27 Jul

Sperm Counts Continue to Decline in Western Nations: Review

News Picture: Sperm Counts Continue to Decline in Western Nations: ReviewBy Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter

Latest Mens Health News

TUESDAY, July 25, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Sperm counts in Western countries have decreased by half in recent years, suggesting a continuing and significant decline in male reproductive health, a new evidence review reports.

Sperm concentration decreased an average 52 percent between 1973 and 2011, while total sperm count declined by 59 percent during that period, researchers concluded after combining data from 185 studies. The research involved nearly 43,000 men in all.

“We found that sperm counts and concentrations have declined significantly and are continuing to decline in men from Western countries,” said senior researcher Shanna Swan.

“We don’t have a lot of data in men from non-Western countries, so we can’t draw conclusions about that part of the world,” added Swan, a professor of environmental medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City.

But in Europe, North America, New Zealand and Australia, “the declines are strong, significant and continuing,” she said.

The new findings come on the 25th anniversary of the first study to observe a decline in sperm counts, Swan said. The original study, published in 1992, found that sperm counts had declined 50 percent over 50 years.

“The story has not changed over the past 25 years. Whatever is going on, it’s not transient and it’s not disappearing,” Swan said. “When we look at the data for the last five or 10 years, we don’t see a leveling off of this decline.”

The continued decline raises concerns about male fertility, and also male health in general, Swan said.

“We are worried about these low sperm counts not only because people have trouble conceiving, but also because men with low sperm counts go on to have higher all-cause mortality,” Swan said. Studies have shown “they die younger and they have more disease, particularly cardiovascular disease and cancer,” she added.

“It really makes the implications of our study much greater,” she continued. “We’re not talking about making babies. We’re also talking about survival and health.”

No one knows why sperm counts continue to decline, but researchers believe it’s likely due to factors associated with a modern lifestyle, Swan said. These factors include exposure to man-made chemicals, increased levels of stress, widespread obesity, poor nutrition, lack of physical exercise and smoking.

These factors can temporarily reduce a man’s fertility, but researchers think the real damage is being done during exposures occurring in the womb, Swan said.

“Research has found that when a mother smokes, her son has a lower sperm count, regardless of his own smoking,” Swan said. “That says what a man is exposed to when he’s in utero is important. The mother’s exposure will cause a change that stays with the man his entire life.”

Experts are divided on whether the decline in sperm counts will have any impact on male fertility in the near future.

Modern men still have 66.4 million sperm per milliliter of semen, compared with 92.8 million per milliliter from men nearly four decades ago, said Dr. Avner Hershlag, chief of Northwell Health Fertility in Manhasset, N.Y.

“It’s not all in the numbers,” Hershlag said. “It is estimated about 20 percent of men who have achieved a pregnancy with their partners without treatment have abnormal sperm. There is no proof that parallel to the decline in numbers there has been a decline in the true ability of males to impregnate their partners.”

Furthermore, he said, “every person you know is the product of one egg and one sperm, so why do we need millions of sperm knocking on the wall of a single egg?”

However, if the trend continues, it could have an impact, said Dr. Peter Schlegel, a professor of reproductive medicine and urologist-in-chief for New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City.

“It’s possible we are seeing a progressive decline in sperm numbers over time, and it could get to the point where it is a significant problem driving many more couples to require fertility treatment,” Schlegel said.

One potential problem could be that decreased sperm counts reflect an overall decline in sperm quality, Hershlag said.

“If you have a low number of sperm, then these sperm when facing the egg may have a lower capacity to fertilize the egg and lead to the creation of an embryo and, subsequently, a human being,” Hershlag said. “But that’s not been proven scientifically.”

The study appears in the July 25 issue of the journal Human Reproduction Update.

MedicalNews
Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

SOURCES: Shanna Swan, Ph.D., professor, environmental medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York City; Avner Hershlag, M.D., chief, Northwell Health Fertility, Manhasset, N.Y.; Peter Schlegel, M.D., professor, reproductive medicine, and urologist-in-chief, New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, New York City; Human Reproduction Update, July 25, 2017

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Source: MediciNet

27 Jul

Buying Time-Saving Services Makes People Happier: Study

Latest Mental Health News

Spending money on time-saving services can help reduce what researcher call “time famine” and boost your happiness, according to a new study.

