back to article Now Spanish sperm takes a kick to the cojones

Scientists have announced that sperm production in young chaps in south-east Spain has fallen 38 per cent in the last decade, and is heading towards the "danger level" where it might prejudice conception. An international team, headed by the Department of Preventative Medicine and Public Health of the University of Murcia (UMU …

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Anonymous Coward

Interesting....

This period correlates to the rise in the iPhone. Coincidence?

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Coat

Re: Interesting....

You're holding it wrong.

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Def
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Re: Interesting....

I wouldn't say the iPhone specifically, but mobile phones in general. Everyone in this survey was born into a world where the radiation from mobile phones and other forms of wireless networks has been constantly increasing.

I'm not saying there is a connection, but you'd have to be pretty naive to immediately rule one out.

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Meh

Maybe

They will need a bailout from the rest of Europe?

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Facepalm

Re: Maybe

For some reason, I thought you wrote "ballout" ...

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Employment policy

Governemnt must have put something in the water.

Lower sperm count => Lower birth rate => Twenty years down the line, lower unemployment

Twenty years to solve a problem, pretty good going by Spanish standards.

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Black Helicopters

Re: Employment policy

I was thinking much the same thing. Here, have a tinfoil hat - I have a spare...

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Anonymous Coward

in the water

I remember a while ago there was a study about the effect of female contraceptive pills (which contain female hormones) coming out in urine.

Nowadays estrogen patches for post menstrual symptoms are also common. They might also be a problem

Anyone know the results

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Re: Employment policy

And huge numbers of geriatrics with few current taxpayers to fund their pension payments.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Employment policy

Probably the other way around. Being unemployed is stressful, stress has a large impact on sperm levels, and half of Spain's young adults are unemployed. QED?

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FAIL

Re: Employment policy

It looks safe to assume you don't know shit about Spanish standards, or what can be done in Spain in 20 years, and that you are a racist POS. The worst to you.

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Re: Employment policy @Periquet dels Palots

Thankyou Sir! May I have another one?

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Meh

Darwin in action ?

fewer sperm = fewer mouths to feed = more likely survival for the rest ?

IANAB, but I'm sure that population reduction in the face of adverse environmental factors is one valid strategy.

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Paris Hilton

Re: Darwin in action ?

"fewer sperm = fewer mouths to feed = more likely survival for the rest ?"

I think I'd rather starve to death (which is nature's way of dealing with overpopulation) than eat sperm.

Paris, because she wouldn't starve to death in this twisted future of yours.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Darwin in action ?

"Darwin in action ?"

I doubt it, he's fucking dead.

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Coat

Re: Darwin in action ?

"Darwin in action ?"

"I doubt it, he's fucking dead."

I can't say I approve of his choice of recreational activity.

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Anonymous Coward

"The cause of the Spanish sperm crisis is equally obscure"

Really?

Nothing at all to do with the oestrogen-like effects of plasticisers (e.g, phthalates) disrupting the hormone system in humans (and elsewhere) then?

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Re: "The cause of the Spanish sperm crisis is equally obscure"

That sounds pretty obscure. Obscure doesn't mean "unknown" or "no working hypotheses".

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Boffin

Re: "The cause of the Spanish sperm crisis is equally obscure"

it's not obscure, just unknown by the general populace. I've known of this effect for years. Unfortunately tap water has lots of oestrogen because of all the women on the pill which adds oestrogen. It's really hard to filter out.

Don't think that bottled water helps. Being on the shelf for a while before you get it, the plasticisers (phthalates and others) which make plastic easy to shape/bend tend to leach into the bottled water.

