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World population predicted to peak by mid-century, then decline

16/07/2020

It took more than 200,000 years for the world’s population to reach one billion, but only 200 years for it to top seven billion. Today, the population of the world is estimated to be just under 7.8bn. However, new analysis predicts that the number of people in the world will peak in 2064 at around 9.7 billion. Then, we will see a decline to around 8.87 billion by the end of the century. If this prediction is correct, the world’s population would be two billion below UN forecasts by 2100. The reasons behind the predicted decline include widening access to contraception and improvements in educating women and girls. According to the research led by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington's School of Medicine, the findings of which are published in The Lancet, some countries, including Japan, Spain and Italy, will witness their populations halve in the next 80 years, while sub-Saharan Africa’s population will triple. Furthermore, the number of older people in the world will overtake the number of young, with estimates saying there will be 2.4 billion people over the age of 65 forecast by 2100, compared with 1.7 billion under the age of 20. Speaking about the findings of the research, IHME Director Dr. Christopher Murray, who led the study, said: “Continued global population growth through the century is no longer the most likely trajectory for the world's population. This study provides governments of all countries an opportunity to start rethinking their policies on migration, workforces and economic development to address the challenges presented by demographic change.”

What is IVF?

29/10/2019

In vitro fertilization (IVF) is one of several techniques that can be used to help people with fertility problems have a baby. With IVF, an egg is removed from the woman’s body and fertilized with sperm in a laboratory. The fertilized egg – known as an embryo – is then placed inside the woman’s womb where it will hopefully implant in the lining of her uterus and grow and develop. IVF can be carried out using a woman’s eggs and her partner’s sperm, or eggs and sperm from donors. There are seven main stages associated with IVF treatment: Ovary stimulation – Medication is used to encourage the woman’s ovaries to produce more eggs than usual. Progress monitoring and maturing of eggs – Ultrasounds and blood tests are used to monitor the eggs, while medication is administered to help them develop. Egg retrieval – A needle is used to collect eggs from each ovary. This step takes around 30 minutes and the woman can usually go home afterwards. Egg fertilization – The retrieved eggs are mixed with sperm. They have the chance to find each other and fertilize the same as they would inside the body. Embryo development – If the sperm fertilizes the egg, it becomes an embryo. The embryo is then placed inside a special incubator where conditions are perfect to encourage growth and development. Embryo transplant – Once the IVF specialists are satisfied that the embryo is developing correctly, it is then transplanted into the woman’s uterus. Final blood test – Approximately two weeks after the embryo has been transplanted, a final blood test is performed to check the woman’s hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) levels, which are used to determine if she is pregnant or not. It is important to note that not all eggs, unfortunately, will fertilize and reach the embryo stage. This can occur as a result of immature eggs and/or weak sperm. If you and your partner have been struggling to conceive naturally, IVF could help you get pregnant. Find out more about how we can facilitate IVF treatment for French-speaking patients in Spain by contacting us today.

How tomato puree could improve male fertility

10/10/2019

Lycopene - a natural pigment that gives red fruits and vegetables their colour - is an antioxidant that protects against cell damage, and tomatoes contain plenty of it. In fact, it is estimated that tomatoes account for 80% of the lycopene in the US diet. Now, a new study suggests Lycopene may also help boost sperm quality. According to the research by a team at the University of Sheffield, healthy men who consumed the equivalent of two tablespoons of concentrated tomato puree each day were found to have better quality sperm. During the 12-week trial, 60 men were randomly selected to take 14mg of lactolycopene supplement each day. The reason a supplement was used is because the participants would have had to eat 2kg of tomatoes each day to obtain an equivalent dose of lycopene. The participants’ sperm was tested before, during and after the trial. While there was no difference in sperm concentration, the men who had been taking the lycopene had healthier and faster sperm. Encouraged by the results, the researchers now want to expand the trial to include more men and see if the findings are the same. Lycopene has also been previously linked to other health benefits, including a lowered risk of heart disease and certain cancers.

More than one million new STI cases every day - WHO

11/06/2019

There are more than 376 million new cases of chlamydia, gonorrhoea, trichomoniasis, and syphilis among people aged 15-49 every year, according to figures recently released by the World Health Organization (WHO). That equates to over one million new cases of these sexually transmitted infections (STIs) every single day. It’s a reality, the WHO says, that should serve as a wake-up call – especially as such diseases can cause serious and chronic health effects like infertility, stillbirths, ectopic pregnancy, and increased risk of HIV. In 2016 alone, syphilis caused an estimated 200,000 stillbirths and newborn deaths globally. The figures show that one in 25 people, on average, has at least one of these STIs. However, many continue to live with multiple infections simultaneously. Sexually transmitted infections are predominantly spread through unprotected sexual contact, but chlamydia, gonorrhoea, and syphilis can also be passed from mother to child during pregnancy and childbirth. The number one way to prevent STIs is to practise safe sex, which includes wearing a condom and having an understanding of sexual health education. People who are sexually active should also undergo regular STI screening to pick up any infections they might be carrying – sometimes completely obliviously. There is a wide variety of medications that can cure bacterial STIs. Speaking about the figures, Dr Peter Salama, Executive Director for Universal Health Coverage and the Life-Course at WHO, said: “This is a wake-up call for a concerted effort to ensure everyone, everywhere can access the services they need to prevent and treat these debilitating diseases.”  

