Testosterone Therapy may help older men live longer

Restoring testosterone in older men to normal level through gels, patches, or injections may lower their risk of heart attack, stroke, or death from any cause, says a large study co-authored by an Indian-origin researcher.

The study also found that men who were treated but did not attain normal levels did not see the same benefits as those whose levels did reach normal.

“It is the first study to demonstrate that significant benefit is observed only if the dose is adequate to normalise the total testosterone levels,” said corresponding author of the study Rajat Barua, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Kansas in the US.

“Patients who failed to achieve the therapeutic range after testosterone replacement therapy did not see a reduction in (heart attack) or stroke and had significantly less benefit on mortality,” Barua noted.

The findings may sway the ongoing debate over testosterone therapy’s benefits and risks, especially for the heart.
So far, the medical community lacks results from any definitive clinical trial that might provide clear guidance.

Meanwhile, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued guidance earlier in 2015 advising clinicians about the over-use of testosterone therapy, and pointing to a possible increased risk of heart attack and stroke.

The new study looked at data on more than 83,000 men with documented low testosterone, all age 50 or above, who received care between 1999 and 2014.

The researchers divided the men into three clinical groups: those who were treated to the point where their total testosterone levels returned to normal, those who were treated but without reaching normal, and those who were untreated and remained at low levels.

The average follow-up across the groups ranged from 4.6 to 6.2 years. The sharpest contrast emerged between those who were treated and attained normal levels and those whose low testosterone went untreated.

The treated men were 56 percent less likely to die during the follow-up period, 24 per cent less likely to suffer a heart attack, and 36 per cent less likely to have a stroke.
The exact reasons for testosterone’s apparent benefits for the heart and overall survival are not known. Possible explanations, the researchers said, could involve body fat, insulin sensitivity, lipids, blood platelets, inflammation, or other biological pathways.

Source: indiatoday

Cell phones negatively affect male fertility, new study suggests


Men who keep a mobile phone in their trouser pocket could be inadvertently damaging their chances of becoming a father, according to a new study led by the University of Exeter.

Previous research has suggested that Radio-frequency electromagnetic radiation (RF-EMR) emitted by the devices can have a detrimental effect on male fertility. Most of the global adult population own mobile phones, and around 14% of couples in high and middle income countries have difficulty conceiving.

A team led by Dr Fiona Mathews, of Biosciences at the University of Exeter, conducted a systematic review of the findings from ten studies, including 1,492 samples, with the aim of clarifying the potential role of this environmental exposure.

Participants in the studies were from fertility clinics and research centres, and sperm quality was measured in three different ways: motility (the ability of sperm to move properly towards an egg), viability (the proportion of sperm that were alive) and concentration (the number of sperm per unit of semen).
In control groups, 50-85% of sperm have normal movement. The researchers found this proportion fell by an average of 8 percentage points when there was exposure to mobile phones. Similar effects were seen for sperm viability. The effects on sperm concentration were less clear.

Dr Mathews said: “Given the enormous scale of mobile phone use around the world, the potential role of this environmental exposure needs to be clarified. This study strongly suggests that being exposed to radio-frequency electromagnetic radiation from carrying mobiles in trouser pockets negatively affects sperm quality. This could be particularly important for men already on the borderline of infertility, and further research is required to determine the full clinical implications for the general population.”

The results were consistent across in vitro studies conducted under controlled conditions and observational in vivo studies conducted on men in the general population.

“Effect of mobile telephones on sperm quality: a systematic review and meta-analysis” by Fiona Mathews et al is published today in the journal Environment International.

Source: science daily

Mobile phones could make men infertile


Men, who keep a mobile phone in their trouser pocket, could be affected with male fertility, according to a new study led by the University of Exeter.

A team led by Dr Fiona Mathews, of Biosciences at the University of Exeter, conducted a systematic review of the findings from ten studies, including 1,492 samples, with the aim of clarifying the potential role of this environmental exposure. The researchers found that this proportion fell by an average of 8 percentage points when there was exposure to mobile phones and similar effects were seen for sperm viability. The effects on sperm concentration were less clear. Dr. Mathews said that given the massive scale of mobile phone use around the world, the potential role of this environmental exposure needs to be clarified. Dr. Mathews asserted that this study strongly suggested that being exposed to radio-frequency electromagnetic radiation from carrying mobiles in trouser pockets negatively affects sperm quality.

