您现在的位置: 纽约时报中英文网 >> 纽约时报中英文版 >> 观点 >> 正文

你的精子还好吗?

更新时间:2017-3-14 10:25:49 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Are Your Sperm in Trouble?
你的精子还好吗?

Let’s begin with sex.

先从性说起。

As a couple finishes its business, millions of sperm begin theirs: rushing toward an egg to fertilize it. But these days, scientists say, an increasing proportion of sperm — now about 90 percent in a typical young man — are misshapen, sometimes with two heads or two tails.

一对夫妻结束房事之后,数以百万计的精子就开始了自己的工作:冲向一枚卵子并使其受孕。但科学家们表示,如今精子畸形的比例越来越高——在年轻男子中的比例约为90%——有时有两个头或两个尾巴。

Even when properly shaped, today’s sperm are often pathetic swimmers, veering like drunks or paddling crazily in circles. Sperm counts also appear to have dropped sharply in the last 75 years, in ways that affect our ability to reproduce.

即使形状正常,如今的精子也大多不擅游泳,它们像醉汉一样搞不清方向,或者疯狂地原地打转。在过去的75年里,精子数量也急剧下降,影响了我们的繁殖能力。

“There’s been a decrease not only in sperm numbers, but also in their quality and swimming capacity, their ability to deliver the goods,” said Shanna Swan, an epidemiologist at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, who notes that researchers have also linked semen problems to shorter life expectancy.

“不仅精子数量下降,而且它们的质量、游泳能力以及完成任务的能力也有所下降,”西奈山伊坎医学院(Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai)的流行病学家莎娜·斯旺(Shanna Swan)说。她还指出,研究者认为,精液问题与预期寿命缩短有关。

Perhaps you were expecting another column about political missteps in Washington, and instead you’ve been walloped with talk of bad swimmers. Yet this isn’t just a puzzling curiosity, but is rather an urgent concern that affects reproduction, possibly even our species’ future.

也许你本来以为会读到又一篇关于华盛顿政治失误的专栏,却被关于游泳水平糟糕的精子的话题击中。不过,这不仅是一个令人迷惑的难题,还是一个紧迫的问题,它影响到繁殖,甚至我们物种的未来。

Andrea Gore, a professor of pharmacology at the University of Texas at Austin and the editor of the journal Endocrinology, put it to me this way: “Semen quality and fertility in men have decreased. Not everyone who wants to reproduce will be able to. And the costs of male disorders to quality of life, and the economic burden to society, are inestimable.”

德克萨斯大学奥斯汀分校(University of Texas at Austin)的药理学教授、《内分泌》(Endocrinology)杂志的编辑安德烈·戈尔(Andrea Gore)这样对我说:“男性的精液质量和生育能力下降了。不是每个想繁殖后代的人都能实现愿望。男性功能紊乱对生活质量的影响以及给社会造成的经济负担是不可估量的。”

Human and animal studies suggest that a crucial culprit is a common class of chemical called endocrine disruptors, found in plastics, cosmetics, couches, pesticides and countless other products. Because of the environmental links, The New Yorker once elegantly referred to the crisis as “silent sperm,” and innumerable studies over 25 years add to the concern that the world’s sperm are in trouble.

人类和动物研究表明,罪魁祸首是塑料、化妆品、沙发、农药以及其他无数产品中常见的一种被统称为内分泌干扰物的化学物质。鉴于它与环境的关系,《纽约客》(The New Yorker)曾把这种危机文雅地称为“无声的精子”,25年来的无数研究最终导致了这种忧虑:这个世界的精子遇到了麻烦。

And so are men and boys. Apparently related to the problem of declining semen quality is an increase in testicular cancer in many countries; in undescended testicles; and in a congenital malformation of the penis called hypospadias (in which the urethra exits the side or base of the penis instead of the tip). These problems are often found together and are labeled testicular dysgenesis syndrome.

男人和男孩们也遇到了麻烦。与精液质量下降明显相关的问题包括:很多国家的睾丸癌病例增加了;隐睾病例增加了;一种名为尿道下裂的先天性阴茎畸形的病例也增加了(尿道口位于阴茎侧面或底部,而非末端)。这些问题经常是一起发现的,被统称为睾丸发育不良综合征。

There is still disagreement about the scale of the problem, and the data aren’t always reliable. But some scientists are beginning to ask, At some point, will we face a crisis in human reproduction? Might we do to ourselves what we did to bald eagles in the 1950s and 1960s?

关于该问题的严重性仍存在分歧,数据并不总是可靠。不过有些科学家开始思考:我们何时会面临人类繁殖危机?我们现在对自己做的事,是否正是我们在20世纪50、60年代对秃鹰做的事?

