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sadpatato-897

I need some help figuring out if this study is flawed

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I have read a study that has found that cell phones are assositated with increased immature sperm amoung men:

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Lifestyle factors that were positively associated with percentage of immature sperms (high DNA stainability index) included: obesity and cell phone use for more than 10 years (P=0.02 and P=0.04, respectively).

 

I am wondering if this study warrents action, should we change how we use phones? I can only indetify one flaw with this study, and that is that it's population was from a fertility clinic. This seems like a selection bias as they are studying people who are already infertile (The study tried to account for this by only allowing those with normal sperm concentration to participate, however sperm concentration only makes up one of many factors that go into measuring fertility, this leads me to believe that they haven't accounted for the bias very well). I don't know how much of a bias this is, as they did measure the fertility of the population over time, and found that as time went on immature sperm (something that impares fertility) rose amoungst cell phone users, but it still seems biased and flawed.

What do you all think, is this a concerning study? Or is it one which is flawed and inconclusive? Here is a link that goes into a bit more detial about the study in question: https://www.emf-portal.org/en/article/29287

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I only skimmed the abstract, but with all correlation studies (especially those connected to lifestyle) one has to be careful to identify what the cause are. The authors conclude that radiation is a cause, but the study does not provide that data.

Assuming that the data can be replicated (i.e. it is not a spurious correlation, which is common if you analyze enough categories), it is possible that long-term cell phone is associated with a lifestyle that leads to higher infertility. There are also other confounding factors that the authors may or may not have identified. However, despite these issues it does not mean that the reverse is necessarily true. I.e. that cell phone radiation has no impact on fertility. But rather that more specific studies are required to find a causal connection.

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4 hours ago, CharonY said:

I only skimmed the abstract, but with all correlation studies (especially those connected to lifestyle) one has to be careful to identify what the cause are. The authors conclude that radiation is a cause, but the study does not provide that data.

Assuming that the data can be replicated (i.e. it is not a spurious correlation, which is common if you analyze enough categories), it is possible that long-term cell phone is associated with a lifestyle that leads to higher infertility. There are also other confounding factors that the authors may or may not have identified. However, despite these issues it does not mean that the reverse is necessarily true. I.e. that cell phone radiation has no impact on fertility. But rather that more specific studies are required to find a causal connection.

Thank you! So you think that the study isn't that good?

They accounted for certian other causes of DNA damage:

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Age, past diseases, duration of infertility, time of sexual abstinence, stress, smoking, alcohol consumption, BMI, exersise, education, coffee.

But I guess many things could have cause the DNA damage that aren't listed but come hand in hand with cell phone use. I also think that the fact that all of the study population where experiencing some type of problem to lead them to use a fertility clinic isn't a good thing, and would proberly hinder the results and create a bias.

Edited by sadpatato-897

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A study done at a fertility clinic, which had 300 subjects, found that cell phone use harms male fertility. This is obviously very concerning, but is it flawed? Their exclusion criteria was:

“Subjects who had undergo surgery for hernia repair, medical diseases as D.M, U.T.I, thyroid disease, patients who were on antipsychotic or antihypertensive drugs, or taking alcohol, azoospermics & those with small sized testes were excluded from the study.”

That doesn’t seem like a very extensive criteria to account for the fact that patents where already infertile. Their questionnaire isn’t available, they say they looked into ‘general information’. The study was also done in Iraq, during the Iraq war, I don’t know if that affects the results or not, but I’d imagine people who live in a war zone are more prone to stress and anxiety, although I don’t know if they accounted for that. Fertility health awareness also doesn’t strike me as a priority for the Iraq government in 2011, so that may be another issue. Also, people who use phones will be exposed to more news about the war then those without phones. To me, it seems like a study that investigated if being Catholic leads to greater stress, by conducting the study in Belfast at the height of The Troubles, so of course they are going to have higher stress levels than the general population.

