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First 3-D movies of living sperm provide detailed imaging

February 12, 2014


Washington, Feb 12 (ANI): Doctors may soon have a new technique to help them sort the good sperm cells from the less viable ones: a tracking system, developed by a team of researchers from four European institutions, that takes 3-D movies of living sperm.

In addition to showing the sperm's movement and behavior in real time, the novel method simultaneously provides detailed 3-D imaging of the sperm's form and structure to detect potential infertility-causing anomalies, such as the "bent tail" that prevents the cells from swimming straight.

The researchers said that this is the first technique for collecting data on sperm cell motility-a key predictor of IVF success-in three dimensions and over time.

Currently, sperm concentration and mobility in semen are assessed either by subjective visual evaluation or a process known as computer-assisted sperm analysis (CASA).

While the latter provides more detail and fewer errors than the former, CASA still only allows tracking and imaging in two dimensions.

In their new technique, the team of researchers from Italy and Belgium combined microscopy and holography-the creation of 3-D images-to visualize live sperm in not only two dimensions (the x and y positions) but according to their depth (z position) as well.

The research is paper published in The Optical Society's (OSA) open-access journal Biomedical Optics Express. (ANI)

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Source: Asian News International

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