Written by Ben Bunting: BA(Hons), PGCert.
If you're concerned about fertility and your sperm health, should you be concerned about MRI scans? This article looks at the available research, and the intial thoughts are, yes, there's a risk from MRI scans.
A CT scan may be more useful in identifying cysts in the reproductive tract, such as those found in the ejaculatory duct and Cowper gland. A CT scan is more effective at identifying stones and calcifications, which can also cause infertility. And while a first obstructed seminal vesicle is rare for men, this imaging is crucial to diagnosing a male infertility problem.
MRI scans can damage sperm
A recent study found that MRI scans can damage sperm DNA. DNA is particularly sensitive to oxidative stress in sperm before they reach the epididymis, where they undergo disulphide cross-linking. A large amount of oxidative stress in sperm is associated with impaired fertility. Furthermore, exposure to environmental toxins and drugs, including chemotherapy, can increase SDF levels.
Another study found that MRI scans can cause damage to sperm in men. The researchers measured H2O2 levels in both exposed and negative control cells. When the researchers added propidium iodide to DMSO, a fluorescent dye was released which labeled dead sperm. They also found that the increase in H2O2 was not detrimental to the viability of sperm.
Researchers have also found that RF-EMR and MRI scans can cause sperm damage. RF-EMR is believed to cause oxidative stress in sperm, resulting in altered levels of cytochrome c, protein, and apoptosis-related genes. The study also noted that RF-EMR can disrupt sperm morphology. This effect was not found in a randomized study, however.
DNA damage is also a major cause of miscarriages and birth defects. The inability of sperm to cope with ROS can lead to impaired fertilization, embryonic implantation, and even miscarriage. Additionally, oxidative stress has been linked to high rates of morbidity in offspring.
Researchers at Tel Aviv University have developed a 3D imaging method to analyze sperm cells. They used a microscope with an upright stage with green 488 nm light. They then used an OpenCASA plugin to process the recorded videos. This software was able to process images and video with the help of sperm motions. The researchers used this technique to identify sperm motions in two ways.
This test measures DNA damage in sperm using two different methods. The first method uses an agarose-embedded sperm and a solution containing sodium lactate (21.4 x 10-3 m). The second method, known as the halo test, requires just 5,000 sperm and measures the DNA damage per spermatozoon. Using this method, doctors can tell whether a sperm has oligozoospermia.
Red Light Therapy
MRI scans, as they are known, can damage sperm. Specifically, they can damage the sperm head and flagellum, two parts that are crucial to the development of the embryo. As described below, the sperm head and flagellum have distinct physical dissimilarities.
Red light treatment of sperm has also been implicated in DNA damage. However, the damage was minimal compared to other medical treatments, including ultrasound and X-rays. However, it was unclear how the red light irradiation affected the sperm. This type of light treatment results in oxidative damage and double-strand breaks. In addition, the effects of MRI scans on DNA are not as extensive as those of x-rays on human cells.
The researchers measured the VCL of sperm under coherent and incoherent illumination by using a novel wavelet tracking algorithm. This method does not require full integral transforms of images, as sperm are located close to the focal area. This method also allows direct comparison of samples. The authors are confident that their study results will confirm the MRI scans' damaging effect on sperm. Therefore, they say that MRI scans will continue to be the most effective means to monitor sperm damage and infer whether this is harmful or not.
The researchers observed five different types of malformed sperm in a series of experiments. The study found that the proportion of sperm head abnormalities was similar in all groups. There were no group differences in the categories of banana-like sperm, amorphous head, and triangular head. Moreover, the study revealed that the sperm heads were coiled in the test group.
To assess the oxidative DNA damage, 8-OHdG ELISA was used. Genomic DNA was isolated using a DNA isolation kit, manufactured by Zymo. This enzymatic reaction is competitive. Acetylcholinesterase linked to tracers competes with the sample DNA. If the sample DNA is unbound, the acetylcholinesterase washes off the sample and produces a signal. The oxidative DNA in sperm was 1.5 x 107 pg/mL. The concentrations of DNA damage were calculated using a standard curve.
While MRI scans are not considered to be dangerous, they can still cause a number of problems in men who undergo them.