It included nearly 6,300 adults in the United States, Canada, Denmark and the Netherlands who were asked whether, and how much, they spend on time-saving services such as paying others to clean their homes or run errands, and how satisfied they are with their lives, CNN reported.

No matter the income level, purchasing time-saving services was associated with greater life satisfaction. The study also found that people who bought such services had fewer negative effects from feeling stressed for time.

The study was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“I think our research actually flies in the face of the preconception that time-saving services are just for rich people,” co-author Elizabeth Dunn, professor of psychology, University of British Columbia, Canada, told CNN.

“Sometimes when people imagine time-saving services maybe what they’re picturing is a house keeper, butler, and a gardener, but what we’re talking about is just spending $40 makes a difference,” she explained.

The results show that “the role of time-saving purchases is independent from the role of income in predicting happiness,” study lead author Ashley Whillans, professor, Harvard Business School, told CNN.

“Across studies we find that people who spend money in ways that allow them to have more free time report greater life satisfaction,” she said. “The way that people are spending money, and in this case, spending money to buy themselves free time, has a similar positive association with happiness as how much money people make.”

MedicalNews
Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Source: MediciNet

27 Jul

Bacteria May Explain Why Uncircumcised Face Higher HIV Risk

News Picture: Bacteria May Explain Why Uncircumcised Face Higher HIV RiskBy Alan Mozes
HealthDay Reporter

Latest HIV News

TUESDAY, July 25, 2017 (HealthDay News) — For the first time, bacteria that live under the foreskin of uncircumcised straight men have been linked to a rise in the risk for contracting HIV, new research indicates.

Researchers found four specific types of bacteria tied to a higher risk of the AIDS-causing virus. These bacteria are part of the microbiome — a collection of microorganisms found in a particular area — of the area on the penis located under the foreskin.

The study of African men revealed that whenever these bacteria increase in quantity by a factor of 10, HIV risk appears to rise by as much as 63 percent.

“We found that heterosexual men who carried certain kinds of bacteria on their penises were more likely to get infected by HIV,” explained study lead author Dr. Cindy Liu. She’s an assistant professor of environmental and occupational health with George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health in Washington, D.C.

“These bacteria,” she added, “belong to a group called anaerobes, because they thrive in areas with low oxygen, such as under the foreskin of uncircumcised men.

Liu called the findings “exciting,” because they may lead to “new ways to lower the risk for HIV infection, specifically by reducing these kinds of bacteria. The next step is to figure out how to do that, but we’re not there yet.”

According to the World Health Organization, male circumcision can help cut back on the risk for acquiring HIV in heterosexual men. The WHO recommends undergoing circumcision for HIV prevention only for those who live in areas where HIV rates are high, where new HIV infections frequently occur among heterosexual partners, and where male circumcision is otherwise relatively uncommon.

To explore how foreskin bacteria might boost HIV vulnerability, investigators spent two years tracking more than 180 men who lived in the town of Rakai in Uganda.

During that time, 46 men became infected with HIV.

And after analyzing bacterial samples swabbed from under the foreskin of all the participants, the study team concluded that those who had higher quantities of four anaerobic bacteria also had a significantly higher risk for contracting HIV.

As to why, the team theorized that it could have something to do with an increase in the production of certain biochemicals (called cytokines) triggered by the presence of these particular bacteria.

In turn, these biochemicals appear to draw in immune cells. As infection fighters, immune cells are typically considered the “good guys.” But they are also well known as a point of high vulnerability entry for HIV. So in this instance, their rise in number — initially sparked by bacterial growth — may serve to draw HIV in, thereby driving up infection risk, the researchers said.

Liu stressed that the new study focused solely on heterosexual men living in areas with high HIV infection rates.

“It’s thought that most gay men are infected while having unprotected receptive anal sex,” she said, “so these findings are probably not relevant to the gay community in the United States.”