The study is published in the journal Environment International.

Source: Times of India

Birth control pill for males will have to wait


Much research is underway to find a safe and effective male contraceptive pill. Though it was speculated that a male contraceptive pill is just around the corner but now people will have to wait more. Researchers have found that hormonal male contraception via testosterone does not stop the production of healthy sperm.

Based on the study involving mice it was found out that a previously developed male hormonal oral contraceptive method (via testosterone) is unable to stop the production and/or the release of sperm.

Ilpo Huhtaniemi from the Imperial College of London in Britain said that, “Our research explains why the efficacy of male hormonal contraception is not as effective as expected and it provides clues on how to improve the method”.

Scientists demonstrated that the male contraception approach by testosterone has an inherent problem – spermatogenesis – where production of sperm from the primordial germ cells does not stop.

They found that administering increasing doses of testosterone to infertile mutant mice did allow sexual function to return at a certain dosing threshold which was expected.

What was not expected, however, is that spermatogenesis also returned at that dose. This suggests that it is impossible to give a single dose of testosterone that allows for sexual function and the suppression of pituitary gonadotropin secretion, but also does not initiate sperm production.

Source: zee news

Male infertility linked to ‘high death risk’


Researchers have said that men, who are infertile because of defects in their semen, appear to be at higher death risk compared to men with normal semen.

According to a study led by a researcher at the Stanford University School of Medicine, men with two or more abnormalities in their semen were more than twice as likely to die over a roughly eight-year period as men who had normal semen, the study found.

In the new study, Michael Eisenberg, MD, PhD, assistant professor of urology and Stanford’s director of male reproductive medicine and surgery, and his colleagues examined records of men ages 20 to 50 who had visited one of two centers to be evaluated for possible infertility. In all, about 12,000 men fitting this description were seen between 1994 and 2011 at Stanford Hospital and Clinics or between 1989 and 2009 at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

At both clinics, data were available for several aspects of a patient’s semen quality, such as total semen volume and sperm counts, motility and shape. (Dolores Lamb, PhD, and Larry Lipshultz, MD, of Baylor were senior authors of the study.)

By keying identifiers for the patients to data in the National Death Index and the Social Security Death index, the investigators were able to monitor these men’s mortality for a median of about eight years.

While no single semen abnormality in itself predicted mortality, men with two or more such abnormalities had more than double the risk of death over the eight-year period following their initial fertility examination compared with those with no semen abnormalities. The greater the number of abnormalities, the higher the mortality rate, the study found.

Of the 11,935 men who were followed, 69 died during the follow-up period — a seemingly small number. This reflects, first and foremost, the patients’ relative youth: Their median age was 36.6 years. But it also reflects the fact that men who get evaluated for infertility tend to have a higher-than-average socio-economic status and have accordingly better diets, education and access to health care.

The new study has been published online in the journal Human Reproduction.

Source: Times of India

How To Treat And Prevent Jock Itch?


Jock itch facts

  • Jock itch is a very common, itchy groin rash.
  • Roughly half of jock itch is caused by a fungus. The remainder are caused by moisture, irritation, and bacterial overgrowth.
  • Jock itch looks like pink or red rash in groin folds.
  • Jock itch affects primarily males, although it may also be seen in females.
  • Jock itch is most common in older adults and athletes.
  • Jock itch is often seen in otherwise healthy people.
  • Jock itch is easily curable in most cases and frequently resolves on its own without treatment.
  • Jock itch is often treated with antifungal washes for the groin.
  • Resistant jock itch may require antifungal or antibiotic pills to clear.
  • Jock itch is prevented by good skin hygiene.

What is jock itch? What does jock itch look like?

Jock itch is a common, itchy rash of the groin. It can be a very intense itch and is associated with a red or pink rash involving the groin folds and genitals. Jock itch is primarily a skin condition in men.

The symptoms of jock itch may come and go, and many cases of jock itch resolve spontaneously without any treatment. Jock itch is primarily seen in the groin, although it may spread to the inner thighs, genitals (including penis, scrotum, labia, and vaginal opening), and anus.

