If you’re a male who uses a portable computer literally as a laptop computer, researchers indicate you may want to think about getting a desk instead. A new study by the State University of New York at Stony Brook finds that the high internal operating temperatures in laptop computers can equal excessive heat transferred to the scrotum and ultimately affect the quality and quantity of the computer user’s sperm.
“The increase in scrotal temperature is significant enough to cause changes in sperm parameters,” Dr. Yefim Sheynkin, an associate professor of urology at SUNY–Stony Brook told Reuters. “It is very difficult to predict how long the computer can be used safely. It may not be at all, if the testicular temperature goes up high within a very short period of time.”
Particularly at risk, says Sheynkin, are younger men, especially if they use a laptop computer several times a day over the course of time. “Long-term use may have a detrimental effect on their reproductive health,” he said.
To arrive at these conclusions, Sheynkin recruited 29 healthy volunteers between the ages of 21 and 35 to determine what kind of effect using a laptop computer had on scrotal temperature. The volunteers’ scrotal temperatures rose over two degrees centigrade when the laptop computers were merely placed on the volunteers’ laps. Once the laptop computers were turned on, the scrotal temperatures increased by 2.6 degrees C on the left side and 2.8 degrees C on the right side.
These results indicate that it’s not just a matter of a warm computer, but also the posture chosen while using a laptop computer that causes the temperature to rise, said Sheynkin. This also helps offer a scientific explanation for the laptop incident Ergonomics TodayTM reported in November 2002 (Got a Hunk of Burning Love? Could Be Coming From Your Laptop. Ergonomics TodayTM, November 27, 2002)when a scientist in London reported burns on his penis after using his computer situated on his lap for a few hours one evening.
In addition to excessive heat, laptop computers are also infamous for their poor ergonomics and the injury risk potentials associated with small keyboards, awkward positioning of the user in relationship to the attached screen and keyboard, and the laptop’s heavy carry-on load.
Sources: CNN.com; Ergonomics TodayTM