HEALTH

Report: Male fertility tests may soon be sold at stores

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK Male fertility tests measuring sperm counts may soon be sold at retail, according to a Reuters Health report published Thursday.

A study published in the February issue of Human Reproduction found that SpermCheck Fertility, which is expected to retail around $25, fielded an accuracy of 96% compared with standard laboratory sperm count methods.

The test measures whether sperm counts are above 20 million per milliliter of semen, which is considered healthy for adult males, or less than 5 million/mL, is indicative of significant infertility and a prompt to consult a doctor.

The device, developed by Charlottesville, Va.-based ContraVac, is expected to launch soon across Europe and has been submitted to the Food and Drug Administration for approval in the United States.

Sperm counts of 20 million per milliliter of semen and above are considered normal. The test will tell a man whether or not his sperm count meets this cutoff, and if it doesn’t whether he has a severely low sperm count (below 5 million sperm per milliliter).

“It basically tells the man how deep the infertility is,” Herr explained. “If both strips are negative it’s important that they then seek medical treatment for the infertility.”

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Quigley unveils cough-cold education videos online

BY Michael Johnsen

DOYLESTOWN, Pa. Quigley Corp. on Wednesday announced the introduction of series of online videos aimed at educating the public about staying healthy during the cough-cold season.

The series, hosted by medical correspondent Bob Arnot, offers information about prevention, and if that doesn’t work, symptomatic relief of the common cold.

“The fact that we make a product that has been clinically proven to reduce the duration and severity of the common cold, certainly helped drive our decision to underwrite the series,” stated Ted Karkus, Quigley CEO.

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Study finds bitter melon may reduce breast cancer risk

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Many Westerners trying it for the first time cringe the moment it enters their mouths, and its taste is so strong that some brewers in China even use it as a substitute for hops, but a new study indicates that the bitter melon also may ward off breast cancer.

The study, published online on Feb. 23 and scheduled to appear in the March 1 issue of the journal Cancer Research, found that an extract of bitter melon was able to slow the growth of and in some cases kill breast cancer cells while leaving healthy breast cells untouched when applied directly do them.

The bitter melon, whose name is a direct translation from its Chinese name, kugua, is common in many Asian cuisines and used in traditional Chinese medicine, though it’s rarely found outside Asian food markets in the United States. The bright green fruit resembles a cucumber with the skin of a toad.

Researchers conducting the study quoted in published reports said that bitter melon extract, which is widely available in the United States, was unlikely to cure cancer, but might have preventive properties.

According to the National Bitter Melon Council, bitter melons contain twice the calcium of spinach, twice the potassium of bananas, twice the beta carotene of broccoli and are rich in dietary fiber, phosphorus and vitamins A, B1, B3 and C.

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