While jock itch is frequently noted in otherwise healthy patients, patients with diabetes and/or obesity are more susceptible. Possible causes of this common groin itch include irritation from tight or abrasive underwear, excess moisture, sweating, skin rubbing or friction, allergic problems, fungal infection, Candida (yeast) infection, and bacterial overgrowth or skin infection.

Treatment of fungal-related jock itch may include one or a combination of antifungal creams and, rarely, antifungal pills. Treatment of jock itch that is not caused by fungus involves proper groin hygiene, keeping the area clean and dry, and washing frequently with gentle soap and water (especially after sweating or exercise).

Jock itch causes a symmetrical red or pink rash on the sides of the groin folds. There may be a dry, scaly rash or a collection of small, pinpoint red or pink bumps at each hair follicle.

Source: medicine net

Men, Too: Infertility Is Not Just a Female Problem


Jay and Kelli Leiner were high school sweethearts, got married right after college and decided to start a family at age 26.

“I was one of those little girls who had a baby doll clutched in her hands from the beginning. I’ve always known that I wanted to be a mother,” Kelli Leiner said. But both are now 31 and they’ve found the journey to parenthood to be long and painful.

“By the time we were 28 and we had no baby yet — we never got pregnant and the friends that we had were already onto their second child — we were wondering: What’s wrong with us?” Jay Leiner said. What they discovered surprised them: She didn’t have a fertility problem. He did.

Infertility, which affects an estimated 15 percent of all couples in the United States, generally is seen as a woman’s problem. However, men now are known to be partly responsible for almost 60 percent of all couples’ infertility cases in this country, according to research by Weill Medical College of Cornell University.

At first, Kelli Leiner automatically assumed it was she who had problems conceiving. She immediately went to her gynecologist and asked for testing. But all her tests came back normal. “I didn’t have any issues with infertility. So we tested Jay. The doctors did a semen analysis,” Kelli Leiner said. “Tests showed his sperm count was about five million.”

“I’m like: That’s a lot, five million. I wish I had $5 million,” Jay Leiner said. “But when the doctor told us it needs to be more in the 100 million range, I was shocked. “And on top of the low count,” he added, “motility was also low, which means the sperm are not going anywhere, they were lazy sperm.”

Male Infertility Carries Social Stigma

Dr. Mary Hinckley, a reproductive endocrinologist, said men generally are hesitant to take fertility tests because there’s such a stigma associated with male infertility.

“They’re supposed to be macho men. They’re not supposed to have low sperm counts,” said Hinckley. Jay Leiner is one of the 9 percent of men diagnosed with male-factor infertility. Doctors now recommend that both men and women should be evaluated at the same time when they’re having trouble getting pregnant.

“It made me feel pretty bad about myself: Why can’t I do something normal that the rest of the population can?” Jay Leiner said. Various tests returned inconclusive, leading his doctor to determine he simply was born with a low sperm count and motility.

Causes and Treatments of Male Infertility

Besides genetic causes, Dr. Karen Boyle, regional director of male infertility at Shady Grove Reproductive Science Center said there are underlying medical conditions that account for male infertility. They include hormone abnormalities, varicoceles (varicose veins in the scrotum), obesity, drug use and exposure to radiation and chemotherapy. Treatment options may include surgery, hormone therapy and assisted reproductive technologies. Even though their case was was classified as “severe,” Kelli Leiner still could get pregnant through medical intervention.

After five IUIs, or intra-uterine insemination attempts, that failed over the past three years, the couple finally succeeded after undergoing one in vitro fertilization process last year. Their doctor used a special procedure called ICSI, or introcytoplasmic sperm injection.

We actually would take Jay’s sperm, find the very best-looking one and put it into each of Kelli’s eggs so that we could take a single sperm, put it in a single egg, to help with fertilization. Ultimately, that’s what made the difference for them,” Hinckley said.

The couple’s first baby boy, Gavin, was born shortly before Thanksgiving 2009. “It was the best moment of my life,” said Kelli Leiner. “It really was. It was surreal. It was so magical.” A Guide For Men Who Want to Boost Fertility

Dr. Karen Boyle, regional director of male infertility at Shady Grove Reproductive Science Center, gives some advice on how to boost male fertility.

