The Andrology Australia program is a unique ‘centre without walls’ that operates nationally and brings together health and education experts and organisations from across Australia to develop collaborative strategies to raise the awareness of male reproductive health disorders and their associations with chronic disease.
Multiple factors contribute to a healthy pregnancy, including the quality of the egg and sperm. Sperm quality is an important factor to achieve timely conception, ensure a healthy pregnancy and produce healthy children.
Research recently published in Clinical Chemistry looked at the male partners of women who had experienced recurrent miscarriage. The study assessed the quality of the sperm and the semen, and measured the levels of sex hormones and other reproductive hormones. They compared the results to healthy men without any history of partner miscarriage.
Increases in sperm DNA damage, markers of cell stress in the semen, and abnormal sperm morphology (shape) elevated the risk of recurrent miscarriage in men’s partners. Notably, men’s reproductive hormone levels, such as testosterone, were not significantly associated with recurrent miscarriage when the age of the man was accounted for.
These results highlight that it is important to investigate sperm quality in cases of recurrent miscarriage without a known cause.
Brought to you by Andrology Australia (an RACGP Accredited Activity Provider), in partnership with Your Fertility (an Australian Government funded national public health education program).
When: Wednesday 13 March 2019, 7.00-8.30pm AEDT
Where: At your computer
The 1.5-hour free webinar will be hosted live by Ms Sophie Scott, ABC National Medical Reporter, featuring:
• Current evidence on male and female fertility from fertility specialists
• Ways to incorporate fertility and preconception health education into your practice
• Facilitated discussions, including patient perspectives, responding to your questions at registration and during the webinar
• GP resource pack
Learn about current evidence and resources available to support your clinical practice.
RACGP accreditation for 3 CPD points (Category 2) pending.
To be eligible for the CPD points, participants must be logged in for the live webinar.
Ms Sophie Scott is the national medical reporter for the ABC, with her stories appearing on ABC news, 7:30, ABC radio and online. Among her awards is the Australian Museum Eureka prize for medical journalism, and she is a highly respected and sought-after health presenter. Sophie has hosted and spoken at the Research Australia awards dinner, the Mayo Clinic social media conference, Royal Australian College of Physicians conference and many mental health and patient-centred events. She is on the board of the Australian Medical Association Charitable Foundation NSW, is an ambassador for Bowel Cancer and Pain Australia and on the advisory board for the Australian Mental Health Prize. Thousands of her readers regularly respond to her blog on health and happinessand @sophiescott2 on Twitter and Instagram.
Prof Rob McLachlan AM, FRACP, PhD, Director of Andrology Australia, is a NHMRC Principal Research Fellow at the Hudson Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne and is Deputy Director of Endocrinology at the Monash Medical Centre. He specialises in the area of male reproductive medicine and has made significant contributions to research in endocrinology, infertility and andrology. He combines his academic career with clinical practice as a consultant in these fields. Rob’s talk is titled, “Update on male fertility: factors affecting sperm number and quality“.
Dr Shannon Zawada, BSc (Hons), MBBS, MMed, FRANZCOG, is a Fertility specialist at Genea in Sydney and works as an Obstetrician/Gynaecologist at Canterbury Hospital. Shannon is a Lecturer at the University of Sydney in Perinatal and Women’s Health. After obtaining her FRANZCOG she completed subspecialty training in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. She has a Masters of Medicine in Reproductive Health and Human Genetics and is researching the accessibility of Fertility treatment and hormone assays in IVF cycles.
Shannon’s talk is titled, “Update on factors affecting female fertility“.
Dr Magdalena Simonis, MBBS, FRACGP, DRANZCOG, is a GP, a fellow of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) and an honorary research fellow with the Department of General Practice, University of Melbourne, with expertise in implementation of evidence-based practices in health delivery. She is on the board of Women’s Health Victoria, is President of the Victorian Medical Women’s Society and the Strategy and Policy Committee for Breast Cancer Network Australia. Her articles are regularly published in Medical Republic and she has been an RACGP representative to senate enquiries. Magdalena believes fertility issues encompass women’s health, general health and relationship discussions, hence are a central aspect of the care GPs deliver to the patients over their life cycle. Magda’s talk is titled, “Addressing preconception health with our male and female patients”.