There is one thing that I’m struggling to debunk. The study divided cell phone users by where they store their phone, in their pocket (n=112), in a waist pouch (n=127), or in a shirt pocket (n=30). They found that the worst sperm quality was among men how kept their phones in their pockets, with the ‘best’ being those had kept their phone in a shirt pocket. So the closer the phone is to the testicles, the worse the fertility. This seems to be quite convincing. Is it proof that the study isn’t flawed?

They also divided subjects into use groups (4 hours of use a day, 3 hours, etc.) and only 30 people made up the non-user category, which doesn’t seem like a lot. Does this seem like a flawed study?

Edited by sadpatato-897

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You still use a mobile phone?? I survive perfectly fine with just a laptop.

When would you ever need a phone now? You can't use one in the car unless it is handsfree and I would assume that car manufacturers will catch on to the fact that having built in internet for calls, voice recognition, etc. is a good idea. At home you have WIFI and smart devices like Alexa to answer the phone for you.

Edited by fiveworlds

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You’re clearly the exception not the norm, 5worlds. Also, that does nothing to address the OP questions 

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It's a known fact that if you're constantly on your phone while on a date, you're not getting any sex.
Is that equivalent to infertility ?

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!

Moderator Note

Threads on same topic merged

 

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2 hours ago, sadpatato-897 said:

There is one thing that I’m struggling to debunk. The study divided cell phone users by where they store their phone, in their pocket (n=112), in a waist pouch (n=127), or in a shirt pocket (n=30). They found that the worst sperm quality was among men how kept their phones in their pockets, with the ‘best’ being those had kept their phone in a shirt pocket. So the closer the phone is to the testicles, the worse the fertility. This seems to be quite convincing. Is it proof that the study isn’t flawed?

No, it's not really proof of anything.
Tight trousers are associated with reduced fertility.
Stuffing a phone into your pocket would tighten them.

It's possible that it's something altogether different.
If shirts with pockets are more expensive and fertility is related to good foo0d (and thus, to wealth) the correlation may be nothing to do with phones.

 

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7 minutes ago, MigL said:

It's a known fact that if you're constantly on your phone while on a date, you're not getting any sex.
Is that equivalent to infertility ?

100% it’s a problem but the study found that keeping a phone close to the testicles leads to worse fertility then keeping it away from them, so it kinda seems like it’s more to do with the radiation/heat/whatever scientific mechanism as opposed to some trait associated with phone use that causes the infertility.

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1 hour ago, fiveworlds said:

I survive perfectly fine with just a laptop.

I presume that the thing that made you think this was relevant was that the problem with a laptop is that you can't carry it in your pocket.

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16 minutes ago, John Cuthber said:

No, it's not really proof of anything.
Tight trousers are associated with reduced fertility.
Stuffing a phone into your pocket would tighten them.

It's possible that it's something altogether different.
If shirts with pockets are more expensive and fertility is related to good foo0d (and thus, to wealth) the correlation may be nothing to do with phones.

 

Yeah, I guess that's true, but surely even if putting a phone into pants tighens them, causing poor fertility, surely the fact that the people who put their phones in their waist pouch where better off than phones users, and the fact that shirt pocket users where even better off, suggests that it's a real issue? Or am I wrong? (Thanks for your answer btw!)

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IF smartphones would cause DNA/RNA mutations, microbes and viruses (living in other organisms), placed under the smartphone, should have abnormally damaged DNA/RNA.

It is easy to verify scientific experiment.

Grow unicellular microorganisms. Divide into two parts. One will be control group. The second place under smartphone, or even surround by dozen of smartphones, with full LTE / 5G / WiFi turned on all the time during the experiment, under WiFi router, or even put inside of LTE/5G cell-tower, after the experiment, compare amount of damaged DNA/RNA with control group.

Repeat hundred times, with different species, with different environment conditions, with different duration of experiment. Release your findings.

Some millionaire with a scientific interest should offer a $1 million USD award for proving that DNA/RNA is abnormally more damaged by LTE/5G/WiFi (procedure like above)...

