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May 22, 1981

New twist in possible relationship between vasectomy, atherosclerosis

JAMA. 1981;245(20):1991-1993. doi:10.1001/jama.1981.03310450003001

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During the last few years, research in primates showing that vasectomy can aggravate the development of atherosclerosis has caused considerable anxiety among men who have had or are contemplating having vasectomies.

Results of the most recent primate research indicate that the extent of atherosclerosis in vasectomized vs control (sham-operated) monkeys may be linked to the animals' serum cholesterol levels.

Speaking at the meeting of the American Association of Pathologists in Atlanta, Thomas B. Clarkson, DVM, of the Arteriosclerosis Research Center, Bowman Gray School of Medicine, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC, said that he saw the greatest difference in the extent of arterial plaque between vasectomized and control monkeys when the one third of animals with the most extensive lesions in each treatment group were compared.

Another aspect of the project was carried out by Nancy Alexander, PhD, of the Oregon Regional Primate Research Center, Beaverton, who found that antisperm antibodies