The Dos

Be healthy. Eat right and exercise. Men with a body mass index of over 25 have a 20 percent higher chance of infertility, and obese men are three times more likely to have lower sperm counts.

Take your vitamins. Eat foods rich in antioxidants such as vitamins A, C, and E. These vitamins are crucial as they repair sperm DNA. Also zinc, folic acid, selenium and amino acid are good for sperm health.

Try intercourse every other day while trying to conceive. More isn’t better. In fact, having sex every day or multiple times a day will lower sperm counts significantly. To maximize fertility potential, every other day is ideal as it allows sperm counts to normalize.

The Don’ts

Don’t use testosterone or anabolic steroids. That shuts down the signal from the brain to stimulate sperm production and will make sperm counts significantly lower if not disappear altogether.

Don’t smoke or use recreational drugs. Smoking impairs sperm motility and morphology and worsens the quality of a man’s erections. Marijuana can cause DNA damage and lower sperm counts.

Stay out of hot tubs or Jacuzzis and don’t leave a laptop computer on your lap for long periods of time. Prolonged or repetitive heat exposure can adversely affect sperm production.

Source: abc news

When Men Get Breast Cancer?

That is the message of a provocative new photography series featuring the faces, and scars, of men with breast cancer.

The vast majority of the photos in that project are of young women, shown topless with scars where their breasts used to be. The pictures, which are both shocking and beautiful, are featured in a traveling exhibition that will be on display next month in Toronto.

But most visitors to the Scar Project find the photos on the Internet, where they have been viewed by millions of people. One of those people is Oliver Bogler, a cancer biologist in Houston who found out that he had breast cancer 18 months ago after noticing a lump in his chest.

As in a woman’s breast, the duct cells in a man’s breast can undergo cancerous changes fueled by hormones that influence the growth of cells. It is not clear why some men get breast cancer while most do not, but risk factors include a family history of breast cancer, inherited gene mutations, radiation exposure, extended occupational exposure to certain chemicals or intense heat, obesity, liver disease, alcoholism, and other cancer treatments.

All of these factors can influence the level of hormones in a man’s body and potentially spur breast cancer. That said, many men who develop breast cancer do not have any of these risk factors.

Fewer than 1 percent of breast cancers are diagnosed in men, but that is little comfort to the 2,400 men a year who learn they have the disease. For Dr. Bogler, 47, the diagnosis was particularly shocking because his wife had learned five years earlier that she had breast cancer.

“I struggled with the huge coincidence,” Dr. Bogler said. “We were both diagnosed when we were 46. It seemed a bit unlikely. I couldn’t imagine having this conversation with her, either: ‘Honey, I think I have what you have.’ ”

Like many cancer patients, Dr. Bogler found himself spending time online in hopes of learning more about his disease. He stumbled across the Scar Project and asked Mr. Jay if he would consider including men in the series. As a result, the Male Scar Project was created.

The photo of Dr. Bogler shows him next to a radiation machine, his chest covered with marker lines used to guide the radiation beam.

The photos of men with breast cancer are admittedly less jarring than those of women. One reason may be that it is less surprising to see a shirtless man, and the absence of his breast and nipple is not as immediately noticeable. But the portraits of the men are still haunting and show, in a more subtle way, the spiritual ravages of cancer.

The photos are also similar in that they capture both the vulnerability and the strength of breast cancer patients, regardless of their sex.

One of the subjects, William Becker, of Bridgeport, Conn., said he had wanted to be photographed to raise awareness among men who may be ignoring a lump, not realizing it could be breast cancer.




“I was dealing with a lot of health issues that could have been avoided had I done something sooner about the lump that I had found on my chest,” Mr. Becker said. “No man should be going through what I was enduring.”

Mr. Becker said he felt the photo captured his experience better than words could.

“The photo is very striking,” he said. “It gives you a sense of fear, in that there is this man with a scar on his chest and burn marks surrounding it from the radiation treatment — a kind of ‘don’t let this happen to you’ image.”

Dr. Bogler worked with Mr. Jay to include men in the Scar Project because he felt that more awareness was needed about the male experience with the disease. He also believes that more research into male breast cancer could help unlock new knowledge about the disease for both men and women.