 

1 hour ago, John Cuthber said:

Tight trousers are associated with reduced fertility.

But why is that so? Answer: because of the increased temperature..

Tight pants decrease air flow, and increase temperature. Working electronic device is warm/hot, and also increase temperature.

Somebody made study and experiments, how hot bath influences men fertility among sauna enthusiasts?

Edited by Sensei

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22 hours ago, John Cuthber said:

No, it's not really proof of anything.
Tight trousers are associated with reduced fertility.
Stuffing a phone into your pocket would tighten them.

It's possible that it's something altogether different.
If shirts with pockets are more expensive and fertility is related to good foo0d (and thus, to wealth) the correlation may be nothing to do with phones.

 

So, would you say I shouldn’t avoid using a phone because of this study?

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22 hours ago, sadpatato-897 said:

100% it’s a problem but the study found that keeping a phone close to the testicles leads to worse fertility then keeping it away from them, so it kinda seems like it’s more to do with the radiation/heat/whatever scientific mechanism as opposed to some trait associated with phone use that causes the infertility.

If anything, it will be heat if you drain the battery a lot, amplified by being in a constricted spot next to ones testicles.  Shoving a freshly cooked baked potato in your trousers pocket  will have  the same effect.... only quicker!

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20 minutes ago, StringJunky said:

If anything, it will be heat if you drain the battery a lot, amplified by being in a constricted spot next to ones testicles.  Shoving a freshly cooked baked potato in your trousers pocket  will have  the same effect.... only quicker!

If you put a potato in your trousers, you may not need the phone. -- Groucho Marx, I think

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23 hours ago, Sensei said:

 

It is easy to verify scientific experiment.

Grow unicellular microorganisms. Divide into two parts. One will be control group. The second place under smartphone, or even surround by dozen of smartphones, with full LTE / 5G / WiFi turned on all the time during the experiment, under WiFi router, or even put inside of LTE/5G cell-tower, a

The experiment is so easy that it's done "by accident".

If there was an effect of the radio waves from 5G transmitters then there would be a change in the growth of the green algae that grows on exposed surfaces.
Any inhibition of growth would be pretty obvious because the algae would be exposed at close range and 24/7

 

The experiment has been done, and the answer is that we don't have algae clear patches round antennae.

 

So we know there isn't an effect on cells..

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A researcher has found that cell phones cause triple the risk of Brain Cancer, how worrying are his results?

A study done by Lennart Hardell has found that using a mobile phone has a threefold risk of developing a Brain Tumor. The study looked at thousands of people over a 2 year period and found an increased risk of brain cancer amongst the cell phone users. The higher the use, the bigger the risk. Is this a worrying study?

Now, there have been bigger and more in-depth studies on Brain Cancer and cell phone use that haven't found a link. Lennart Hardell argues that his study is better, as his had more people who used phones for more than 10 years, therefore his study had the biggest time for Tumors to develop and spread, unlike the other two studies mentioned. However, surely the other studies would have at least found a hint that phones cause cancer, even though they didn't have many subjects who used phones over 10 years? There must have been a sign that phones cause cancer, even if they didn't look at beyond a decade of use?

He is also an expert witness in court cases for those who believe that their cell phone caused their cancer, and he is a very outspoken anti-cell phone activist, he has been called out in the past for having a financial interest. Other studies he has done have been criticized for bad methodology and false conclusions, and science writers have said it is peculiar that 'Lennart Hardell seems to be consistently finding data opposite to mainstream studies, and he has a financial incentive to do so', (Although the reason he is finding data contradictory to mainstream studies may be because of the aforementioned fact that Hardell had more subjects how used phones for over 10 years).

Also cell phones use has rapidly increased since the 90s but brain cancer is on the decline.

What do you guys think, is this a worrying study that warrants action? Or, is it a flawed/inconclusive one? Thanks for reading this!

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You have to be wary of researchers that persistently seem to point to one view, across several papers, because, ultimately, a researcher shouldn't care about the outcome, only that it was done with integrity towards the scientific method. When you read unbiased scientific papers they are usually very measured in their comments with a  healthy dose of uncertainty in their conclusions. I feel he has an agenda.