As for what can be done to reduce risk among uncircumcised straight men, Liu acknowledged that “not every man wants to be circumcised.

“[But] at this time,” she said, “there is unfortunately not a known effective way to change the penile microbiome to reduce the risk of HIV.”

Dr. Michael Horberg is director of HIV/AIDS with Kaiser Permanente, and immediate past chair of the HIV Medicine Association in Washington, D.C. He was not involved with the study, but said the finding “adds to the knowledge that uncircumcised men are at significantly greater risk of HIV infection than circumcised men.

“A clear implication of this study,” Horberg added, “is [that] circumcision is an important HIV prevention mechanism in areas of high HIV prevalence.”

It’s not clear yet what steps uncircumcised men can take to limit their risk in addition to condom use, Horberg said.

“However, among uncircumcised HIV-negative men, good penile hygiene should theoretically help,” he said, “including cleansing underneath the foreskin and complete air drying of the area prior to pulling the foreskin back.”

Liu and her colleagues reportedtheir findings in the July 25 issue of mBio.

MedicalNews
Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

SOURCES: Cindy M. Liu, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., assistant professor, environmental and occupational health, George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health, Washington, D.C.; Michael A. Horberg, M.D., director, HIV/AIDS, Kaiser Permanente, and immediate past chair, HIV Medicine Association, Washington D.C.; July 25, 2017, mBio

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Source: MediciNet

27 Jul

Sperm Counts Continue to Decline in Western Nations: Review

News Picture: Sperm Counts Continue to Decline in Western Nations: ReviewBy Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter

Latest Mens Health News

TUESDAY, July 25, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Sperm counts in Western countries have decreased by half in recent years, suggesting a continuing and significant decline in male reproductive health, a new evidence review reports.

Sperm concentration decreased an average 52 percent between 1973 and 2011, while total sperm count declined by 59 percent during that period, researchers concluded after combining data from 185 studies. The research involved nearly 43,000 men in all.

“We found that sperm counts and concentrations have declined significantly and are continuing to decline in men from Western countries,” said senior researcher Shanna Swan.

“We don’t have a lot of data in men from non-Western countries, so we can’t draw conclusions about that part of the world,” added Swan, a professor of environmental medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City.

But in Europe, North America, New Zealand and Australia, “the declines are strong, significant and continuing,” she said.

The new findings come on the 25th anniversary of the first study to observe a decline in sperm counts, Swan said. The original study, published in 1992, found that sperm counts had declined 50 percent over 50 years.

“The story has not changed over the past 25 years. Whatever is going on, it’s not transient and it’s not disappearing,” Swan said. “When we look at the data for the last five or 10 years, we don’t see a leveling off of this decline.”

The continued decline raises concerns about male fertility, and also male health in general, Swan said.

“We are worried about these low sperm counts not only because people have trouble conceiving, but also because men with low sperm counts go on to have higher all-cause mortality,” Swan said. Studies have shown “they die younger and they have more disease, particularly cardiovascular disease and cancer,” she added.

“It really makes the implications of our study much greater,” she continued. “We’re not talking about making babies. We’re also talking about survival and health.”

No one knows why sperm counts continue to decline, but researchers believe it’s likely due to factors associated with a modern lifestyle, Swan said. These factors include exposure to man-made chemicals, increased levels of stress, widespread obesity, poor nutrition, lack of physical exercise and smoking.

These factors can temporarily reduce a man’s fertility, but researchers think the real damage is being done during exposures occurring in the womb, Swan said.

“Research has found that when a mother smokes, her son has a lower sperm count, regardless of his own smoking,” Swan said. “That says what a man is exposed to when he’s in utero is important. The mother’s exposure will cause a change that stays with the man his entire life.”

Experts are divided on whether the decline in sperm counts will have any impact on male fertility in the near future.

Modern men still have 66.4 million sperm per milliliter of semen, compared with 92.8 million per milliliter from men nearly four decades ago, said Dr. Avner Hershlag, chief of Northwell Health Fertility in Manhasset, N.Y.

