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"Dinner and drinks" may take on a new, more provocative meaning.
03 February, 2019
Photo credit: Peter Ruck / BIPs / Getty Images
- Scientist propose a layered cocktail as a future male contraceptive.
- Chemical layers block the flow of sperm and can be dissolved with near-infrared light.
- Tiny umbrella not included.
<p><a href="https://www.pinterest.com/doubbleg/-drinks-layered-alcohol-drinks-recipes/" target="_blank" data-vivaldi-spatnav-clickable="1">Layered drinks</a> are definitely a thing. Whether it's a <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3sMEr6K10AQ" target="_blank" data-vivaldi-spatnav-clickable="1">Paradise Cocktail</a> for grownups or a California Adventure <a href="https://hellogiggles.com/news/infinity-fizz-pixar-pier-drink-disneyland/" target="_blank" data-vivaldi-spatnav-clickable="1">Infinity Fizz</a> for kids, these colorful comestibles have <a href="https://www.revolvy.com/page/Layered-drink" target="_blank" data-vivaldi-spatnav-clickable="1">been around</a> a while — they first appeared as <em>pousse-cafés</em> in France around the beginning of the 20th century. The drinks involve a sciency mixology that leverages the differing <a href="https://www.thespruceeats.com/layering-drinks-and-shots-gravity-chart-760326" target="_blank" data-vivaldi-spatnav-clickable="1">specific gravities</a> of multiple liquids to achieve and maintain layers. And here's a new variant: A male contraceptive layered drink. </p><p>In "A Cocktail-Inspired Male Birth Control Strategy with Physical/Chemical Dual Contraceptive Effects and Remote Self-Cleared Properties," published in <a href="http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acsnano.8b06683" target="_blank" data-vivaldi-spatnav-clickable="1"><em>ACS Nano</em></a>, scientists from China reveal their new menu item.<span></span></p>
In search of a medium-term contraceptive solution<p>There are basically three ways currently to achieve male contraception: condoms, pharmaceuticals, and surgery. The search for a more convenient, less expensive and prone to side effects, and reversible solution, led them to their layered cocktail. </p><p>The fact that such a drinks layers combine when it is warmed is what led them to the idea.</p><img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xOTE0MjU0MS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzMDQ0NzkwNn0.gwKpezQsmosOAGDAnL-X5qWFLMDZyhhWRgROyKDaflA/img.jpg?width=980" id="164dd" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="70c5d8e87397468c269aa2007afbdd64" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
(Bao, et al)
How it works<p>The proposed cocktail would allow the deployment of chemical layers that combine to form a durable wall in the vas deferens that blocks the flow of sperm from the testicles to the urethra .</p><p>The researchers have been trying out their mix on rats, injecting layers of hydrogel, followed by gold nanoparticles, hydrogel-dissolver and sperm-killer ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA), and finally a second layer of gold nanoparticles. Their subjects were allowed to mate for a couple of months, during which time none of their partners became pregnant.</p><img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xOTE0MjU0Mi9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0MjI3NTAyNn0.invv_0LXfo8U3cJ-a87lE2aP6DSy3-uNlMF0UdOlRNE/img.jpg?width=980" id="84253" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="775373eb5200dc07c00933ea509fb07b" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
(Bao, et al)
How it can be reversed<p>As with any Sparkle Magic Jello Shot, the application of heat causes the layers to mix, breaking down the wall and restoring the flow of sperm. Indeed, when the rats' were exposed to near-infrared light for just a few minutes, the irradiation heated up the gold nanoparticles, causing the wall layers to mix, the EDTA to break up the hydrogel, successfully, as the scientists put it, "unplugging the pipeline." The rodents began once again to impregnate their mates who produced offspring in about a month.</p><img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xOTE0MjU0OC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0NTk4MzY2N30.vQOJuC97RpFqqGOsdSyiY80SNSmGevsuONC1_3vXLxo/img.jpg?width=980" id="0c2ed" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="010f2de2de49f0c094ffddbe034e4989" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Caveats<p>The results being so promising, the researchers are now working to test the safety of these compounds on other animals prior to testing on humans. </p><p>In addition, it's not completely clear how long the contraception provided with this method can last in vivo. There's also concern that the chemicals could cause inflammation, or an unhealthy build-up of blocked sperm.</p><p>Then, of course, there's the question of whether any woman will trust her future to a contraceptive cousin of the <a href="https://www.revolvy.com/page/Slippery-nipple" target="_blank" data-vivaldi-spatnav-clickable="1">Slippery Nipple</a>. </p>
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A new study from Johns Hopkins University supports making birth control pills available without a prescription.
19 March, 2017
Teenagers attend a party in a nightclub during Australian 'schoolies' celebrations following the end of the year 12 exams on November 25, 2013 in Kuta, Indonesia. (Photo by Agung Parameswara/Getty Images)
<p class="p1">A <a href="http://www.jahonline.org/article/S1054-139X(17)30023-X/abstract" target="_blank">new study</a> from John Hopkins University supports the case that women should be able to get birth control pills without having to get a prescription from a doctor. Researchers found that oral contraceptives can be safely sold over the counter to women of all ages.</p> <p class="p1">A team of experts in pediatric, adolescent and women’s health reviewed years of data to come to their conclusion that the pill, already the most popular form of hormonal birth control in the U.S., should be available with even fewer restrictions. They <a href="http://www.jahonline.org/article/S1054-139X(17)30023-X/pdf" target="_blank">called</a> the need to get a prescription "a barrier to contraceptive initiation and continuation for women, in particular adolescents."</p> <p class="p1">The study also pointed to the need to make it easier for teens to get contraceptives.</p> <blockquote> <p class="p3"><span class="s1">“Decades of research show that a majority of adolescents initiate sex before the age of 18 and that earlier use of contraception reduces the risk of teen pregnancy. Our review strongly suggests that giving teens easier access to various contraceptives will not lead to more sex but would result in fewer unwanted pregnancies,” <a href="http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/experts_find_strong_case_for_over_the_counter_oral_contraceptives_for_adults_and_teens" target="_blank">said</a> Professor and doctor <a href="http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/profiles/results/directory/profile/9987803/krishna-upadhya" target="_blank"><span class="s2">Krishna Upadhya</span></a></span><span class="s2">, </span><span class="s1">the paper’s lead author.</span></p> </blockquote> <p class="p5">In fact, the team thinks it might be easier for teens to be in a routine of taking contraceptives when the situation is removed from emotional and sexual pressures. Basically - on a cooler head. </p> <blockquote> <p class="p3"><span class="s1">“Oral contraceptives are popular, safe and effective methods of pregnancy prevention for women and teens. Our review emphasizes that any future over-the-counter pill has the potential to benefit teens, and there is no scientific rationale to restrict access based on age,” <a href="http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/experts_find_strong_case_for_over_the_counter_oral_contraceptives_for_adults_and_teens" target="_blank">emphasized</a> Upadhya.</span></p> </blockquote> <p class="p4">The issue of whether women should have easier access to “the pill” is politicized and cause of medical debate. Some doctors believe that the pill can only be taken with medical supervision due to its potential health hazards. Religious groups are also against more access to contraceptives. </p> <p class="p5">Others, like the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, officially endorse the idea. Changing the law on a federal level has proved elusive so proponents of allowing over-the-counter sale of contraceptives have focused on states. Measures that let people to see pharmacists instead of doctors to get contraceptives passed in Oregon and California. </p> <p class="p5">You can read the study <a href="http://www.jahonline.org/article/S1054-139X(17)30023-X/pdf" target="_blank">here</a>, in the <em>Journal of Adolescent Health.</em></p>
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