Edited by StringJunky

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14 minutes ago, StringJunky said:

You have to be wary of researchers that persistently seem to point to one view, across several papers, because, ultimately, a researcher shouldn't care about the outcome, only that it was done with integrity towards the scientific method. When you read unbiased scientific papers they are usually very measured in their comments with a  healthy dose of uncertainty in their conclusions. I feel he has an agenda.

Thanks! Do you think the fact that he looked at more people who used a phone over ten years then any other study gives him credit, or so you think we shouldn’t conclude anything from the study?

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Just wait until someone else does another study pointing to the more dangerous WiFi  2.4GHz radiofrequency flooding 24/7 almost every house+office because of the comfort and lazyness to plug an ethernet cable instead.

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17 minutes ago, Externet said:

Just wait until someone else does another study pointing to the more dangerous WiFi  2.4GHz radiofrequency flooding 24/7 almost every house+office because of the comfort and lazyness to plug an ethernet cable instead.

You need to support that.

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onizing radiation (ionising radiation) is radiation, traveling as a particle or electromagnetic wave, that carries sufficient energy to detach electrons from atoms or molecules, thereby ionizing an atom or a molecule.[1] Ionizing radiation is made up of energetic subatomic particles, ions or atoms moving at high speeds (usually greater than 1% of the speed of light), and electromagnetic waves on the high-energy end of the electromagnetic spectrum.[citation needed]

Gamma rays, X-rays, and the higher ultraviolet part of the electromagnetic spectrum are ionizing, whereas the lower ultraviolet part of the electromagnetic spectrum and all the spectrum below UV, including visible light, nearly all types of laser light, infrared, microwaves, and radio waves are considered non-ionizing radiation. The boundary between ionizing and non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation that occurs in the ultraviolet is not sharply defined, since different molecules and atoms ionize at different energies. Conventional definition places the boundary at a photon energy between 10 eV and 33 eV in the ultraviolet (see definition boundary section below).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ionizing_radiation#:~:text=The lowest ionization energy of,ultraviolet wavelength of 124 nanometers).

 

Edited by StringJunky

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My take on these retrospective studies is that a single one at best points to something to look out for, but one needs either big studies and /or case-control studies to really establish a link. As larger studies so far have failed to reproduce these effects I would not consider the initial findings critical. I would not entirely dismiss the study, either but would take it as a piece of the big view. If it was the only study finding the effect I would assume a spurious correlation, but there have been a few, but most showed rather weak effects IIRC.

The key would really be to find whether there are any mechanistic links, and for that the evidence level is very weak.

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35 minutes ago, sadpatato-897 said:

Thanks! Do you think the fact that he looked at more people who used a phone over ten years then any other study gives him credit, or so you think we shouldn’t conclude anything from the study?

Look at this EM chart:

main-qimg-9144e4aed41163a9077528c0e04989

Wifi. and mobile wavelengths are around 3metres  long and the lowest level of ionizing radiation is just into the uv range many, many times shorter. Look where visible light is, I don't think that causes ionizing radiation, so how can microwaves cause the purported issues if ionization starts and increases to  the right of the uv segment? 

Edited by StringJunky

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21 minutes ago, CharonY said:

My take on these retrospective studies is that a single one at best points to something to look out for, but one needs either big studies and /or case-control studies to really establish a link. As larger studies so far have failed to reproduce these effects I would not consider the initial findings critical. I would not entirely dismiss the study, either but would take it as a piece of the big view. If it was the only study finding the effect I would assume a spurious correlation, but there have been a few, but most showed rather weak effects IIRC.

The key would really be to find whether there are any mechanistic links, and for that the evidence level is very weak.

Thanks! This was a case-control study by the way, but I take your point. What about the fact that this study had more subjects who have used cell phone for over 10 years than other studies, is that a strength for it or is the study still flawed?

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