Now we start to make a case for a home distillery, but that has it's own problems (legal) and that pure water is really really bad for the body as it strips out nutrients (read up on osmosis/osmotic pressure)

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Pint

Re: "The cause of the Spanish sperm crisis is equally obscure"

Plasticisers are a possible cause, although, at an initial guess there are too many other factors to conclusively attribute to a particular cause (more research required! :D )

Just be wary of each crazy froob using this to support their cause: Homeopaths will say BigPharma is to blame; tin-foil-hat crowd will say EM radiation (likely with a CIA conspiracy to control breeding); hippies will say is because weed is not legal yet; vegans will blame modern meat production; vegans may also blame GMOs; Charles will blame the nano particles/pollution/lack-of-fox-hunting.

Here's hoping Beers not the cause!

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Headmaster

Re: "it's not obscure, just unknown by the general populace"

That is the very definition (or at least, one of them) of obscure. From http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/obscure - Obscure: relatively unknown

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "The cause of the Spanish sperm crisis is equally obscure"

Now we start to make a case for a home distillery, but that has it's own problems (legal)

Alcohol yes, but I didn't know there was a law against distilling water?

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Flame

Re: "The cause of the Spanish sperm crisis is equally obscure"

"oestrogen-like effects of plasticisers "

Got any good links to provide evidence for this assertion? Or is this another "saccharin causes cancer so long as you are a rat and take in a million times a normal amount" type of scares?

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Coat

People have been noticing this kind of thing for quite some time. In the late 90s there were studies performed at Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen (Skakkabaek and Andersson - I'm too lazy to look up the references) showing that sperm levels in healthy males had fallen over the last 50 years.

Always wear a lab coat when handling clinical samples.

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Coat

Yes, indeed, it seems to be a rather global problem.

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Coat

Hello and...

Welcome to the Spanish sperm sampling clinic.

Please "don't" come again soon..

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Re: Hello and...

Hi hi_robb,

I think your spelling is incorrect,the right one has only three letters.

This deficiency affair would at one time worry me , but now at age 82 it doesn,t.

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Facepalm

Re: Hello and...

......yes, that's a banana in that pocket. I knew it!

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Blame here, blame there...

Whichever mechanism causes such changes, they all can be put under the same label: The planet is pretty fed up with us.

Makes one stop and think, is what I say.

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WTF?

Re: Blame here, blame there...

The planet is pretty fed up with us."

That presupposes that the planet is capable of thinking and that anyone who thinks the planet capable of thinking can also think. Something to think about?

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Overdrawn at the sperm-bank.

I wonder how long it will be before the Spanish are asking for a bailout from the European Central Sperm-Bank or the International Ejaculatory Fund to cover their 'deficit'?

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Go

I'll Line Up

..to "chip" in my bit in inseminating all those lovely spanish girls.

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This post has been deleted by its author

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Pint

Re: Good news

Fewer unwanted pregnancies!

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Anonymous Coward

Concentration, or total count?

In the article it is stated: "a concentration lower than 40 million per millilitre makes conception more difficult". But is this assuming a fixed volume of ejaculate?

Which makes conception more difficult, a wad of 3 ml containing 150 million tadpoles, or a wad of 10 ml containing 300 million?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Concentration, or total count?

Is wanking a form-factor?

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Anonymous Coward

Ay carumba

Not tonight, Conception

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Joke

Maybe sperm count is inversely proportional to footballing ability, in which case Scotland will suffer from overcrowding in future.

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min

i can't believe no opportunist politico has blamed global warming yet.

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Really? Plasticised water bottles + no skepticism?

Folks,

In all seriousness, I have to say, I'm really disappointed in the comments here so far. If this article had been on global warming, I'd be wading through a sea of skeptical voices. Most other studies that get coverage here provoke at least some questioning. Here, we're at 30+ comments and (with apologies if this gives anyone indigestion), everyone seems to have swallowed this whole. One of the reasons I really appreciate the readers here is your intelligence, skepticism and sense of humor - but here's the thing, the BBC itself put out an excellent article just recently on the whole "sperm counts are dropping OMG OMG OMG" headline we see every few months under the subheading "Medical Myths" - see here:

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20120515-are-sperm-counts-dropping

Skepticism should be applied liberally regardless of the subject matter. If you've not read "It's not News, it's FARK", it's worth a look.