“I think we are at a turning point,” Niels Erik Skakkebaek, a Danish fertility scholar and pioneer in this field, told me. “It is a matter of whether we can sustain ourselves.”

“我认为我们处在一个转折点上,”丹麦生育学者、这一领域的先驱尼尔斯·埃里克·斯卡克贝克(Niels Erik Skakkebaek)在接受采访时说。“这关乎我们能否持续存在下去。”

One recent study found that of sperm donor applicants in Hunan Province, China, 56 percent qualified in 2001 because their sperm met standards of healthiness. By 2015, only 18 percent qualified.

最近的一项研究发现,2001年,中国湖南省的精子捐献申请者中有56%的人精子符合健康标准。到2015年,只有18%的申请者合格。

“The semen quality among young Chinese men has declined over a period of 15 years,” concluded the study, which involved more than 30,000 men.

“中国年轻男性的精液质量在15年内下降了,”这项涉及三万多人的研究认为。

Perhaps even more alarming, Canadian scientists conducted a seven-year experiment on a lake in Ontario, adding endocrine disrupting chemicals and then observing the impact on fathead minnows. The chemicals had a devastating impact on males, often turning them into intersex fish, with characteristics of both sexes but incapable of reproducing.

下面这项发现也许更令人担忧。加拿大科学家在安大略省进行了一项为期7年的实验,往一个湖里添加干扰内分泌的化学物质,然后观察它对胖头米诺鱼的影响。这些化学品对雄鱼产生了毁灭性影响,往往把它们变成了双性鱼——雌雄同体却无法繁殖。

The crisis for male reproductive health seems to begin in utero. Male and female fetuses start pretty much the same, and then hormones drive differentiation of males from females. The problem seems to be that endocrine disrupting chemicals mimic hormones and confuse this process, interfering with the biological process of becoming male.

男性生殖健康的危机似乎始于子宫。男性和女性胎儿一开始几乎完全相同,然后激素促使出现男女分化。问题似乎是内分泌干扰物与激素相似,混淆了这个过程,干扰了长成男性的生物过程。

How should we protect ourselves? Swan said she avoids plastics as much as possible, including food or drinks that have touched plastic or been heated in plastic. She recommends eating organic to avoid pesticide residues, and avoiding Tylenol and other painkillers during pregnancy. Receipts from thermal printers, like at gas pumps and A.T.M.s, are also suspect. When in doubt, she consults guides at ewg.org/consumer-guides.

我们应该如何保护自己?斯旺说,她会尽量避免使用塑料,包括接触塑料或在塑料容器中加热的食物或饮料。她建议食用有机作物,避免吸收农药残留,怀孕期间不使用泰诺(Tylenol)等止痛药。热敏纸收据也很可疑,比如加油机或自动提款机打印的那种。有所疑问时,她会在ewg.org/consumer-guides网站查阅相关指南。

Yet this isn’t just a matter of individual action, but is also a public policy issue that affects tens of millions of people, their capacity to reproduce and their health and life expectancy.

不过,这不仅是一个个人行为问题,而且是一个影响数千万人的繁殖能力、健康状况和预期寿命的公共政策问题。

What’s needed above all is more aggressive regulation of endocrine disrupting chemicals. America has been much slower than Europe to regulate toxic chemicals, and most chemicals sold in the U.S. have never been tested for safety.

首先要做的是更严格地限制内分泌干扰物的使用。在监管有毒化学品方面,美国的行动要比欧洲慢得多,美国出售的大部分化学品从未进行过安全性测试。

The larger question is why we allow the chemical industry — by spending $100,000 on lobbying per member of Congress — to buy its way out of effective regulation of endocrine disruptors. The industry’s deceit marks a replay of Big Tobacco’s battle against regulation of smoking.

更大的问题是,我们为什么会允许化工产业在每个国会议员身上花费10万美元进行游说,从而取消对内分泌干扰物的有效监管。该行业的欺诈是大烟草公司反对监管吸烟的重演。

If you doubt the stakes, look at the image with this column of a hapless sperm swimming in circles, and remember this: Our human future will only be as healthy as our sperm.

如果你对此有所怀疑,请看看本专栏随附的图像——一只不幸的精子在原地打转——并记住这一点:我们人类未来的健康取决于精子的健康程度。

“全文请访问纽约时报中文网,本文发表于纽约时报中文网(http://cn.nytimes.com),版权归纽约时报公司所有。任何单位及个人未经许可,不得擅自转载或翻译。订阅纽约时报中文网新闻电邮:http://nytcn.me/subscription/”

相关文章列表