BACKGROUND: Scrotal hyperthermia has been identified as a risk factor for male infertility. Laptop computers (LC) have become part of a contemporary lifestyle and have gained popularity among the younger population of reproductive age. LC are known to reach high internal operating temperatures. We evaluated the thermal effect of LC on the scrotum. METHODS: Right and left scrotal temperature (ScT) was measured in 29 healthy volunteers in two separate 60 min sessions. ScT was recorded from thermocouples on a digital datalogger every 3 min with the working LC in a laptop position and in the same sitting position with approximated thighs without LC. RESULTS: ScT increased significantly on the right and left side in the group with working LC (2.8°C and 2.6°C, respectively; P<0001) and without LC (2.1°C, P<0.0001). However, ScT elevation with working LC was significantly higher (P<0.0001). CONCLUSIONS: Working LC in a laptop position causes significant ScT elevation as a result of heat exposure and posture-related effects. Long-term exposure to LC-related repetitive transient scrotal hyperthermia is a modern lifestyle feature that may have a negative impact upon spermatogenesis, specifically in teenage boys and young men. Further studies of such thermal effects on male reproductive health are warranted.
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