Eating nuts regularly could improve a man's sperm quality

05/07/2018

A new study suggests that eating nuts regularly can improve both a man’s sperm count and the quality of the sperm produced. Experts say the finding is significant given that sperm counts across the Western world are in decline, a reality that’s been attributed to pollution, smoking and diet. At present, around one in seven couples have difficulty getting pregnant and figures show that 40-50% of infertility cases are attributable to men. For the study, scientists randomly split 119 healthy men between the ages of 18 and 35 into two groups. One group had 60 grams (2oz) of nuts added to their normal diet each day, while the other continued to eat as they always had done. The group that had the nuts added to their diet were found to have improved sperm – 14% greater count, 4% better vitality, 6% better motility (movement) and 1% better morphology (shape and size) – all of which are considered by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to be measures of  sperm quality. Dr Albert Salas-Huetos, from the Universitat Rovira i Virgili in Spain, who led the study, said: "Evidence is accumulating in the literature that healthy lifestyle changes such as following a healthy dietary pattern might help conception”. The results of the study were recently presented at the annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Barcelona.

Too much fast food could make it harder to get pregnant

08/05/2018

Women who regularly eat fast food and don’t consume enough fruit are more likely to experience problems trying to conceive, a study suggests. The study of 5,598 women in Australia, New Zealand, the UK and Ireland, which was published in the journal Human Reproduction, found that women who ate fast food four or more times a week took almost a month longer to get pregnant than those who rarely or never ate it. Furthermore, women who regularly eat junk food were also less likely to conceive within a year. Women who had eaten fruit three or more times a day, on average, conceived half a month quicker than those who had eaten it less than one to three times a month. While experts say the study suggests a good diet boosts the chances of getting pregnant, some limitations - including the participants having to remember what they’d eaten in the month before conceiving - have been highlighted. Prof Claire Roberts, from the University of Adelaide, Australia, who led the study, said: "These findings show that eating a good quality diet that includes fruit and minimising fast food consumption improves fertility and reduces the time it takes to get pregnant." [Related reading: UK hit by weight-related fatty liver disease epidemic]  

A low sperm count may signal other serious health risks

22/03/2018

While a low sperm count and problems with sperm quality are huge hurdles for couples who are trying to get pregnant, a new study shows that men with low sperm counts are also at increased risk of illness. The study of 5,177 men in Italy found that those with low sperm counts were 20% more likely to have more body fat, more "bad" cholesterol and higher blood pressure – all factors that increase the risk of developing diabetes, heart disease and stroke. They were also 12 times more likely to have low testosterone levels. Dr Alberto Ferlin, from the University of Bresci, who led the study, said: "Infertile men are likely to have important co-existing health problems or risk factors that can impair quality of life and shorten their lives. "Fertility evaluation gives men the unique opportunity for health assessment and disease prevention." The study’s authors say that men with low sperm counts should be actively checked for other potential health problems, which may have a greater chance of being rectified if treated earlier. However, the authors of the study stressed that their findings did not prove that low sperm counts cause metabolic problems, merely that the two are linked in some way.

Sperm counts in western men have dropped by more than 50% in last 40 years

27/07/2017

Between 1973 and 2011, sperm counts among western men have more than halved, according to research, but the reason for the decline remains unclear. Researchers analysing nearly 200 studies involving men from North America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand found that sperm concentration has decreased 52.4% in less than 40 years, while total sperm count has decreased by 59.3% over the same period. Hagai Levine, an epidemiologist and lead author of the study from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, said: “The results are quite shocking.” While there are now various infertility treatments that can help to address such a decline, little has been done to identify the root cause. Low sperm counts, for example, could be associated with lifestyle choices and indicate poorer health among men in general. “This is a classic under the radar huge public health problem that is really neglected,” said Levine. The most worrying part of all, he said, is that if the trend continues as it has done, humans would eventually become extinct. Interestingly, no significant decline was witnessed in South America, Asia and Africa, but then far fewer studies have been conducted in these places, so there is much less data to analyse. The findings of the study were published on July 25 in the journal Human Reproduction Update.