“It’s not all in the numbers,” Hershlag said. “It is estimated about 20 percent of men who have achieved a pregnancy with their partners without treatment have abnormal sperm. There is no proof that parallel to the decline in numbers there has been a decline in the true ability of males to impregnate their partners.”

Furthermore, he said, “every person you know is the product of one egg and one sperm, so why do we need millions of sperm knocking on the wall of a single egg?”

However, if the trend continues, it could have an impact, said Dr. Peter Schlegel, a professor of reproductive medicine and urologist-in-chief for New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City.

“It’s possible we are seeing a progressive decline in sperm numbers over time, and it could get to the point where it is a significant problem driving many more couples to require fertility treatment,” Schlegel said.

One potential problem could be that decreased sperm counts reflect an overall decline in sperm quality, Hershlag said.

“If you have a low number of sperm, then these sperm when facing the egg may have a lower capacity to fertilize the egg and lead to the creation of an embryo and, subsequently, a human being,” Hershlag said. “But that’s not been proven scientifically.”

The study appears in the July 25 issue of the journal Human Reproduction Update.

MedicalNews
Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

SOURCES: Shanna Swan, Ph.D., professor, environmental medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York City; Avner Hershlag, M.D., chief, Northwell Health Fertility, Manhasset, N.Y.; Peter Schlegel, M.D., professor, reproductive medicine, and urologist-in-chief, New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, New York City; Human Reproduction Update, July 25, 2017

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Source: MediciNet

27 Jul

Buying Time-Saving Services Makes People Happier: Study

Latest Mental Health News

Spending money on time-saving services can help reduce what researcher call “time famine” and boost your happiness, according to a new study.

It included nearly 6,300 adults in the United States, Canada, Denmark and the Netherlands who were asked whether, and how much, they spend on time-saving services such as paying others to clean their homes or run errands, and how satisfied they are with their lives, CNN reported.

No matter the income level, purchasing time-saving services was associated with greater life satisfaction. The study also found that people who bought such services had fewer negative effects from feeling stressed for time.

The study was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“I think our research actually flies in the face of the preconception that time-saving services are just for rich people,” co-author Elizabeth Dunn, professor of psychology, University of British Columbia, Canada, told CNN.

“Sometimes when people imagine time-saving services maybe what they’re picturing is a house keeper, butler, and a gardener, but what we’re talking about is just spending $40 makes a difference,” she explained.

The results show that “the role of time-saving purchases is independent from the role of income in predicting happiness,” study lead author Ashley Whillans, professor, Harvard Business School, told CNN.

“Across studies we find that people who spend money in ways that allow them to have more free time report greater life satisfaction,” she said. “The way that people are spending money, and in this case, spending money to buy themselves free time, has a similar positive association with happiness as how much money people make.”

MedicalNews
Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)


Source: MediciNet

27 Jul

Bacteria May Explain Why Uncircumcised Face Higher HIV Risk

News Picture: Bacteria May Explain Why Uncircumcised Face Higher HIV RiskBy Alan Mozes
HealthDay Reporter

Latest HIV News

TUESDAY, July 25, 2017 (HealthDay News) — For the first time, bacteria that live under the foreskin of uncircumcised straight men have been linked to a rise in the risk for contracting HIV, new research indicates.

Researchers found four specific types of bacteria tied to a higher risk of the AIDS-causing virus. These bacteria are part of the microbiome — a collection of microorganisms found in a particular area — of the area on the penis located under the foreskin.

The study of African men revealed that whenever these bacteria increase in quantity by a factor of 10, HIV risk appears to rise by as much as 63 percent.

“We found that heterosexual men who carried certain kinds of bacteria on their penises were more likely to get infected by HIV,” explained study lead author Dr. Cindy Liu. She’s an assistant professor of environmental and occupational health with George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health in Washington, D.C.

“These bacteria,” she added, “belong to a group called anaerobes, because they thrive in areas with low oxygen, such as under the foreskin of uncircumcised men.

Liu called the findings “exciting,” because they may lead to “new ways to lower the risk for HIV infection, specifically by reducing these kinds of bacteria. The next step is to figure out how to do that, but we’re not there yet.”