Also, if you're going to make technical comments, please make sure you know what you're talking about (I'm looking at you, "an it guy"). To whit, this:

"Unfortunately tap water has lots of oestrogen because of all the women on the pill which adds oestrogen."

...is false. See here:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101208125813.htm

Birth control pills account for less than 1% of the estrogenic activity of tap water (though I do agree that it's not easy to get everything out via filtration).

"Don't think that bottled water helps. Being on the shelf for a while before you get it, the plasticisers (phthalates and others) which make plastic easy to shape/bend tend to leach into the bottled water."

Wrong again. There are no plasticisers in plastic water bottles. Disposable plastic water bottles are made out of poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET). Yes, the word "phthalate" appears in them both. No, they are not the same thing. Besides the fact that some companies just sell you tap water in a bottle, what you actually have to worry about leaching from PET bottles is antimony, if you let them get really hot a while - see here:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17707454

Still, the conditions under which this happens are fairly extreme. Now, if you mean reusable plastic water bottles, ten years ago they would've been BPA polycarbonate, but since bisphenol A (BPA) has been implicated for its estrogenicity, polycarbonate has been replaced by a BPA-free copolyester. You can also find polyethylene used in some cases, and probably a few other materials in niche markets besides. If you though you were clever by going for a metal bottle, what you almost certainly got was a bottle whose interior is coated with a BPA-based epoxy that *does* leach BPA into water (in small quantities). If you're really worried about BPA and phthalates in your diet, stop eating so much packaged food and cook something with fresh ingredients:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21450549

That said, if you find yourself on a steady diet of Ramen, Hot Pockets and Mountain Dew (yes, I *did* have some CS training, thank you very much), guess what, BPA and phthalates may not be the greatest hazards you face. Case in point, we now sit on our *sses far more these days than we used to, and between that and the "Breakfast of Champions" described above, we're getting a lot fatter as a result. Studies have linked obesity and lack of physical activity (as well as overly strenuous workouts) to lower sperm counts. Be skeptical of those studies too, but be aware of their existence.

Finally, if you need an IT angle, consider the rise of internet pr0n (I know, "we have, we have"). Perhaps the poor wankers recruited for more recent studies in countries with more "freedom" (wink wink nudge nudge) were unable to wank as productively as a consequence. It is for this reason that we must ban all internet pr0n - think of the children(!!) that we're not having as a result.

PS - Actually, I think I've just made a case for distributing more internet pr0n to countries with too many people and not enough freedom. Apologies, that was an accident.

Your friendly neighborhood boffin,

Arc_Light

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Pint

Re: Really? Plasticised water bottles + no skepticism?

Actually, I think I've just made a case for distributing more internet pr0n to countries with too many people and not enough freedom. Apologies, that was an accident."

No need to apologise. In what name should I make out the research grant cheque? This is obviously a vital area of study which has been sadly neglected. Now, if we can just angle in a global warming/climate change vector, eg high friction levels causing heat production, you could be set for life.

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Anonymous Coward

Duh...did anybody check..

.. if the new sample set were wanking before the test?

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Anonymous Coward

Our water is being made toxic by estrogen in our diets. It's all part of the feminist agenda to nullify the male race.

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Mushroom

It's not the Feminists

It's the commies, polluting our precious bodily fluids.

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Angel

Everyone with any balls...

were killed in WWII, and the decendents are now reflecting this sad reality. I remember reading about this same thing happening in Russia too! ;)

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Unreliable results

We have all had bad jobs, but my first was counting/assessing sperm . One thing I learnt is results are highly variable. You can give a count one day, and the results the next test could vary by 50%.

Length of time between when they last had sex, how long its in the incubator, if they are mixed properly before testing (the tend to glop together)

I would therefore take results with a pinch of salt (although it might be salty enough)

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