By the end of this activity, participants will be able to:
1. Develop or draft a system that ensures that all male and female patients of child-bearing age are regularly (ie. yearly or as appropriate) asked the question about reproductive life plan.
2. Identify and address barriers to implementing preconception care for male and female patients in the GP setting.
3. Initiate preconception health discussions with male and female patients.
4. Use appropriate strategies to engage male and female patients of child-bearing age in preconception care in the context of a general GP consultation.
5. Summarise the key modifiable factors that affect male fertility and female fertility.
Type 2 diabetes (T2D) occurs when the body is unable to control blood sugar levels and becomes insensitive (unresponsive) to the hormone insulin.
This year heralds the outcomes of a 2-year Australian-led clinical trial to determine whether treatment with testosterone, added to a lifestyle-based weight management program, prevents T2D in men at high risk for the disease, or reverses it in those men newly diagnosed.
The testosterone for diabetes mellitus (T4DM) study, conducted across six sites in Australia is the “the largest, and longest duration, testosterone clinical trial ever undertaken” explains Professor Gary Wittert who is the Study Chair.
The prevalence of T2D is reaching epidemic proportions worldwide and in Australia is more common in men than women. The incidence of T2D in men increases markedly after the age of 50 and it is now the seventh leading cause of death in men.(1) Recent data show that in Australia 1 in 16, or about 780,000 adult men, have T2D.(2)
What does testosterone have to do with this?
One of the complications of obesity, particularly when the excess fat accumulates around the abdominal area is a decrease in blood testosterone levels.(3) Studies have shown that low testosterone and obesity are strongly linked with an increased risk of T2D.(4)
It is not clear to what extent low testosterone is influencing the development of diabetes in overweight men; it could be an innocent bystander, or it could be very important.
Could testosterone therapy be the magic bullet?
Losing weight reduces the risk of diabetes, and also increases natural testosterone levels. This is great news, but could giving men extra testosterone to boost their natural levels reduce their risk of diabetes even further? Would testosterone treatment reverse T2D in men newly diagnosed with the disease? Does testosterone treatment have any other health benefits, and is it safe?
These are the burning questions that the T4DM clinical trial aims to answer.
Since 2013, just over one thousand overweight men between the ages of 50 and 74 years, who had low testosterone levels and were at risk of, or had newly diagnosed T2D have been recruited to the study.
In collaboration with Weight Watchers, men were randomly allocated to one of two study groups: a weight loss program with testosterone treatment or a weight loss program with placebo (no testosterone) treatment.(5)
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2018) Australia’s Health 2018. Australia’s health series no. 16. AUS 221. Canberra: AIHW.
Australian Bureau of Statistics (2015) National Health Survey. First Results Australia 2014-15. Cat. no. 4364.0.55.001. Canberra: ABS.
Shi Z, Araujo AB, Martin S, et al. (2013) Longitudinal Changes in Testosterone Over Five Years in Community-Dwelling Men. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. 98(8):3289-3297.
Gyawali P, Martin SA, Heilbronn LK, et al. (2018) The role of sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), testosterone, and other sex steroids, on the development of type 2 diabetes in a cohort of community-dwelling middle-aged to elderly men. Acta Diabetol. 55(8):861-872.
Wittert G, Atlantis E, Allan C, et al. (2018) Testosterone therapy to prevent type 2 diabetes mellitus in at-risk men (T4DM): Design and implementation of a double-blind randomized controlled trial. Diabetes Obes Metab. doi: 10.1111/dom.13601. [Epub ahead of print]
Alcohol is a known carcinogen and heavy consumption is linked to a range of cancers, including breast, throat and mouth, and liver cancers. To date the jury has been out on whether heavy drinking increases the risk of prostate cancer with mixed evidence across different studies.
