Scientists are suggesting that nanoparticles and electric coils could be used as a means of effective contraception for me, after a successful study in mice.
The study involved increasing the temperature of the mice’s testicles in order to render them infertile.
Sweaty balls: An effective new form of contraception?
The new research was discussed in a recent Motherboard article by reporter Samantha Cole.
Cole notes that the effects of heat on sperm quality are already well known to scientists, including in the unfortunate case of men who render themselves infertile by sitting with laptops in their laps for too long.
“Hot laptops may affect sperm quality if you’re sitting with one in your lap for hours at a time, and male birth control options are limited mainly to vasectomies and condoms. What if warmed-up nuts has been the answer to male contraception all along?”
This new research, however, uses rather more sophisticated methods that an hot laptop to induce infertility.
Researchers at the Institute of Reproductive Medicine at Nantong University in China injected the testicles of mice with nanoparticles made of iron oxide, and then wrapped the animals’ testicles with electric coils. By inducing a magnetic field, they were able to reduce fertility in a manner that was both temporary and reversible.
This research built on a previous study from 2013 that involved using a different kind of nanomaterial made of gold and heating it using infrared radiation. That study was explicitly framed as one of potential population reduction in stray animals.
This previous study raised issues of tissue damage and long-term toxicity, though, so the researchers wanted to address these with a new method. It hardly needs to be said that neither of these outcomes would be acceptable to humans.
In the new experiment, the researchers chose to use magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles, which can eventually be eliminated from the body. These nanoparticles were injected into the mice’s veins and then a magnet was placed next to their testicles for four hours to attract the particles there.
Polyester: “a 100% effective contraceptive”, according to SHOCKING research
Did you know that polyester has been tied to miscarriages, sterility and impotence? No? Well, one group of researchers called polyester a “100% effective contraceptive” in men.
While some people naturally shrink away from man-made fibers, few are likely to do so because of the potential damage they could be doing to your chances of having children.
Some forms of polyester are natural and biodegradable, but here we’re talking about synthetic polyesters, which are not biodegradable. It’s already well known that polyester can be bad for your skin, for instance.
Skin exposure to polyester has been linked to rashes, itching, eczema, dermatitis and blistering, as well as making pre-existing skin conditions worse for those who already have sensitive skin.
You may also know that polyester has been fingered as a cause of widespread insomnia. Polyester sheets don’t let your body regulate its temperature properly, leading to a bad night’s sleep and all the other negative effects that entails.
After between one and four days of injections and magnets, the researchers wrapped an electric coil around the testicles, which warmed up the iron oxide now stored in the balls with the magnetic field generated from the current, to temperatures between 98 and 113 degrees fahrenheit.
The mice’s sperm counts decreased after several days of treatment.
Those whose testicles were warmed at lower temperatures recovered their fertility after 60 days.
“The number of pups born to pregnant mice was almost the same and no visible morphological defects were observed in all the pups,” the researchers wrote.
When exposed to higher temperatures, though, the testicles began to atrophy. At higher nanoparticle concentrations and higher temperatures, the testicles also showed “distinct black discolorations” and were “severely damaged at 7 days.”
If the mice were unfortunate enough to have their testicles heated above 113 degrees, testicular function was irreparably damaged.
We’re probably still some way from this technology being used for humans. That’s assuming it will ever be possible to convince human men – at least voluntarily – to allow their testicles to be injected with nanoparticles and then heated with a magnetic coil.
Much simpler methods already exist. We’ve already noted that wearing polyester underwear is a 100% effective form of contraception for men. The man-made fiber generates a static charge across the testicles which, over time, will halt sperm production altogether.
Even if human don’t end up using this new technology for contraception, it’s likely to be attractive to the animal markets, especially for zoos and husbandry.
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