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Research: Male infertility related to gum infections
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Men with defective or inadequate amounts of sperm might as well go to their periodontist for treatment, Israeli researchers suggested in a new study released Friday.

The research, jointly carried out by scientists with the Bikur Holim Hospital in Jerusalem and the Hebrew University-Hadassah School of Dental Medicine, found that infertile men are more likely to suffer from chronic gum infections than those with healthy sperm, local daily The Jerusalem Post reported.

Dr. Oshrat Shonberger, director of the fertility clinic at the hospital, and Dr. Avigdor Klinger, a periodontic specialist at the school, reached this preliminary conclusion after studying 56 men, aged between 23 to 52, who came to the fertility lab for sperm analysis.

The three-year pilot study found that some 13 percent had healthy gums in their mouths, while 50 percent were diagnosed with gingivitis, 32 percent with chronic parodontitis, and five percent with aggressive parodontitis.

As of the fertility, normal sperm counts were found in 34 percent of them, low sperm counts in 52 percent, and absence of sperm in 14 percent.

The most striking finding, the researchers were quoted as saying, is that 65 percent of the patients with low sperm counts suffered from gingivitis, compared to only 48 percent among those with normal sperm, and half of those with no sperm had chronic parodontitis. Men with gum diseases were more likely to have decreased sperm motility than those with healthy gums.

The team concluded that the frequent occurrence of gum infections among men with low sperm counts "may point to an association between infertility, diminished semen quality and periodontal infections."

They suggested that periodontal treatment aimed at eradicating gum infections may improve semen quality and relieve infertility problems, while cautioning that a larger-scale study is needed for further investigation and adequate statistics.

Periodontic infection has already been found to contribute to heart disease, stroke, pre-term birth and low-birth weight babies, and to pose a serious threat to patients with respiratory diseases, osteoporosis and diabetes, according to the reports.

(Xinhua News Agency August 25, 2008)

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