A study published recently in Cancer Prevention Research aimed to assess the impact of alcohol intake across the life stages and see if it is linked to a prostate cancer diagnosis. The US-based study surveyed 650 men undergoing a prostate biopsy for their alcohol intake over each decade of life.
The study found that heavy drinking itself did not increase the odds of a prostate cancer diagnosis. However, when a prostate cancer diagnosis was received, the grade or aggressiveness of the cancer was significantly higher compared with men that drank moderately or lightly during their lifetime. These findings indicate that the prostate may be susceptible to carcinogenic exposures, such as alcohol, quite early in life.
Androgenic steroid use is rising in the general population. It is now a major health concern particularly for young men. It is estimated that up to one in 15 men use or have-used androgens, often in combination with other performance and image enhancing drugs.
Serious side effects of using androgens may include heart disease, brain and liver injury, infertility and a number of other conditions. Given that these drugs are often unregulated or not used for their correct purpose, the extent of possible side effects in otherwise healthy men aren’t well understood.
A recent study published in the Journal of Internal Medicine by researchers in Denmark investigated death rates and the presence of a range related conditions in a large number of male gym-users that had used androgens. Their findings showed a significant increase in the risk of death and other health conditions in these men.
Issue 69 of The Healthy Male newsletter is out now. This edition looks back over the year that was, reflecting on the great efforts and national motivation to bring improvements to men’s health over the next decade. We would also like to take this opportunity to wish you all a great festive season and a happy New Year!
Also in this issue:
Focus on: Enlarged breast tissue in men – causes and treatments
Our Focus on theme looks at gynaecomastia in men, a common condition resulting in breast tissue growth due to a hormone imbalance. The piece talks about symptoms, causes and treatments of gynaecomastia .
Health Spot: High blood sugar and male fertility
Diabetes is known to affect male fertility and sexual function. A recent study has shown a concerning link between having pre-diabetes (high blood sugar) and poor sperm concentration and quality.
Erectile dysfunction is generally considered a secondary problem to poor health in men, such as being overweight or having diabetes. However, a new study has found that in some men, their erectile dysfunction may be caused by genetic changes in their DNA that affects sexual function.
For these stories and more, download The Healthy Male, Summer 2018.
Find out more about our newsletter on men’s health, The Healthy Male, and subscribe – it’s free!
Earlier this year Andrology Australia ran a nationwide study reaching out to adult males of all ages and backgrounds to help us understand the best ways to communicate health messages to men.
A big THANK YOU to those that kindly took part in our online survey or participated in a focus group! Your contribution will help Andrology Australia best reach out to different groups of men with relevant health messages.
A summary of the main findings is now available on our website and can be accessed here.
It is likely that some cases of erectile dysfunction are caused in part by genetics. But until recently, no single gene had been specifically found for a genetic link with erectile dysfunction.
Now researchers think they may have found a gene that is linked with the risk of erectile function in later life. The SIM1 gene is already known to play a part in sexual function and according to a recent report in the science journal PNAS, it could be linked to erectile dysfunction.
Thousands of DNA codes of men with erectile dysfunction were compared to the DNA codes of men without symptoms. The researchers pinpointed a region of DNA very close to the SIM1 gene where the code was more likely to be different in men with erectile dysfunction.
This discovery may help to understand the cause of erectile dysfunction in some men, and lead to new treatments to treat it.
To coincide with Fertility Week, 15-21 October 2018, Andrology Australia are pleased to present a brand new factsheet for men who are planning to become dads.
Being healthy before trying for a baby is important for both parents, but sometimes the health of the man in the relationship is overlooked. A man’s health and lifestyle can affect the chances of getting his partner pregnant as well as the future health of children who inherit his genes.
Pre-conception health for dads includes five key actions!