According to the World Health Organization, male circumcision can help cut back on the risk for acquiring HIV in heterosexual men. The WHO recommends undergoing circumcision for HIV prevention only for those who live in areas where HIV rates are high, where new HIV infections frequently occur among heterosexual partners, and where male circumcision is otherwise relatively uncommon.

To explore how foreskin bacteria might boost HIV vulnerability, investigators spent two years tracking more than 180 men who lived in the town of Rakai in Uganda.

During that time, 46 men became infected with HIV.

And after analyzing bacterial samples swabbed from under the foreskin of all the participants, the study team concluded that those who had higher quantities of four anaerobic bacteria also had a significantly higher risk for contracting HIV.

As to why, the team theorized that it could have something to do with an increase in the production of certain biochemicals (called cytokines) triggered by the presence of these particular bacteria.

In turn, these biochemicals appear to draw in immune cells. As infection fighters, immune cells are typically considered the “good guys.” But they are also well known as a point of high vulnerability entry for HIV. So in this instance, their rise in number — initially sparked by bacterial growth — may serve to draw HIV in, thereby driving up infection risk, the researchers said.

Liu stressed that the new study focused solely on heterosexual men living in areas with high HIV infection rates.

“It’s thought that most gay men are infected while having unprotected receptive anal sex,” she said, “so these findings are probably not relevant to the gay community in the United States.”

As for what can be done to reduce risk among uncircumcised straight men, Liu acknowledged that “not every man wants to be circumcised.

“[But] at this time,” she said, “there is unfortunately not a known effective way to change the penile microbiome to reduce the risk of HIV.”

Dr. Michael Horberg is director of HIV/AIDS with Kaiser Permanente, and immediate past chair of the HIV Medicine Association in Washington, D.C. He was not involved with the study, but said the finding “adds to the knowledge that uncircumcised men are at significantly greater risk of HIV infection than circumcised men.

“A clear implication of this study,” Horberg added, “is [that] circumcision is an important HIV prevention mechanism in areas of high HIV prevalence.”

It’s not clear yet what steps uncircumcised men can take to limit their risk in addition to condom use, Horberg said.

“However, among uncircumcised HIV-negative men, good penile hygiene should theoretically help,” he said, “including cleansing underneath the foreskin and complete air drying of the area prior to pulling the foreskin back.”

Liu and her colleagues reportedtheir findings in the July 25 issue of mBio.

MedicalNews
Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

SOURCES: Cindy M. Liu, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., assistant professor, environmental and occupational health, George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health, Washington, D.C.; Michael A. Horberg, M.D., director, HIV/AIDS, Kaiser Permanente, and immediate past chair, HIV Medicine Association, Washington D.C.; July 25, 2017, mBio

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Source: MediciNet

27 Jul

Sperm Counts Continue to Decline in Western Nations: Review

News Picture: Sperm Counts Continue to Decline in Western Nations: ReviewBy Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter

Latest Mens Health News

TUESDAY, July 25, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Sperm counts in Western countries have decreased by half in recent years, suggesting a continuing and significant decline in male reproductive health, a new evidence review reports.

Sperm concentration decreased an average 52 percent between 1973 and 2011, while total sperm count declined by 59 percent during that period, researchers concluded after combining data from 185 studies. The research involved nearly 43,000 men in all.

“We found that sperm counts and concentrations have declined significantly and are continuing to decline in men from Western countries,” said senior researcher Shanna Swan.

“We don’t have a lot of data in men from non-Western countries, so we can’t draw conclusions about that part of the world,” added Swan, a professor of environmental medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City.

But in Europe, North America, New Zealand and Australia, “the declines are strong, significant and continuing,” she said.

The new findings come on the 25th anniversary of the first study to observe a decline in sperm counts, Swan said. The original study, published in 1992, found that sperm counts had declined 50 percent over 50 years.

“The story has not changed over the past 25 years. Whatever is going on, it’s not transient and it’s not disappearing,” Swan said. “When we look at the data for the last five or 10 years, we don’t see a leveling off of this decline.”

The continued decline raises concerns about male fertility, and also male health in general, Swan said.

