June 13th, 2014
12:01 AM ET
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
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.
June 5th, 2014
11:19 AM ET
"If you’re a cannabis user and you’re trying for a baby ... stop."
This advice comes from Dr. Allan Pacey, senior lecturer in andrology at the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom and lead author of a new study that suggests using marijuana could increase a man's risk of fertility problems.
The study, published in the journal Human Reproduction, looked at how a man's lifestyle affects his sperm morphology: the size and shape of sperm. Researchers collected data from 1,970 men who provided semen as part of a fertility assessment.
May 12th, 2014
01:43 PM ET
Chemicals known as endocrine disruptors, commonly found in our food and products such as makeup, sunscreen and toothpaste, have been shown to cause fertility problems. Now scientists have a better understanding of why.
Researchers found endocrine disruptors can interfere with human sperm's ability to move, navigate and/or penetrate an egg. Their study results were published Monday in EMBO reports.
Wait, what's an endocrine disruptor?
Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that interfere with your endocrine system - the system in your body that regulates hormones. These hormones control everything from your metabolism to your sleep cycle to your reproductive system, so messing with them can cause serious issues. FULL POST
November 5th, 2013
11:49 AM ET
Women with higher levels of pesticides in their blood are also more likely to have endometriosis, according to a new study published Tuesday in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.
Endometriosis is a chronic condition in which tissue normally lining the uterus’ interior walls also grows outside the uterus, commonly to the ovaries, fallopian tubes, or pelvis –- causing pelvic pain and infertility.
“It affects women during their reproductive years and it could be that as many as 10% of women during reproductive ages have endometriosis,” says Victoria Holt, a researcher at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Washington and lead study author.
More than 5 million women have endometriosis, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Women's Health.
“What we know about endometriosis is that it's an estrogen-driven disease. Women who have more estrogen are more likely to have it," Holt says.
Once in the body, some organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) are believed to mimic estrogen, possibly contributing to endometriosis. FULL POST
October 16th, 2013
04:16 PM ET
The quality of a man's semen is directly related to his ability to help conceive a child. But science hasn't found many solutions for men looking for a baby-making boost. Now a study suggests men who are hoping to start families may want to pay attention to what they eat.
A study presented at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine in Boston this week, and published in the journal Fertility and Sterility, suggests that processed meat intake is linked to poorer semen quality, and fish is linked to better semen quality.
Myriam Afeiche, research fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health, and her colleagues looked at how types of meat could be associated with semen quality. They took samples from 156 men at the Massachusetts General Hospital Fertility Center in Boston and had the men answer a questionnaire about their eating habits.
July 2nd, 2013
06:41 PM ET
While new research finds no significant link between autism and singleton children conceived via in vitro fertilization (IVF), a slightly increased risk of mental retardation, or intellectual disability, was found following IVF treatment including intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).
ICSI involves the injection of a single sperm into an egg to fertilize it. Researchers found when ICSI was used to overcome male infertility, the risk for intellectual disability increased slightly compared to IVF without ICSI.
"The reasons (for an increased risk) could be the underlying infertility,” says Abraham Reichenberg, one of the study authors and a professor at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York and King's College London.
“It could be something happening in the many steps that are involved in each of the treatments, or something that's happening later in the pregnancies, or all of them combined together. It could be any one of those steps. In any one of them it could go wrong." FULL POST
February 4th, 2013
06:32 PM ET
Semen quality is a much-discussed subject among scientists these days. Data suggests sperm concentration has been declining in Western countries over the past couple of decades - and reasons for the decline are debatable.
The lead author of a new study on the subject, Audrey Gaskins, has been studying the effects of diet and exercise on semen for several years as a doctoral candidate at the Harvard School of Public Health. Her latest research shows a lack of physical activity – and too much time in front of the television - may impact sperm count and concentration.
Previous studies have shown a link between physical activity and decreased levels of oxidative stress, Gaskins says. “Oxidative stress” is stress placed on the body as it tries to get rid of free radicals or repair the damage caused by them. Exercise may protect certain male cells from oxidative damage, Gaskins says, leading to increased sperm concentration.
Those findings led Gaskins to complete an observational study on young men’s exercise and TV habits as they relate to semen quality. The results were published online Monday in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
July 18th, 2012
06:09 PM ET
For Joyce Mallon, the births of her three children are "a miracle." Conceived on October, 26, 2007, in a lab by in vitro fertilization, the embryos were implanted into her uterus at two-year intervals, giving her and her husband three children conceived on the same day but born years apart.
"They are my Tripblings!! Triplets via conception, siblings by actual birth," she wrote in an e-mail sent to CNN. "I believe our story to be an exciting and intriguing one, that NO ONE in the U.S. (to my knowledge), has any claim to."
Fertility experts say while the Mallon births are exciting, they're not a first. With better freezing techniques, many babies have been born by doing what the Mallons did: creating a group of embryos, using some to start one pregnancy, and then freezing the rest for future pregnancies. Three babies born this way aren't triplets, but rather three genetically unique siblings conceived on the same day and born years apart.
July 2nd, 2012
03:29 PM ET
When Louise Brown was born in 1978, she became the first baby conceived outside the womb, often referred to as a "test-tube" baby.
Now, 34 years later, fertility experts estimate that 5 million children around the world have been the result of their parents using assisted reproductive technologies.
The International Committee for Monitoring Assisted Reproductive Technologies, an independent, international non-profit organization that collects and disseminates world data, presented their estimates of successful births resulting from IVF and ICSI treatments at the 28th annual meeting of ESHRE, the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology, on Sunday.
May 5th, 2012
06:01 AM ET
Babies conceived through in vitro fertilization (IVF) have a higher risk of birth defects than those conceived naturally, but the increased risk may stem from the parents rather than the treatment itself, according to a study published today in the New England Journal of Medicine.
In the study, among the largest of its kind to date, researchers analyzed more than 300,000 births in Australia and found the risk of birth defects to be 26% higher with IVF than with natural, or unassisted, conception - a finding consistent with previous research.
IVF involves combining - but not injecting– a woman's egg with sperm, usually in a laboratory dish, then transferring the resulting embryo into the woman's uterus.
But virtually all of the increased risk associated with IVF could be attributed to the health and demographic profile of the mother, including her age, body mass index, socioeconomic status, and any health conditions (such as diabetes) she may have experienced before or during pregnancy.
About this blog
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.