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GenNext may suffer from physical deformities

SCIENTISTS APPREHEND poor life quality of human beings in the coming years. A large number of children may fall prey to physical deformities, behavioural abnormalities and mental retardation.

india Updated: Oct 29, 2006 00:54 IST
G P Varma
G P Varma

SCIENTISTS APPREHEND poor life quality of human beings in the coming years. A large number of children may fall prey to physical deformities, behavioural abnormalities and mental retardation.

This was stated by an eminent scientist and deputy director at the Regional Occupational Health Centre, Kolkata, a wing of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Dr Amal Roy Chowdhury, while talking to Hindustan Times. He was here to address a symposium at the DAV College on “Male reproductive toxicology — A new challenge”.

Dr Amal has been engaged in carrying out extensive researches on the male reproductive toxicology. During some of his studies he has found that men living in urban areas especially in metropolitan towns and working amidst highly polluted environment suffered from declining sperm count.

He said that besides low sperm count the polluted environment has also found to have caused loss of functional competence of spermatozoa, developed defects in acrosomol enzymes and led to the disintegration of sperm nucleus. Over all the exposure to chemicals either from natural sources or from manmade processes has caused harmful effects on male reproduction.

Dr Amal said that during the studies he found that the exposure to different kinds of work has changed the sexual behaviour, libido and potency of men folk.

Besides, increased spontaneous abortions and infertility in their wives were also noticed.

He said that impairment in the process of sperm formation after long exposure to different chemicals resulted in excessive generation of Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) by spermatozoa which in turn damaged both sperm plasma membrane and its genome. He said oxidative damage to sperm head DNA and nuclear protein were observed after exposure to cadmium, nickel and cobalt. These defective sperm cells transmit wrong genetic information from generation to generation and produced various heath impairments in subsequent generations.

He said that the studies have revealed that working amidst heavy metals, lead, mercury chromium, fluoride selenium (used in electronic and cosmetic industry) has awfully hampered the reproductive capacity of the people.

Substantiating his research findings he said that the UNO which had initiated the research on human reproductive toxicology had found that almost in all the metropolitan cities of the world the semen quality of human beings and the bio-chemical parameters pertaining to the quality of semen were declining fast due to living or working in highly polluted areas. The research scientists all over the globe were worried as to how they could save the future generation from the physical deformities.

Dr Amal said that the sperm count in men had witnessed a decrease of ten to 20 per cent during the past ten years and it was still on decrease. In case the sperm count was allowed to decline the future offspring of human beings would suffer from weak memory, slow mind action, unforeseen physical deformities, short height, neural diseases and several other genetic problems.

He said since the rate of pollution in the rural areas was less the sperm count in men was relatively good there. He said that it was high time to create awareness among the people and especially among those who had been destroying the environment to check its deterioration in the wider interests of the posterity. He urged the NGOs to take lead in the matter and make all efforts for a healthy future generation.

First Published: Oct 29, 2006 00:54 IST