The Zika virus detected in the sperm

07/10/2016

                  A collaborative research team from Inserm, CNRS, University III Paul Sabatier of Toulouse and the University Hospital Center of Toulouse (CHU Toulouse) reveal today the presence of the Zika virus within the sperm. This reveal is the result of a real case study realized on Julien, a young man aged 32, recently returned from the French Guiana, who arrives at the CHU Toulouse, manifesting the representative symptoms of the Zika infection. Julien has moderate fever, rash, muscle and joint pain. Two days later, the Zika virus is detected in the plasma and urine of Julien. Eleven samples of sperm, ten of blood and five of urine are then collected and analyzed over a total period of 141 days. After analysis, it appears that Zika virus is found in all the samples up to the 37th day. After that, the virus is only found in semen, where it remains until more than 130 days, while the patient is doing well. The result was confirmed on two other patients to whom the virus has persisted from 69 to 115 days in their semen.   "We have detected the presence of the Zika virus within about 3.5% of the sperm of this patient" explains Guillaume Martin-Blondel, researcher and doctor in the service of Infectious and Tropical Diseases of the University Hospital of Toulouse. The discovery has already agitated the circles acting for the prevention of sexual transmission. "These observations, added Inserm, also raise many questions about the need to include the search for Zika virus when checking sperm donations in fertility centers." They also encourage the basic rule in case of sexual intercourse: protection first.   Source: La Dépêche   

Prototype chlamydia vaccine 'very promising'

21/07/2016

Chlamydia is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections in the world and, at present, there is currently no approved vaccine for human use, and condoms are the best form of protection. However, promising new research from Canada published in the journal Vaccine shows that a chlamydia vaccine prototype administered to mice helped the animals fight off the infection. The team of researchers from McMaster University in Ontario gave the mice two doses of the experimental vaccine via their noses. The animals were then exposed to chlamydia bacteria and the researchers found that the vaccinated mice had fewer instances replicating in their systems. Furthermore, the vaccinated mice were found to be less likely to get damaged fallopian tubes as a result of being infected with the bacteria. Prof James Mahony, from the Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine at McMaster University, said the results were "very promising". "We will trial the vaccine on other animal models before moving on to human trials," he added. In 2015, there were more than 200,000 chlamydia diagnoses in the UK alone, and over half of those were in young people aged between 15 and 24. Chlamydia often doesn't cause any symptoms, so many people do not even know they have it. If left untreated, it can lead to significant long-term health problems, including infertility, which is why this new prototype vaccine is such an exciting breakthrough.

New Study Finds Losing Weight Boosts Male Fertility

09/03/2015

Weight loss has long been advised for women who are struggling to conceive, but now new research shows that obese men who lose weight are more likely to get their partners pregnant. The research – which was recently presented at the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society – was conducted by a team from the University of Sherbrooke in Canada. It is thought to be the first study of its kind and experts say that it represents an interesting alternative to IVF and opened up “real possibilities” for men. The study focussed on 65 couples who had been referred to a fertility clinic. For one year, the men attended weekly group sessions about nutrition and physical activity. It was then discovered that the men who had lost the most weight were the ones who conceived. "This is the first prospective study suggesting that male partners who improve their weight also increase the odds for the couple to conceive,” said Dr Jean-Patrice Baillargeon. He believes that obesity not only affects a man’s sperm count, but also the quality of his sperm. The findings of the study mean that going forward the advice for both men and women who are trying for a baby could be to lose weight in the first instance. France Surgery can help facilitate a number of weight loss procedures here in France. Contact us today to find out more.

The Benefits of Gastric Band Surgery

15/04/2014

Gastric Band Surgery for people who are extremely overweight can be a life-changing occurrence. It’s a procedure that puts in place an adjustable lap band around the upper part of the stomach to restrict its size and slow down the passage of food, making them feel fuller, sooner. The major obvious benefit is the weight loss that patients can expect to see. This is normally around 50% of the original excess weight and often occurs within the first year, but can carry on into the second. In addition, Gastric Band Surgery does not require the patient to follow a strict diet, since the band will reduce the amount of food intake naturally, making it easier than many other weight loss solutions. The procedure itself is considered relatively low risk and since it is often carried out using keyhole surgery, the recovery time is reasonably quick. A standard hospital stay is just one or two nights and most patients can be back to normal activities within a week to ten days. Aside from this weight loss benefit where patients will feel better, have improved confidence and self-esteem and be happier in general, there are major additional health benefits associated with Gastric Band Surgery. No longer will the patient be at high risk of infertility, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and arthritis. So it really is a long term solution for those who are extremely overweight without posing any health risks. If you’d like to find out more about Gastric Band Surgery, contact France Surgery today. We’ll be with you every step of the way.

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