A High Red Meat Intake Could Hurt Male Fertility

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February 1st, 2016

Attention carnivores—if you are trying to conceive with your partner lay off processed meat. A recent study found that those men who consumed a lot of processed, red meat such as sausage and bacon had poorer success rates than those who ate mostly poultry. The study does not prove causality merely that a link exists. Lots of other studies have illustrated a connection between diet and fertility. But it can be hard to isolate exactly how much each food item affects the male reproductive system.

shutterstock_216673552 (1)

President of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine Dr. Rebecca Sokol wrote a press release about this study. She said it suggests such meat makes it more difficult for fertilization to occur. Eating a healthy diet is not only best for reproductive health she wrote, but overall health as well. Other physicians are considering adding a ban on processed meat to the list of recommendations they give those patients desiring fatherhood. Other items include quitting smoking, decreasing alcohol consumption, exercising regularly, and losing weight.

Researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, led by Dr. Wei Xia conducted the study. They followed the cases of 141 couples undergoing in-vitro fertilization (IVF) at Massachusetts General Hospital. The male partners filled out a questionnaire including questions about their diet, such as their weekly meat consumption and what kinds of meat they ate. There was no correlation between the total amount of meat consumption and the success of IVF. However, those men who ate the most fowl were 13% more successful than those who ate the least amount of poultry.

Some doctors say that it could be those who consumed more chicken may have an overall healthier diet than those who ate more processed meat. But today most doctors would agree that it is a good idea to avoid such meat when trying to conceive. Any couple trying for six months to a year without success should seek out a medical professional. 50% of the time the problem comes from the male side of the equation. Men who have been trying with their partner for this long or longer should speak with their doctor or an urologist. 

 Dr. Muhammad Mirza

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The Zika Virus’ Unlikely Silver Lining

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February 1st, 2016

 

ould a mosquito-borne illness that threatens to spread across the Americas actually push countries to change their restrictive approaches to women’s health care?

International reproductive rights experts hope so. After health officials in several countries affected by the Zika virus suggested women avoid pregnancy in order to avoid having children with the severe birth defects the illness is believed to cause, human rights groups are countering with their own asks. They see the focus the virus has brought to unwanted and unhealthy pregnancies as a way to galvanize around reforming some of the harshest abortion laws in the world.

“Women need to know that their governments aren’t prepared to stop the spread of the virus, but that’s not a complete solution,” Amanda Klasing of Human Rights Watch’s women division told ThinkProgess.

In a region where more than half of all pregnancies in the region are unplanned, she said, governments need to make contraception — and even abortion — accessible to women in order to prevent the most harmful impact of the untreatable virus.

Four of the six countries in the world that ban abortion in all instances have either already been affected by the Zika virus, or are in its current path. Officials with the World Health Organization have warned that virus is expected to expand its reach across the entire Western hemisphere, with four million cases projected to arise before the close of 2016.

While a few harrowing cases of women denied their reproductive rights — including an 11-year old girl who became pregnant after she was raped by her stepfather in Paraguay last year — have led to widespread demonstrations in some countries, the Zika virus poses a particularly widespread risk to maternal and fetal health.

That’s why some rights’ activists see an opportunity in the alarming illness that made its way from Western Africa to South America in 2014.

For Latin America’s vibrant pro-choice movement, there are some sights for hope, especially since socially conservative Brazil made reforms to its otherwise stringent abortion laws by the health risks posed by anecephaly, a rare condition that fatally damages skull and brain formation in fetuses. Although nearly 80 percent of Brazilians polled in 2014 were against legalizing abortion, they may make an exception in cases of the Zika virus, which can cause fetuses to developmicrocephaly, or an underdeveloped brain.

With a threat as widespread as the one posed by the Zika virus, Klasing and other human and reproductive rights’ advocates are hoping for a widespread shift in policy in a region where abortion is no-go issue for many politicians.

“I think it is a unique moment to talk about women’s reproductive health in the context of this very scary public health crises,” Klasing said. “It really demonstrates the heartbreaking impact of restrictions on abortion services for women and girls when you have this potential of birth defects.”

The virus might help shift the discussion from a matter to one of social values mired in religious beliefs into a matter of public health — and the risks Zika poses to the future of Latin America.

“I do think that it’s going to create more of a space for a conversation around reproductive rights, maybe with a little bit less of the stigma and shame that has been associated with those discussions in the past,” Klasing added.

Reproductive health and rights groups have already started to initiate some of those discussions. ThinkProgress reached out to three experts from around Latin America to talk about how an alarming illness could spark change in the region’s entrenched policies against abortion.

A High Red Meat Intake Could Hurt Male Fertility

By
January 14th, 2016

Attention carnivores—if you are trying to conceive with your partner lay off processed meat. A recent study found that those men who consumed a lot of processed, red meat such as sausage and bacon had poorer success rates than those who ate mostly poultry. The study does not prove causality merely that a link exists. Lots of other studies have illustrated a connection between diet and fertility. But it can be hard to isolate exactly how much each food item affects the male reproductive system.

shutterstock_216673552

President of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine Dr. Rebecca Sokol wrote a press release about this study. She said it suggests such meat makes it more difficult for fertilization to occur. Eating a healthy diet is not only best for reproductive health she wrote, but overall health as well. Other physicians are considering adding a ban on processed meat to the list of recommendations they give those patients desiring fatherhood. Other items include quitting smoking, decreasing alcohol consumption, exercising regularly, and losing weight.

Researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, led by Dr. Wei Xia conducted the study. They followed the cases of 141 couples undergoing in-vitro fertilization (IVF) at Massachusetts General Hospital. The male partners filled out a questionnaire including questions about their diet, such as their weekly meat consumption and what kinds of meat they ate. There was no correlation between the total amount of meat consumption and the success of IVF. However, those men who ate the most fowl were 13% more successful than those who ate the least amount of poultry.

Some doctors say that it could be those who consumed more chicken may have an overall healthier diet than those who ate more processed meat. But today most doctors would agree that it is a good idea to avoid such meat when trying to conceive. Any couple trying for six months to a year without success should seek out a medical professional. 50% of the time the problem comes from the male side of the equation. Men who have been trying with their partner for this long or longer should speak with their doctor or an urologist. 

New Prostate Cancer Procedure to be Approved by the FDA

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November 18th, 2015

Imagine a surgeon using the power of sound as a scalpel, cutting away cancer-ridden tissue with precision while leaving healthy tissue alone. That may soon be a reality as a new treatment for this male-oriented cancer is weeks away be approved by the FDA. The technique is called high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU). Nicknamed the “ultrasound scalpel,” the technique lots of advantages over other procedures. It is non-surgical, outpatient, and has a low-risk of side effects. Prostate cancer is usually caught early today. When it is localized, meaning just a tumor inside the gland, clinicians often suggest active surveillance or watching it closely to see if it gets bigger. That is because radiation or surgery—the most common techniques, can damage other tissue such as the nerves that cause erections or urinary or bowel continence. Since the side effects seriously hamper a man’s quality of life, these options are held off until the cancer turns aggressive, meaning it grows beyond the gland itself and threatens other tissues.

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The HIFU technique is meant to be able to take out prostate tumors in their early stages. Due to the pinpoint accuracy of this technology, clinicians can take out the cancer while localized, leaving healthy tissue alone safeguarding nerves and with them, the patient’s quality of life. HIFU preserves these nerves with 80% accuracy, as opposed to 40-50% with surgery or radiation. There are other advantages. Rather than a six to eight week recovery time required with other therapies, after HIFU men can return to normal activities in just a few days. All men over 40 years of age should talk to their doctor or an urologist about being screened for prostate cancer. Men over 50 and those at high risk such as African-Americans, or those who have a family history of the disease should be periodically screened. Be sure and discuss it with your physician or specialist should you fall within these guidelines. They may even suggest HIFU.

Use drama, songs to give sex education to the young

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October 28th, 2015

The number of young girls giving birth is alarming. Rape cases are rampant in our society. While we keep enjoying the fruits of the 21st century, early marriages and sexual abuses by the adults to the vulnerable young people is on the rise.

Sometimes back probably when I was not born, the elders gave the young people sex education. Their grandmothers taught girls while their grandfathers taught boys. Parents too played a crucial role in educating the children hence the society was upright.

During those affirmative years, the young people grew with knowledge and understanding of their anatomy even though technology was rudimentary. It was hard for our grandmothers those days to give birth before marriage. Finding virgins was an obvious thing and the institution of marriage was sacred.

teenage pregnancy(timeslive.ca_.za)

With advancement in technology, things have changed a great deal. Knowledge levels on economics, political and scientific spheres have improved. At secondary school, young people are passing exams year in year out yet socially they understand very little about their anatomy, sexual rights and love affairs.

We have left the young people to get knowledge on social media. Few girls understand their menstrual cycle. Many do not know what to do after rape while a good number indulge in relationships due to peer pressure.

It is obvious that if a girl does not understand her body and the reactions taking place in her development, she stands a chance of getting pregnant unknowingly. This is the reason why maternity rooms are full of young people at the expense of adults.

Partly we can blame the eroding society. Young people these days get little education on sexual reproductive health rights. In the 21st century, a typical young boy or girl should know where to report to or the first steps to take immediately after rape. Many do not even know the rights they are entitled to, yet they suffer in silence.

It is of help when youths grow while understanding their sexual reproductive health rights. One should get into a sexual relationship at will and not because a friend did coerce him/her or forced by an adult.

In the area of contraceptives, the best option available should be encouraged. Girls have died due to poor dosage of abortion pills while others visit quacks to terminate the unwanted pregnancy.

At universities and colleges, girls are over using contraceptives no wonder there are many pharmaceutical shops around Maseno University. Business people are taking advantage of the ignorance anyway.

If we cannot use written materials, then we can use drama, songs, spoken word and poems to pass information geared towards sexual reproductive health rights for the girl child.

At Maseno University, there is Ipas African Alliance (a Non- governmental Organisation) that is involved in training the students and the community on safe sexual behaviour.

Others can learn from them. For us to reduce early pregnancies, drugs and substance abuse, sexual transmitted infections we should support all measures put in place to help the girl child understand her sexual reproductive health rights.

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