“We are worried about these low sperm counts not only because people have trouble conceiving, but also because men with low sperm counts go on to have higher all-cause mortality,” Swan said. Studies have shown “they die younger and they have more disease, particularly cardiovascular disease and cancer,” she added.

“It really makes the implications of our study much greater,” she continued. “We’re not talking about making babies. We’re also talking about survival and health.”

No one knows why sperm counts continue to decline, but researchers believe it’s likely due to factors associated with a modern lifestyle, Swan said. These factors include exposure to man-made chemicals, increased levels of stress, widespread obesity, poor nutrition, lack of physical exercise and smoking.

These factors can temporarily reduce a man’s fertility, but researchers think the real damage is being done during exposures occurring in the womb, Swan said.

“Research has found that when a mother smokes, her son has a lower sperm count, regardless of his own smoking,” Swan said. “That says what a man is exposed to when he’s in utero is important. The mother’s exposure will cause a change that stays with the man his entire life.”

Experts are divided on whether the decline in sperm counts will have any impact on male fertility in the near future.

Modern men still have 66.4 million sperm per milliliter of semen, compared with 92.8 million per milliliter from men nearly four decades ago, said Dr. Avner Hershlag, chief of Northwell Health Fertility in Manhasset, N.Y.

“It’s not all in the numbers,” Hershlag said. “It is estimated about 20 percent of men who have achieved a pregnancy with their partners without treatment have abnormal sperm. There is no proof that parallel to the decline in numbers there has been a decline in the true ability of males to impregnate their partners.”

Furthermore, he said, “every person you know is the product of one egg and one sperm, so why do we need millions of sperm knocking on the wall of a single egg?”

However, if the trend continues, it could have an impact, said Dr. Peter Schlegel, a professor of reproductive medicine and urologist-in-chief for New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City.

“It’s possible we are seeing a progressive decline in sperm numbers over time, and it could get to the point where it is a significant problem driving many more couples to require fertility treatment,” Schlegel said.

One potential problem could be that decreased sperm counts reflect an overall decline in sperm quality, Hershlag said.

“If you have a low number of sperm, then these sperm when facing the egg may have a lower capacity to fertilize the egg and lead to the creation of an embryo and, subsequently, a human being,” Hershlag said. “But that’s not been proven scientifically.”

The study appears in the July 25 issue of the journal Human Reproduction Update.

MedicalNews
Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

SOURCES: Shanna Swan, Ph.D., professor, environmental medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York City; Avner Hershlag, M.D., chief, Northwell Health Fertility, Manhasset, N.Y.; Peter Schlegel, M.D., professor, reproductive medicine, and urologist-in-chief, New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, New York City; Human Reproduction Update, July 25, 2017

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Source: MediciNet

27 Jul

Buying Time-Saving Services Makes People Happier: Study

Latest Mental Health News

Spending money on time-saving services can help reduce what researcher call “time famine” and boost your happiness, according to a new study.

It included nearly 6,300 adults in the United States, Canada, Denmark and the Netherlands who were asked whether, and how much, they spend on time-saving services such as paying others to clean their homes or run errands, and how satisfied they are with their lives, CNN reported.

No matter the income level, purchasing time-saving services was associated with greater life satisfaction. The study also found that people who bought such services had fewer negative effects from feeling stressed for time.

The study was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“I think our research actually flies in the face of the preconception that time-saving services are just for rich people,” co-author Elizabeth Dunn, professor of psychology, University of British Columbia, Canada, told CNN.

“Sometimes when people imagine time-saving services maybe what they’re picturing is a house keeper, butler, and a gardener, but what we’re talking about is just spending $40 makes a difference,” she explained.

The results show that “the role of time-saving purchases is independent from the role of income in predicting happiness,” study lead author Ashley Whillans, professor, Harvard Business School, told CNN.

“Across studies we find that people who spend money in ways that allow them to have more free time report greater life satisfaction,” she said. “The way that people are spending money, and in this case, spending money to buy themselves free time, has a similar positive association with happiness as how much money people make.”

