Sperm Count in Men May Lead to Human Extinction [Research Says]
A group of seven experts from various universities around the world came together to analyze the results of 185 different studies from North America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. They found that sperm count among men in these regions fell by half in the last 40 years.
There was a 52.4% drop in sperm concentration and a 59.3% decrease in total sperm cell count in the sperm of men at the sites studied.
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The study also points out that the rate of decline remains high and may possibly be increasing.
The results were published in the Human Reproduction Update, a publication on human reproduction. The lead researcher, Hagai Levine, says his study is one of the largest ever done on the subject – 185 scientific papers written between 1973 and 2011 were evaluated.
Levine, who is an epidemiologist, says he was “very worried” about what might happen in the future. According to him, if the trend continues, the human being can be extinguished.
“If we do not change the way we are living, the way we relate to the environment and the chemicals we are exposed to, we may eventually have a big problem with our reproduction, and it can lead to the end of the human species,” he says…
Scientists who did not participate in the study praised the quality of the research, but say that alarmist conclusion may be premature, as no decline has been found in the sperm of men from South America, Asia, and Africa.
The researchers led by Levine, however, point out that in these continents there has not been a significant number of studies conducted so far.
Earlier analyzes indicated similar declines in sperm count in developing countries, but skeptics say a large part of these surveys had problems.
Some had a very small sample of people studied, while others included only men who visited fertility clinics, that is, they had a higher chance of having a low sperm count, they say.
There is also concern that studies pointing to the fall have a greater chance of being published in scientific journals than those indicating otherwise.
Another difficulty is that old counting methods may have overestimated the numbers.
According to this part of the scientific community, all of these factors together may have created a false view of falling counts.
The researchers say, however, that they took these issues into account. And they even managed to leave skeptics like Professor Allan Pacey of the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom less suspicious.
“I’ve never been convinced by the studies published with this kind of result, but the one was done by Levine and his colleagues solve very well the problems found in previous research,” he says.
Cigarette and obesity
Pacey says that although the new study has reduced the possibility of mistakes, it did not end 100% with it. So, according to him, the results have to be read carefully.
“The debate is not over and there is still a lot of work to be done. However, the new article is indeed a breakthrough in dealing with data more clearly and can be a first step on the way to developing new research to better understand this issue, “he says.
There is no concrete evidence as to what could be causing this apparent decline. But it has already been linked to exposure to chemicals used in pesticides and plastics, obesity, cigarette smoking, stress and even the time spent in front of the TV.
Levine says there is an urgency in finding out why the number of sperm is falling and finding ways to reverse that trend.
“We need to take action, for example, to establish better regulations for man-made chemicals, and we must continue our efforts to combat cigarette smoking and obesity.”
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