Put down the phone to get it up: Study links cell phones and erectile dysfunction

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Researchers from the Medical University of Graz in Austria and Cairo University in Egypt have identified a possible correlation between mobile phone use and erectile dysfunction. Before you start blaming your performance shortcomings on your phone though, know that the results are only preliminary and more studies are necessary to further explain the link.

The pilot study, which was published in the Central European Journal of Urology, contains the results of observations on 30 men. Of the sample, 20 suffered from erectile dysfunction for at least six months and were bunched into Group A. The other 10 men, meanwhile, were healthy and had no complaints. They were bunched together in Group B. All the men answered the German version of the Sexual Health Inventory for Men (SHIM), a widely used scale for the diagnosis of erectile dysfunction, and a questionnaire for assessing cell phone usage.  Among the questions in the cell phone usage survey were: “how many hours per day do you hold the cell phone in standby position?” and  “do you use devices that emit radio waves like bluetooth or laptops?” 

In spite of having no significant differences in age, height, weight, and total testosterone, the men in Group A scored significantly lower in the SHIM compared to the men in Group B. The men in Group A spent more time talking on the phone per week (17.6 hours vs. 12.5 hours) and carried their switched-on phones for a longer time (4.4 hours vs. 1.8 hours).     

“In our previous study we reported that serum total testosterone levels may be impaired in men with infertility and in those using cell phones. However, in the current study we could not find the same link, which may be due to the small sample size of patients and healthy controls included … Our results are preliminary and have several limitations. One limitation is a small number of patients and, therefore, larger studies are needed to confirm our initial report,” the study reads.

Mobile phone use has previously been linked to brain tumors due to its radio wave emissions, which can be absorbed by human tissue. However, according to the National Cancer Institute, no consistent link has been found so far between mobile phones and brain cancer. Erectile dysfunction, on the other hand, needs more research.

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