more worried about putting the phone next to my head than in my pocket.

    June 14, 2014 at 09:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Patrick

    I carry a iPhone in my pocket at all times. I am 37 years old and my wife is pregnant with twins! No effects here I will tell you that!

    June 14, 2014 at 09:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Mukhtiar Singh Kataria

    One of the major reason for less & poor sperms is the tight underwears. God kept the testes out of of the in scrotum – to keep testes under lower temp. than the body. But the tight underwears keep them in high temp., which is causing all the sperm problems and infirtility.

    June 14, 2014 at 09:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. wardtom

    If this study is true, anyone with in 5 miles of a cell tower or tv tower better clear the area. Better not go to the beach this year either and make sure you live in your home as far away as you can from your electrical reading smart meter.

    June 14, 2014 at 09:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. michael de rigueur

    I keep my cell phone in my pants pocket. I'm a guy living in Florida. What am I supposed do, hold it with my teeth? And I still produce lots and lots of sperm..... and it's all good!

    June 14, 2014 at 09:39 | Report abuse | Reply
    • heavenboundasof22608

      And you would know this because you have your sperm count tested on a regular basis? Just because you have lots and lots of "semen", doesn't mean you have lots n lots of sperm. But, its all good

      June 14, 2014 at 09:51 | Report abuse |
  23. svann

    How much radiation does a phone emit while its not being used compared to when you have it up against your brain?

    June 14, 2014 at 09:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. jj

    I've always heard – don't want kids? Keep it in your pants!

    June 14, 2014 at 09:55 | Report abuse | Reply
    • itsallthere

      Good One!

      June 14, 2014 at 13:20 | Report abuse |
  25. hogarth

    Why is this a bad thing? The world is overpopulated.

    June 14, 2014 at 10:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • k7kbn

      See "Inferno", by Dan Brown.

      June 14, 2014 at 12:03 | Report abuse |
  26. Uninut

    It's a sad state of affairs, when people are so quick to dismiss and make light of these studies.

    It only goes to reinforce the stigma of people that are predisposed to being more at risk to the harmful effects of cellphones to not take vigil of their own health or worse yet when did effects become prevalent delay seeking medical attention they need.

    And for all of you so eager to pile on with what you view as "witty" rebuttals, know this.

    I'm a TC survivor (testicular cancer) and despite the mobile communications lobbyists efforts to bury reports like this linking TC and cellphones, ask or read any board on the subject and they will all tell you the orchiectomy correlates to cellphone pocket.

    And just to be perfectly clear, not like folks were carrying around all day long. Just the normal day-to-day usage, going from house to car, while shopping, etc.

    Again not saying cellphones will cause cancer; however, it's a definitely an accelerant and should be treated with care for those susceptible to cancer (history in family).

    June 14, 2014 at 10:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • grubman

      The article mentions a study about fertility, not testicular cancer. Did you even bother to read the article before commenting?

      "ask or read any board on the subject" – not sure what a board on the subject is. Do you mean an internet message board full of misinformed fanatics? Reading actual scientific papers will quickly show that there is no link whatsoever between cell phones and testicular cancer.

      June 14, 2014 at 12:31 | Report abuse |
  27. jacknyd

    Interesting to say the least. No accuracy in any of it.

    June 14, 2014 at 10:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. puddintane

    All of this is easily cured by smoking dope. Virtually every doper knows this, and the Web offers countless statistics proving this

    June 14, 2014 at 10:12 | Report abuse | Reply
    • itsallthere

      I prefer to speak of "smoking weed," not "smoking dope".

      June 14, 2014 at 13:23 | Report abuse |
  29. Johnny 5

    I carry my phone in my pockets often and my sperm is just fine at 37 years of age. I'd say its good enough to start a modest sized colony.

    June 14, 2014 at 10:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. The Wise One

    I would think that if one wishes to carry a phone in their pant's pocket the phone should be completely turned off. Only turn it on when you need to make a call when at home or at the office. But when it is right next to your body it should always be OFF! Don't be naive and foolish such as to take the risk thinking nothing will happen. It Will as the study found! Why end up paying with your health just for being stubborn!

    June 14, 2014 at 10:16 | Report abuse | Reply
    • tlrobb

      I take it no one ever calls you.

      June 14, 2014 at 10:24 | Report abuse |
  31. Bob R., Maryland

    Low sperm count is good for population control. Let's make it a law requiring all men an boys to keep an active cell phone in their pants pockets, close to their testicles, 24/7. That may even lower the need for vasectomies.

    June 14, 2014 at 10:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. xatnam

    Evertime you venture into your basement you are exposed to RADON! Depending where you live, it may permeate your whole house or apartment.

    June 14, 2014 at 10:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. kazue00

    Another study showed smoking pot also reduces sperm count. So if you're gonna have unprotected sex: smoke a joint, and put your phone in your pockets all day.

