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Medicine (Baltimore). 2015 Jul;94(28):e1166. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000001166.

Lifestyles Associated With Human Semen Quality: Results From MARHCS Cohort Study in Chongqing, China.

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From the Institute of Toxicology (HuanY, QC, NZ, LS, LT, HC, GZ, LH, XW, PZ, KP, KL, TL, ZC, JL, LA, JC), College of Preventive Medicine, Third Military Medical University; The Key Laboratory of Birth Defects and Reproductive Health of National Health and Family Planning Commission (Chongqing Population and Family Planning Science and Technology Research Institute) (HB, LL, MM, HaoY); and Department of Environmental Hygiene (ZZ), College of Preventive Medicine, Third Military Medical University, Chongqing, P.R. China.


Decline of semen quality in past decades is suggested to be potentially associated with environmental and sociopsychobehavioral factors, but data from population-based cohort studies is limited. The male reproductive health in Chongqing College students (MARHCS) study was established in June 2013 as a perspective cohort study that recruited voluntary male healthy college students from 3 universities in Chongqing. The primary objectives of the MARHCS study are to investigate the associations of male reproductive health in young adults with sociopsychobehavioral factors, as well as changes of environmental exposure due to the relocation from rural campus (in University Town) to metro-campus (in central downtown). A 93-item questionnaire was used to collect sociopsychobehavioral information in manner of interviewer-interviewing, and blood, urine and semen samples were collected at the same time. The study was initiated with 796 healthy young men screened from 872 participants, with a median age of 20. About 81.8% of this population met the WHO 2010 criteria on semen quality given to the 6 routine parameters. Decreases of 12.7%, 19.8%, and 17.0%, and decreases of 7.7%, 17.6%, and 14.7% in total sperm count and sperm concentration, respectively, were found to be associated with the tertiles of accumulated smoking amount. Fried food consumption (1-2  times/wk or ≥3  times/wk vs nonconsumers) was found to be associated with decreased total sperm count (10.2% or 24.5%) and sperm concentration (13.7% or 17.2%), respectively. Coffee consumption was found to be associated with increased progressive and nonprogressive motility of 8.9% or 15.4% for subjects consuming 1-2  cups/wk or ≥3  cups/wk of coffee, respectively. Cola consumption appeared an association with decreased semen volume at 4.1% or 12.5% for 1-2  bottles/wk or ≥3  bottles/wk. A cohort to investigate the effects of environmental/sociopsychobehavioral factors act on semen quality was successfully set up. We found smoking, coffee/cola/fried foods consumption to be significantly associated with semen quality from the baseline investigation.

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