Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Scrotal temperature

"Heated seats may be frying sperm," warns New Scientist today. Whilst most scientists are wasting their time with mass spectrometers and fume cupboards, "Andreas Jung at the University of Giessen in Germany and his colleagues fitted temperature sensors to the scrotums of 30 healthy men, who then sat on a heated car seat for 90 minutes.

"An hour in, and scrotal temperature had already risen to an average of 37.3 °C, with a maximum temperature in one man of 39.7 °C."

Sadly, there is no mention of possible confounding factors or sources of bias, such as the presence of a pretty research assistant with cold fingers.

I think we're all pretty acclimatised to this sort of 'stupid science' by now, and have come to enjoy it. The article duly concludes with a dead-pan flourish: "The team did not test the effect of the heated seat on sperm quality or quantity." And what about the possible relationship between scrotal temperature and ejaculatory distance, pray? An opportunity, surely, for some further research.

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