    June 14, 2014 at 10:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Gary

    The part about radiation from cellfones is an old wives tail. There is more radiation in the typical environment, especially in large cities, than you'd ever get from a single cellphone.

    June 14, 2014 at 10:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. dotheflippin'math

    Sunlight is "radiation." There is radiation from natural sources all around us. The amount and energy associated with the EM radiation generated by cellphones is pretty minimal. There is nothing in this study that truly exposes any causation. In order to have a cellphone in your pocket, you have to be wearing pants or shorts with enough room and support to hold the cellphone. Did they use a control group to prove it wasn't the shorts or pants themselves causing the sperm problems? Most fertility problems are related to women's problems, not men's. I've been pocketing my cellphone since they made them small enough to fit in pockets (20yrs). I managed to knock-up my wife twice in our late 30's. First time, miscarriage. Next time, twins, who are now 9 and super big, smart, and healthy. My sis had endometriosis, damaged fallopian tubes. She used IVF to get preggo. Her hubby's sperm was a-ok. A small decrease in sperm is trivial when you shoot several million, and only 1 has to make it to the egg. At almost 50, I don't want any more kids, and I'm a wuss about surgery. After reading this, I think I'll get an extra cellphone to keep in my other pocket 😀

    June 14, 2014 at 10:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • lancet98

      Actually, incorrect, there is nothing in THIS ARTICLE ABOUT THE STUDY that mentions cause or possible cause. Most likely it is discussed in the study publication itself, as well as relating that data to other studies and suggesting possible sources of error in the study.

      June 14, 2014 at 11:34 | Report abuse |
  36. winpadreswin

    All this talk about sperm hurting their feelings!

    June 14, 2014 at 11:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. well

    might be for the best...at least all the hipsters with iPhones in their pocket won't contribute too much to the next generation 😉

    June 14, 2014 at 11:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. pchelp

    "Since guys don’t usually carry handbags, they tend to keep mobile phones in their pants pockets" If they didn't do research on this how much research did they actually do on their conclusions? Most of the guys I've known carry their phones in their shirt pockets, not pants pockets. Or on their belts.

    June 14, 2014 at 11:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. D. Dale

    Damaged spem can caouse learning problems, or other problems with a child. Dont just lack pregnacey in a spouse.

    June 14, 2014 at 11:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Dr Tact

    Hmmmm, keep my cell phone in my pocket or get a vasectomy. Think I'll go with the former till I need those li'l swimmers again one day.

    June 14, 2014 at 11:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Still searching for an honest man

    The dumbing down of Americans is working better than ever imagined. These posts are living example that even college education is no proof of intelligence. Want to see ignorance up close and personal? Go find a mirror. You know, that shiny thing with your face in it?

    June 14, 2014 at 11:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Lindsey

    There are enough people on this planet who don't have basic needs met. It would be a benefit to sentience if more people became sterilized as to not create more victims who will suffer through life

    June 14, 2014 at 11:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. itchymcscratchy

    Don't put your cell phone in your pocket cuz when you pull your pants down, the cell phone falls in the toilet. Trust me on this one.

    June 14, 2014 at 11:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. hal9thou

    Just as long as my sperm still tastes good, that is all I'm worried about.

    June 14, 2014 at 11:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Gene

    Well, I got neutered anyway so, I don't care!

    June 14, 2014 at 11:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. floydbrookman

    Now that I think about it, I don't remember ever seeing Peter North with a cellphone.

    June 14, 2014 at 11:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Leslie

    Evolution already figured that out. There's about 200 million in one shot.

    June 14, 2014 at 12:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Robert

    I suggest you read the paper on cell phones before you start making ridiculous assumptions about this shock journalism using the word "radiation" to scare the general public. In the discussion they go over possible sources of error and there a lot of big ones. All of the men used were taken from a fertility clinic meaning they had a higher chance already of having sperm troubles and they did not control for a lot of major factors(alcohol, smoking, age, cell phone exposure time). There are also plenty of studies that have proved the exact opposite. This doesn't mean everyone is wrong but it means if it does have an effect on sperm quality that it is miniscule and there are other things you should worry about long before you worry about the small amount of radio waves coming off your phone.

    June 14, 2014 at 12:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Yama

    I guess I'm the only one here who will take the article head on. So they are saying it's the heat and increased temperature down low that's causing the dangerously low sperm count. That still doesn't make any sense because tight fitting underwear will do that too. Holding the boys closer to the body will increase the temps down there as well.

    They say there's been a drop in fertility in Great Britain. Well, the European fit (clothing) is much tighter to the body than our American relaxed, casual fit. Maybe that has something to do with it?

    June 14, 2014 at 12:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. The Real Reason

    You'd have slow sperm motility too if your gonads have been staying up all night making pocket phone calls trying to get lucky.

    June 14, 2014 at 12:29 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.