Sperm with fragile DNA can be sorted out to improve chances of pregnancy

The technique was recently introduced in the hospital lab of Dr. Ephrat Schoenberger.

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June 19, 2016 00:03
4 minute read.
Sperm (illustrative)

Sperm (illustrative). (photo credit: INGIMAGE)

A new test for sperm called MACS (magnetic-activated cell sorting) can raise the success rates of fertility treatments for couples whose cause for infertility is not known, according to Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center.

The technique was recently introduced in the hospital lab of Dr. Ephrat Schoenberger.

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In at least a quarter of infertility cases, doctors have not been able to determine the cause. Fertility experts use advanced treatments to improve sperm quality and produce embryos for returning to the woman’s body via in-vitro fertilization.

Recent discoveries point to fragile DNA in the sperm cells as the cause of the failure to produce a pregnancy. At Shaare Zedek, the technology is used to carry out MACS and the sperm chosen are less fragile.

Prof. Hananel Holtzer, head of the hospital’s IVF unit, said that sperm with defective DNA often lead to a defective fetus and a high risk of miscarriage. To reduce the number of fragile sperm cells, they are “marked” with “microbeads” and put through a special sorting/filtration process so they are then allowed to impregnate the ova.

On a sabbatical at McGill University on Montreal, Holtzer learned and used the technique and recently published his work in the Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics. “The research applied Halo Sperm technology for the first time, using the sperm of a man who survived cancer whose sperm were frozen before his chemotherapy treatment.

But his sperm were found to have very fragile DNA. By using this technique, his wife was able to get pregnant, and she gave birth to healthy twins.”

DRINKING MORE WATER LINKED WITH MANY DIETARY BENEFITS Tap water may be what the doctor ordered for people who want to control their weight or reduce their intake of sugar, sodium and saturated fat. A new study published in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics that examined the dietary habits of more than 18,300 US adults found the majority of those who increased their consumption of plain water – tap water or from a cooler, drinking fountain or bottle – by one percent reduced their total daily calorie intake as well as their consumption of saturated fat, sugar, sodium and cholesterol.

People who increased their consumption of water by one, two or three cups daily decreased their total calorie intake from 68 to 205 calories daily and their sodium intake from 78 to 235 grams, according to a paper by University of Illinois kinesiology and community health Prof. Ruopeng An. They also consumed five to nearly 18 grams less sugar and decreased their cholesterol consumption from seven to 21 grams daily.

“The impact of plain water intake on diet was similar across race, ethnicity, education and income levels and body weight status,” An said.

“This finding indicates that it might be sufficient to design and deliver universal nutrition interventions and education campaigns that promote plain water consumption in replacement of beverages with calories in diverse population subgroups without profound concerns about message and strategy customization.” On average, participants consumed about 4.2 cups of plain water on a daily basis, accounting for slightly more than 30 percent of their total dietary water intake.

NEW TOOTHPASTE HARDENS TEETH WHILE YOU SLEEP An ingredient put into BioMinF toothpaste developed at Queen Mary University of London provides a new tooth repair technology that promises to bring relief to the millions of adults and children around the world who are prone to tooth decay and sensitivity. Claimed to restore the lost minerals found naturally in tooth enamel and help prevent decay and treat sensitivity while you sleep, it is available online and expected to be available through stores in the UK and elsewhere by the end of the year. Toothpastes containing Bio- MinF slowly release calcium, phosphate and fluoride ions over an eight- to 12-hour time frame to form fluorapatite, a mineral that rebuilds, strengthens and protects tooth structure. The slow release of fluoride has been identified to be particularly beneficial in prevention of tooth decay.

“Using remineralizing toothpaste makes teeth far more resistant to attack from acidic soft drinks like fruit juices and sodas. It is also much more effective than conventional toothpastes where the active ingredients, such as soluble fluoride, are washed away and become ineffective less than two hours after brushing,” said Prof. Robert Hill, chairman of dental physical sciences at the university who led the team that developed it.

“The patented technology behind BioMin is not however exclusively designed for toothpastes,” he added. “It can also be incorporated in other professionally applied dental products such as cleaning and polishing pastes, varnishes and remineralizing filling materials.”

His company, Bio- Min Technologies, is in the process of establishing licensing agreements with toothpaste and dental materials manufacturers around the world.


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