MedicalNews
Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)


Source: MediciNet

27 Jul

Bacteria May Explain Why Uncircumcised Face Higher HIV Risk

News Picture: Bacteria May Explain Why Uncircumcised Face Higher HIV RiskBy Alan Mozes
HealthDay Reporter

Latest HIV News

TUESDAY, July 25, 2017 (HealthDay News) — For the first time, bacteria that live under the foreskin of uncircumcised straight men have been linked to a rise in the risk for contracting HIV, new research indicates.

Researchers found four specific types of bacteria tied to a higher risk of the AIDS-causing virus. These bacteria are part of the microbiome — a collection of microorganisms found in a particular area — of the area on the penis located under the foreskin.

The study of African men revealed that whenever these bacteria increase in quantity by a factor of 10, HIV risk appears to rise by as much as 63 percent.

“We found that heterosexual men who carried certain kinds of bacteria on their penises were more likely to get infected by HIV,” explained study lead author Dr. Cindy Liu. She’s an assistant professor of environmental and occupational health with George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health in Washington, D.C.

“These bacteria,” she added, “belong to a group called anaerobes, because they thrive in areas with low oxygen, such as under the foreskin of uncircumcised men.

Liu called the findings “exciting,” because they may lead to “new ways to lower the risk for HIV infection, specifically by reducing these kinds of bacteria. The next step is to figure out how to do that, but we’re not there yet.”

According to the World Health Organization, male circumcision can help cut back on the risk for acquiring HIV in heterosexual men. The WHO recommends undergoing circumcision for HIV prevention only for those who live in areas where HIV rates are high, where new HIV infections frequently occur among heterosexual partners, and where male circumcision is otherwise relatively uncommon.

To explore how foreskin bacteria might boost HIV vulnerability, investigators spent two years tracking more than 180 men who lived in the town of Rakai in Uganda.

During that time, 46 men became infected with HIV.

And after analyzing bacterial samples swabbed from under the foreskin of all the participants, the study team concluded that those who had higher quantities of four anaerobic bacteria also had a significantly higher risk for contracting HIV.

As to why, the team theorized that it could have something to do with an increase in the production of certain biochemicals (called cytokines) triggered by the presence of these particular bacteria.

In turn, these biochemicals appear to draw in immune cells. As infection fighters, immune cells are typically considered the “good guys.” But they are also well known as a point of high vulnerability entry for HIV. So in this instance, their rise in number — initially sparked by bacterial growth — may serve to draw HIV in, thereby driving up infection risk, the researchers said.

Liu stressed that the new study focused solely on heterosexual men living in areas with high HIV infection rates.

“It’s thought that most gay men are infected while having unprotected receptive anal sex,” she said, “so these findings are probably not relevant to the gay community in the United States.”

As for what can be done to reduce risk among uncircumcised straight men, Liu acknowledged that “not every man wants to be circumcised.

“[But] at this time,” she said, “there is unfortunately not a known effective way to change the penile microbiome to reduce the risk of HIV.”

Dr. Michael Horberg is director of HIV/AIDS with Kaiser Permanente, and immediate past chair of the HIV Medicine Association in Washington, D.C. He was not involved with the study, but said the finding “adds to the knowledge that uncircumcised men are at significantly greater risk of HIV infection than circumcised men.

“A clear implication of this study,” Horberg added, “is [that] circumcision is an important HIV prevention mechanism in areas of high HIV prevalence.”

It’s not clear yet what steps uncircumcised men can take to limit their risk in addition to condom use, Horberg said.

“However, among uncircumcised HIV-negative men, good penile hygiene should theoretically help,” he said, “including cleansing underneath the foreskin and complete air drying of the area prior to pulling the foreskin back.”

Liu and her colleagues reportedtheir findings in the July 25 issue of mBio.

MedicalNews
Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

SOURCES: Cindy M. Liu, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., assistant professor, environmental and occupational health, George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health, Washington, D.C.; Michael A. Horberg, M.D., director, HIV/AIDS, Kaiser Permanente, and immediate past chair, HIV Medicine Association, Washington D.C.; July 25, 2017, mBio

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Source: MediciNet

27 Jul

Sperm Counts Continue to Decline in Western Nations: Review

News Picture: Sperm Counts Continue to Decline in Western Nations: ReviewBy Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter

Latest Mens Health News

TUESDAY, July 25, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Sperm counts in Western countries have decreased by half in recent years, suggesting a continuing and significant decline in male reproductive health, a new evidence review reports.

