Exposure to magnetic fields and the risk of poor sperm quality

Division of Research, Kaiser Foundation Research Institute, Kaiser Permanente Northern California, 2000 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94612, United States.
Reproductive Toxicology (Impact Factor: 3.23). 10/2009; 29(1):86-92. DOI: 10.1016/j.reprotox.2009.09.004
Source: PubMed


We conducted a population-based case-control study among healthy sperm donors to study exposure to magnetic fields (MFs) and poor sperm quality. All participants wore a meter to capture daily MF exposure. After controlling for confounders, compared to those with lower MF exposure, those whose 90th percentile MF level > or = 1.6mG had a two-fold increased risk of abnormal sperm motility and morphology (odds ratio (OR): 2.0, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.0-3.9). Increasing duration of MF exposure above 1.6 mG further increased the risk (p=0.03 for trend test). Importantly, the association and dose-response relationship were strengthened when restricted to those whose measurement day reflected their typical day of the previous 3 months (a likely period of spermatogenesis). Age-adjusted Spearman Rank Order Correlations showed an inverse correlation between MF exposure and all semen parameters. Our study provides some evidence for the first time that MF exposure may have an adverse effect on sperm quality.

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    • "The idea that electric and magnetic fields can be used for therapeutic purposes has existed since long before they were understood or were controllable. Although the biological effects of low-frequency electromagnetic radiation have been studied for many years, there is still no consensus on whether these effects are physiologically significant (Macklis, 1993; Miller and Green, 2010; Binhi, 2012). "
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    ABSTRACT: Background: There is a trend towards the use of magnetic fields in medicine. Pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMFs) technology was based upon 20 years of fundamental studies on the electromechanical properties of bone and other connective tissues. More recently, these magnetic fields have been used to treat several health conditions. There remains continuing concern that exposure to electromagnetic devices may cause adverse effects. The aim of the present study was to investigate the cytological effects induced in rats exposed in a patented medical device that uses PEMFs combined with static magnetic fields (SMFs). Material and Methods: Thirty sexually mature 14-week-old male and female Sprague Dawley rats were distributed into three groups: (a) 5 males and 5 females (independently) exposed to PEMFs combined with SMFs, (b) animals treated with SMFs only, and (c) non-exposed animals. Acridine orange fluorescent-staining micronucleus test and male germ cells analysis were performed according to standardized techniques. Results: A lack of evidence for alterations on micronucleus frequency, on polychromatic erythrocytes percentage, and on sperm counts and morphological characteristics of male germ cells were found in mature rats exposed to PEMFs medical device compared to non-exposed animals. Conclusions: This study suggests that the applied magnetic field generated in a therapeutic device did not have any detectable cytotoxic or genotoxic effect in exposed rats. In view of these findings and the contradictory reports in the literature, it is necessary to carry out more research to help clarify the controversy concerning cytogenotoxic risk associated with therapeutic magnetic fields exposures.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2015 · African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines
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    • "Studies have shown that EMFs could impact pregnancy outcomes and childhood diseases including asthma1516171819, Higher EMF has also been associated with diabetes in humans, and overweight and high glucose level in animals2021. A recent study published in JAMA showed an EMF effect on glucose metabolism, which provides a direct biological plausibility for a possible EMF effect on the risk of obesity2223. "
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    ABSTRACT: We conducted a prospective study to examine whether in-utero exposure to magnetic fields (MFs) increases the risk of childhood obesity. Participating women carried a meter measuring MF levels during pregnancy and 733 of their children were followed up to 13 years to collect clinically recorded information on growth patterns with 33 weight measurements per child on average. Prenatal exposure to high MF level was associated with increased risk of being obese in offspring than those with lower MF level (odds ratio = 1.69, 95% confidence interval: 1.01-2.84). The association demonstrated a dose-response relationship and was stronger (more than 2.3 fold increased risk) among children who were followed up to the end of the study. The association existed only for persistent obesity, but not for transitory (unlikely) obesity. Maternal exposure to high MF during pregnancy may be a new and previously unknown factor contributing to the world-wide epidemic of childhood obesity/overweight.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2012 · Scientific Reports
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    • "The exposure to EMF was performed in three daily applications of 30 min. According to the International Non‐ionizing Radiation Committee (INIRC), the limits for magnetic field density for occupational exposure are 0.5 mT for the entire workday, 5 mT for exposure of 2 h or less and 25 mT for exposure to limbs (Sliney and Patterson, 2010). "
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    ABSTRACT: The population exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF) has been growing in recent decades. The generation, distribution and use of electric energy can generate low-frequency electromagnetic fields. The present study investigates the effects of EMF (60 Hz and 1 mT) on spermatogenesis of rats during different periods of maturation. Wistar rats were exposed to EMF from day 13 of gestation to postnatal day 21 or 90 in three daily applications of 30 min. Plasma testosterone concentration was not changed by EMF exposure; however, histopathological and histomorphometrical analyses of the testes showed testicular degeneration in a subset of animals exposed to EMF. The magnitude of the degenerative process varied between those individuals affected, indicating different individual sensitivity to EMF. The main alterations observed through transmission electron microscopy were highly electron-dense mitochondria with loss of their organization and cristae. Exposure to 60 Hz and 1 mT EMF can disturb spermatogenesis and may produce subfertility or infertility.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2012 · Journal of Applied Toxicology
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