Dr. Bogler added that while ovarian, uterine, prostate and testicular cancers are inherently gender-specific, breast cancer is no more gender-specific than lung or colon cancer.

“I was surprised to learn how little awareness there was for men,” he said. “Breast cancer is skewed toward women, but it’s not just a woman’s cancer.”

Even when filling out forms at the doctor’s office, Dr. Bogler found that many of the questions were aimed at women.

“I live in this very pink world,” he said. “I’m not complaining about it. I don’t mind skipping the ‘Are you pregnant?’ part of the form. But I realized most people don’t even know men get breast cancer.”

Source: New York Times


Prostate cancer chances rise with vitamin E, selenium supplements

The trial was stopped earlier than planned because it showed no protective effect for selenium and suggested an increased risk of cancer from vitamin E. Researchers told the men in the study to stop taking the supplements and kept checking in with them.

Investigators then re-analyzed the data for 1,739 men from the trial who were previously diagnosed with prostate cancer, compared with 3,117 others, without prostate cancer, who were matched to the patients by race and age.

The focus of the research then shifted to how the amount of selenium in the men’s bodies before they started taking supplements affected cancer rates.

The bottom line was there were no benefits to any men from either selenium or vitamin E supplements, said researchers. Taking selenium supplements increased the risk of high-grade cancer among men who had naturally high selenium levels.

“Men using these supplements should stop, period,” study author Alan Kristal of the Public Health Sciences division at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle said in a release.

Neither selenium nor vitamin E supplementation offers any known benefits, only risks, he said.

“While there appear to be no risks from taking a standard multivitamin, the effects of high-dose single supplements are unpredictable, complex and often harmful.”

There are still open questions about selenium and prostate cancer risk, according to a journal editorial published with the study. For example, animal studies suggest the form of selenium matters, such as whether it comes from pills, enriched wheat and broccoli, or yeast.

“We need to revisit the question of evaluating the prevention of a single disease in healthy people, where competing risks may obscure reality. Even if a subset can be identified that would benefit from some form of selenium or vitamin E supplementation, it must not be only a benefit to a single gland or based on one disease,” biostatistician Paul Frankel from City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center in Duarte, Calif. concluded in the editorial.

The U.S. National Cancer Institute funded the study.

Source: CBC news

Study confirms ‘he hormone’ link to heart attacks

Heavily promoted male hormone products may be sending men flocking to stores, but their next stop may be the emergency room, according to a new study published Wednesday.

The research confirms earlier studies that show men with heart disease double their risk of heart attack soon after they start using testosterone gels or other supplements. And testosterone doubled the risk in men over 65 with or without heart disease.

“Patients and their physicians should discuss the risk of heart attacks when considering testosterone therapy,” said Sander Greenland, a professor of epidemiology at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, who led the study.

It’s a similar pattern to women using hormone replacement therapy after menopause — doctors used to think it lowered the risk of heart attacks and cancer, but it in fact has the opposite effect.

The study, published in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS ONE, confirms the results of several smaller studies. One published in November found that the use of “low T” therapy boosted the risk of serious problems including heart attack, stroke and death in men who already had heart trouble and who had low testosterone.

And another one released in December found that men with higher levels of the male hormone are more likely to have weak or no response to a flu vaccine, meaning that their bodies don’t mount a strong defense.

Nonetheless, the testosterone products are very heavily marketed to older men. And an influential essay in the New York Times Magazine, titled “The He Hormone,” brought even more attention to the idea of “man-opause”.

Greenland’s team, along with experts at the National Cancer Institute and Consolidated Research, Inc., looked at the records of more than 55,000 men. Heart attack rates more than doubled in men over 65 in the 90 days after getting a testosterone prescription, and it more than tripled for men 75 or older.

To be sure, they compared the men getting testosterone to those getting prescriptions for erectile dysfunction drugs, as the two groups are similar in many ways. The ED drugs, which include brands such as Viagra and Cialis, only very slightly raised the risk of heart attack.

“Taken together, the evidence supports an association between testosterone therapy and risk of serious, adverse cardiovascular-related events — including non-fatal myocardial infarction (heart attack) — in men,” they concluded.

Source: NBC news