Sperm concentration decreased an average 52 percent between 1973 and 2011, while total sperm count declined by 59 percent during that period, researchers concluded after combining data from 185 studies. The research involved nearly 43,000 men in all.

“We found that sperm counts and concentrations have declined significantly and are continuing to decline in men from Western countries,” said senior researcher Shanna Swan.

“We don’t have a lot of data in men from non-Western countries, so we can’t draw conclusions about that part of the world,” added Swan, a professor of environmental medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City.

But in Europe, North America, New Zealand and Australia, “the declines are strong, significant and continuing,” she said.

The new findings come on the 25th anniversary of the first study to observe a decline in sperm counts, Swan said. The original study, published in 1992, found that sperm counts had declined 50 percent over 50 years.

“The story has not changed over the past 25 years. Whatever is going on, it’s not transient and it’s not disappearing,” Swan said. “When we look at the data for the last five or 10 years, we don’t see a leveling off of this decline.”

The continued decline raises concerns about male fertility, and also male health in general, Swan said.

“We are worried about these low sperm counts not only because people have trouble conceiving, but also because men with low sperm counts go on to have higher all-cause mortality,” Swan said. Studies have shown “they die younger and they have more disease, particularly cardiovascular disease and cancer,” she added.

“It really makes the implications of our study much greater,” she continued. “We’re not talking about making babies. We’re also talking about survival and health.”

No one knows why sperm counts continue to decline, but researchers believe it’s likely due to factors associated with a modern lifestyle, Swan said. These factors include exposure to man-made chemicals, increased levels of stress, widespread obesity, poor nutrition, lack of physical exercise and smoking.

These factors can temporarily reduce a man’s fertility, but researchers think the real damage is being done during exposures occurring in the womb, Swan said.

“Research has found that when a mother smokes, her son has a lower sperm count, regardless of his own smoking,” Swan said. “That says what a man is exposed to when he’s in utero is important. The mother’s exposure will cause a change that stays with the man his entire life.”

Experts are divided on whether the decline in sperm counts will have any impact on male fertility in the near future.

Modern men still have 66.4 million sperm per milliliter of semen, compared with 92.8 million per milliliter from men nearly four decades ago, said Dr. Avner Hershlag, chief of Northwell Health Fertility in Manhasset, N.Y.

“It’s not all in the numbers,” Hershlag said. “It is estimated about 20 percent of men who have achieved a pregnancy with their partners without treatment have abnormal sperm. There is no proof that parallel to the decline in numbers there has been a decline in the true ability of males to impregnate their partners.”

Furthermore, he said, “every person you know is the product of one egg and one sperm, so why do we need millions of sperm knocking on the wall of a single egg?”

However, if the trend continues, it could have an impact, said Dr. Peter Schlegel, a professor of reproductive medicine and urologist-in-chief for New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City.

“It’s possible we are seeing a progressive decline in sperm numbers over time, and it could get to the point where it is a significant problem driving many more couples to require fertility treatment,” Schlegel said.

One potential problem could be that decreased sperm counts reflect an overall decline in sperm quality, Hershlag said.

“If you have a low number of sperm, then these sperm when facing the egg may have a lower capacity to fertilize the egg and lead to the creation of an embryo and, subsequently, a human being,” Hershlag said. “But that’s not been proven scientifically.”

The study appears in the July 25 issue of the journal Human Reproduction Update.

MedicalNews
Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

SOURCES: Shanna Swan, Ph.D., professor, environmental medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York City; Avner Hershlag, M.D., chief, Northwell Health Fertility, Manhasset, N.Y.; Peter Schlegel, M.D., professor, reproductive medicine, and urologist-in-chief, New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, New York City; Human Reproduction Update, July 25, 2017

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Source: MediciNet