Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Smoking may damage your sperm, study finds

Here's a great reason to get your hubby/boyfriend to stop smoking- it can damage sperm, Canadian researchers report. Read the rest of the article to get a better understanding: ____________________________________________________

A study in mice shows that cigarette smoke caused changes in the DNA of sperm cells, the researchers said in this week's issue of the journal Cancer Research. Such mutations, know as germline mutations, are known to be permanent.

"If inherited, these mutations persist as irreversible changes in the genetic composition of offspring," said Carole Yauk of Health Canada's Environmental and Occupational Toxicology Division, who led the study.

"We have known that mothers who smoke can harm their fetuses, and here we show evidence that fathers can potentially damage offspring long before they may even meet their future mate."

Yauk and colleagues studied the stem cells that produce sperm in mice exposed to cigarette smoke for either six or 12 weeks. All male mammals continuously produce sperm.

They found 1.7 times as many DNA mutations in the cells of the smoke-exposed mice as in those of the unexposed mice after 12 week, and 1.4 times as many mutations after six weeks.

"This suggests that damage is related to the duration of exposure, so the longer you smoke the more mutations accumulate and the more likely a potential effect may arise in the offspring," Yauk said.


Monday, June 04, 2007

Looking for a baby name? Let technology help with Nymbler

Just spent the past few minutes playing with Nymbler, a new website that helps you research baby names.

Type in a name, and Nymbler will tell you a bit about the name, it’s origin, how popular it is, when it was the most popular and give you other suggested names based on names that are also popular in states where your name is popular, as well as toss in some more names that are similar in style and ethnic origin.

For example, my name, Clint, is a boy’s name of English origin that has a country-western accent. Clint was most popular in 1980 and is currently not among the top 1000 U.S. boys’ names.

Hmmm, not sure about wether or not I like the country-western accent bit, but I suppose that when you’ve got the same name as Clint Black and the original duster Clint Eastwood the connection is inevitable.

The site is based on work by Laura Wattenberg, author of The Baby Name Wizard: A Magical Method for Finding the Perfect Name for Your Baby. When researching a name, Laura looks at all of the ingredients that make up a name’s distinctive style — not just origins but popularity, history, ethnic, religious and literary associations, even pop-culture references.

The site is definitely U.S. centric and aimed at an American audience as it pulls all of it’s information from US records. It would be great if you could also see name information about other countries. Beside that, Nymbler is a pretty fun little tool to add into the mix when trying to come up with a baby name.