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Smartphone may help men test infertility at home

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New York, March 24: Researchers have developed a smartphone-based semen analyser that can help men test infertility in the privacy and comfort of their home, suggests new research.

In tests, the researchers found that the easy-to-use smartphone app and accessory analyses sperm concentration and motility with approximately 98 per cent accuracy.

The research, published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, could offer men a potent weapon to fight infertility as a prevailing cultural and social stigma, and get round the lack of access to seeking an evaluation in resource-limited countries.

“We wanted to come up with a solution to make male infertility testing as simple and affordable as home pregnancy tests,” said Hadi Shafiee from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, US.

“Men have to provide semen samples in these rooms at a hospital, a situation in which they often experience stress, embarrassment, pessimism and disappointment,” Shafiee pointed out.

More than 45 million couples worldwide grapple with infertility, but current standard methods for diagnosing male infertility can be expensive, labour-intensive and require testing in a clinical setting.

“Current clinical tests are lab-based, time-consuming and subjective. This test is low-cost, quantitative, highly accurate and can analyse a video of an undiluted, unwashed semen sample in less than five seconds,” Shafiee added.

The analyser consists of an optical attachment that can connect to a smartphone and a disposable device onto which a semen sample can be loaded.

The new test utilises the advancements in consumer electronics and microfabrication.

A disposable microchip with a capillary tip and a rubber bulb is used for simple, power-free semen sample handling.

The team also designed a user-friendly smartphone application that guides the user through each step of testing, and a miniaturised weight scale that wirelessly connects to smartphones to measure total sperm count.

To evaluate the device, the research team collected and studied 350 clinical semen specimens at the Massachusetts General Hospital Fertility Centre in Boston.

Overall, the smartphone-based device was able to detect abnormal semen samples based on World Health Organisation (WHO) thresholds on sperm concentration and motility with an accuracy of 98 per cent.

“The ability to bring point-of-care sperm testing to the consumer, or health facilities with limited resources, is a true game changer,” co-author of the study John Petrozza, Director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Fertility Centre, said.

The smartphone-based analyser for semen analysis is currently in a prototyping stage. The researchers said that plan to perform additional tests and will file for Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval.

IANS

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Radiation from smartphones may up miscarriage risk: Study

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New York, Dec 14: Pregnant women’s exposure to non-ionising radiation from smartphones, Bluetooth devices and laptops may more than double the risk of miscarriage, a study has showed.

Non-ionising radiation — radiation that produces enough energy to move around atoms in a molecule, but not enough to remove electrons completely — from magnetic fields is produced when electric devices are in use and electricity is flowing.

It can be generated by a number of environmental sources, including electric appliances, power lines and transformers, wireless devices and wireless networks.

While the health hazards from ionising radiation are well-established and include radiation sickness, cancer and genetic damage, the evidence of health risks to humans from non-ionising radiation remains limited, said De-Kun Li, a reproductive and perinatal epidemiologist at the Kaiser Permanente — a US-based health care firm.

For the study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, the team asked for 913 pregnant women over age 18 to wear a small (a bit larger than a deck of cards) magnetic-field monitoring device for 24 hours.

After controlling for multiple other factors, women who were exposed to higher magnetic fields levels had 2.72 times the risk of miscarriage than those with lower magnetic fields exposure.

The increased risk of miscarriage associated with high magnetic fields was consistently observed regardless of the sources of high magnetic fields. The association was much stronger if magnetic fields was measured on a typical day of participants’ pregnancies.

The finding also demonstrated that accurate measurement of magnetic field exposure is vital for examining magnetic field health effects.

“This study provides evidence from a human population that magnetic field non-ionising radiation could have adverse biological impacts on human health,” Li noted.

“We hope that the finding from this study will stimulate much-needed additional studies into the potential environmental hazards to human health, including the health of pregnant women,” he said.

IANS
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Use of Smartphone before sleep may make your kid obese: Study

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New York, Dec 10: Beware if your children have a habit of playing games on smartphones before sleeping, he or she may face an increased risk of becoming obese, warns a study.

It was discovered kids who used digital devices such as watching TV or playing games on smartphones before going to bed got an average of 30 minutes less sleep in comparison to those who did not.

This lack of proper sleep not only caused fatigue and attention problems in school, but also disrupted their eating habits. This leads to higher body mass indexes (BMI), news agency IANS reported.

“We saw technology before bed being associated with less sleep and higher BMIs,”stated Caitlyn Fuller, researcher at the Pennsylvania State University in the US.

“We also saw this technology use being associated with more fatigue in the morning, which circling back, is another risk factor for higher BMIs. So we’re seeing a loop pattern forming,” Fuller further asserted.

The study, published in the journal Global Pediatric Health, examined the sleep and technology habits of 234 children, between the age of eight to 17 years.

As per the suggestions from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), parents should set some limitations regarding the use of technology, like requiring their kids to put away their devices during meal times and keeping phones out of bedrooms at night.

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How jet lag could increase cancer risk

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London, Dec 10: Frequent travelling that causes jet lag could increase risk of cancer as it tends to disrupt our body clocks that are controlled by the same mechanism that causes tumors, reveals study.

The findings, reported in the Daily Mail, discovered that internal human body clocks have a major influence on cell multiplication and has the potential to prevent cancer.

“Our internal clock is in sync with external light and dark cues, and prompts people’s behaviour and activity levels,” lead author Angela Relogio from the Charite-Medical University in Berlin, was quoted as saying by Daily Mail.

“Based on our results, it seems to us that the clock is likely to act as a tumor suppressor,” Relogio added.

For the study, published in the journal PLOS Biology, researchers examined a protein known as RAS, which is inappropriately activated in around a quarter of cancerous cells, in mice.

This takes place via two proteins — INK4 and ARF — that are known to conquer cancer.

“One cannot stop wondering whether disrupted circadian timing should be included as a next potential hallmark of cancer,” Relogio asserted.

Changes in the biological clock have also been known to up the risk of heart related diseases and diabetes.

WeForNews 

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