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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Drinking pomegranate juice may improve male fertility

A new study has shown that drinking pomegranate juice regularly may improve sperm health.

The study, which was conducted by researchers at Turkey’s Firat University and published in the journal Clinical Nutrition, examined 28 male Wistar rats to see if the so-called ‘superfood’ would help their fertility reports health website NaturalNews.

The rats were divided into four groups and given either 1ml of water, 0.75ml of water mixed with 0.25ml of pomegranate juice, 0.5ml of each or 1ml of pomegranate juice once a day over a seven-week period, after which the researchers tested the rats’ sperm.

Results were positive: compared to those drinking water only, the rats drinking the concentrated pomegranate juice showed a 48.5% reduction in their blood levels of a reactive chemical called malondialdehyde (MDA) that can damage sperm production.

Even more encouragingly, they also showed a 63.5% decrease in the levels of MDA in their sperm.
Researchers found the rats that drank the concentrated pomegranate juice had “increased spermatogenic cell density, epididymal sperm concentration, sperm motility and decreased abnormal sperm rate”.However, they noted it was only the concentrated juice, and not the diluted versions, that made a positive difference.
This isn’t the first study to show the potential health benefits pomegranate juice offers for men.

In 2007, a study published in the International Journal of Impotence Research reported some success in using pomegranate juice as a way of managing erectile dysfunction.
A three-year UCLA study also found a daily dose of pomegranate juice helps stabilise prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels in prostate cancer sufferers.


Monday, January 19, 2009

New evidence that river pollution could be causing male fertility problems

Testosterone-blocking chemicals have been found in UK rivers for the first time in new research that strengthens the link between water pollution and rising male fertility problems.

Anti-androgens, that are found in a number of medicines including cancer treatments and pesticides used in agriculture, were found in 30 rivers across England.
The group of chemicals can block the male hormone and therefore reduce male fertility.

Scientists found male fish are already being affected and warned that it could also be contributing to a reduction in human sperm counts, that have been falling in the last fifty years.
In the past the contraceptive pill has been blamed for "feminising" male fish but levels would have to be extremely high to affect humans.
However anti-androgens have been proven to affect humans in small measures and provide a much stronger link between river pollution and male fertility.

The three year study by Brunel University, the Universities of Exeter and Reading and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology looked at more than 1,000 fish in rivers across the UK.
Previous studies have already shown that the female sex hormone oestrogen is causing the feminisation of fish and in some cases can lead to male fish changing sex.

The chemical, found in the contraceptive pill and some industrial chemicals, enters rivers via sewage works.
The new study shows that anti-androgens are also causing male fertility problems in a "double whammy" for the fish.

Senior author Professor Charles Tyler of the University of Exeter said the study showed that a much wider range of chemicals than previously thought could be affecting male wildlife and human health.
"Our research shows that a much wider range of chemicals than we previously thought is leading to hormone disruption in fish.
This means that the pollutants causing these problems are likely to be coming from a wide variety of sources.
Our findings also strengthen the argument for the cocktail of chemicals in our water leading to hormone disruption in fish, and contributing to the rise in male reproductive problems.
There are likely to be many reasons behind the rise in male fertility problems in humans, but these findings could reveal one, previously unknown, factor."

Prof Tyler said there was a lack of evidence to prove a small amount of oestrogen found in river water could affect human fertility, however studies on rats and mice have shown a small amount of anti-androgens can affect male fertility in mammals.

"There is good evidence for more problems in male reproductivty in human males in the last fifty or sixty years," he said. "The anti-androgens are possibly a contributing factor."
The study will now concentrate on where the anti-androgens are coming from and the affect on human health.

Lead author on the research paper Dr Susan Jobling at Brunel University's Institute for the Environment, said the group would be working with regulators like the Environment Agency to consider whether levels of the pollutant need to be controlled in order to protect health.

She said: "We have identified a new group of chemicals in our study on fish, but do not know where they are coming from. A principal aim of our work is now to identify the source of these pollutants and work with regulators and relevant industry to test the effects of a mixture of these chemicals and the already known environmental estrogens and help protect environmental health."


Friday, January 9, 2009

Vietnam has made significant progress in infertility treatment

Right: Luu Ngoc Mai, the first ever baby in Vietnam born from fertilsation with cultured spermatids at the Hanoi-based Military Hospital's Embryo Technology Center and Doctor Quan Huang Lam, head of the center.

Recent achievements in infertility treatment in
Vietnam have not only given fresh hope to childless couples, but also earned the country international recognition, according to local experts.

In the last week of December, the Hanoi-based Military Hospital’s Embryo Technology Center announced its success in culturing spermatids, saying that a baby had been born and six were expected to be born this year using the method.

Although the success rate now stands at 10 percent, it is notable that Vietnam is the first country in Asia to succeed in developing the technique, Vietnam News recently quoted Quan Hoang Lam - head of the center as saying.

Initiated by Doctor Tesarik J. from Turkey in 2001, the new technique helps men who cannot produce sperms.
Men can have their spermatids – the cells that become spermatozoon (sperms) – grown into sperms in culture medium within 24 hours and then injected into their wives’ ovum for fertilization.

Leading IVM nation
“Vietnam is one of the five countries, including Canada, Japan, the Republic of Korea and Italy, which are leading in developing in vitro maturation (IVM),” Ho Chi Minh City Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility Association (HOSREM) General Secretary Dr. Ho Manh Tuong told Lao Dong in a recent interview.

Since the first IVM baby was born in 2007, it is estimated that Vietnam has introduced 4 to 5 percent of some 500 IVM babies that are delivered internationally, he says.

“The number of IVM babies in Vietnam has increased sharply thanks to the rather high success rate,” Tuong adds.
According to HORSEM statistics, around 50 pregnancies so far have been achieved using IVM, including more than 10 cases of twins.
Following the success of the Vietnamese program, local scientists and experts have been invited to report their IVM application at international conferences, including the first European IVM meeting held in Monza, Italy, last month, Tuong says.

The association has also been invited to take part in a multi-center study on IVM babies in the world headed by Professor R. Cheng Chian and Professor Seang Lintan of McGill University in Montreal, Canada, he says.
During IVM, immature eggs, or oocytes, are retrieved from the ovary, then matured in the laboratory before being fertilized and implanted in the womb.

The method almost halves the cost of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) and has a shorter time of 10 days instead of four weeks.
Moreover, it does not imply a potentially fatal side-effect of injections given to stimulate egg production prior to retrieval, like the IVF. The side-effect, which is very rare, is known as the Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome.

While new achievements are being recorded and newer techniques applied, Vietnam already has a solid base in IVF development, experts say.

The country marked its first achievement in infertility treatment when three babies were born in 1998 using the IVF technology.
Over the past 10 years, 10 IVF centers have been established nationwide and these have introduced nearly 5,000 IVF babies in Vietnam, Tuong told the Sai Gon Giai Phong newspaper recently.

Since 2004, Vietnam has also conducted IVF courses for foreign students from countries like Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Myanmar.
Source: Lao Dong, SGGP