Don't Take The Name 'Laptop' Literally

Years after laptops became a required tool of business, we learn the heat they generate can make men infertile if they put them on their laps.

Men: Not only is that warm feeling you're experiencing not love, it might in fact threaten your lineage.

Fertility researchers at the State University of New York at Stony Brook say that men who use their laptop computers on their laps could be diminishing their ability to father children. Some might immediately point to wireless connections. But the culprit seems to be heat generated by laptop computers and the way men usually hold their thighs together to support the computer.

"We encourage people to be aware of the environment that the computer is sitting in," said Anne Camden, spokeswoman for Dell's Latitude (corporate) laptop group. "Laptops will always need ventilation. They shouldn't sit for very long on something soft or something that will block the fans."

Laptop users want the thinnest, fastest laptops possible and that creates a conflict. Fast laptops are fast because they have powerful chips, chips often from desktop computers, chips that generate a lot of heat. Dell's fastest laptops generally are physically deeper than those which sport slower chips. The extra, air-filled space helps keep the chips from overheating, Camden says.

So, will Dell be coming out with some sort of lap cooler or maybe an elevated lap platform? "I'll suggest it to peripherals," she said.

The report, which is expected to be published in the February 2005 issue of the journal Human Reproduction was led by researcher Yefim Sheynkin, director of male infertility and microsurgery at Stony Brook. He couldn't be reached for comment.

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