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Friday, 2 November, 2001, 00:51 GMT
Could men become extinct?
Men find it difficult to communicate their fears
A leading expert on men's health predicts that his sex risk becoming extinct unless their basic approach to health issues changes.

Professor Siegfried Meryn, from the University of Vienna in Austria, believes that over the past 25 years men's role in society, in the home and at work has dramatically changed.

Women now have a higher emotional intelligence and better social competence then men and are much more in control of their own lives than they used to be

Professor Siegfried Meryn
And women have become the more dominant members of society.

"What will be the implications of the redefinition of men's roles within the family, work and society on their health?," wrote Professor Siegfried.

"Will there come a time when they may not be needed at all?"

With the advent of sperm banks, in-vitro fertilisation, sex sorting techniques, sperm independent fertilisation of eggs with somatic cells, human cloning and same sex marriages it is a distinct possibility, he argues.

His editorial in the British Medical Journal coincides with the first World Congress on Men's Health in Vienna, where experts are examining the impact men's altered role in society is having on their health.

Threat to masculinity

Professor Siegfried, president of the congress, said: "Women now have a higher emotional intelligence and better social competence then men and are much more in control of their own lives than they used to be.

"Men are not necessarily at the top of the hierarchy in their work-place and their role in the family has completely changed.

But he says men are trying to hang on to the past and cannot accept the increasing threats to their masculinity.

Professor Siegfried stresses that unless there is a fundamental change to their approach to fit in with today's society, problems will ensue.

He calls for a new approach in the advertisement and promotion of men's health in a positive way and the creation of more anonymous 'men-friendly' advice lines.

Loss of control

Ian Banks, president of the European Men's Health Forum, says that men are put off going to the doctor because they see it as losing control.

They find it difficult to express their fears about their health and their knowledge of health matters is often poor.

Information on men's health is not as widely available as that on women's issues.

And men are also less likely to respond to health promotion information from leaflets and advertising.

He believes that anonymous, confidential services such as NHS Direct Online, which has already proved a success with men, should be expanded.

Steve Jones, Professor of Genetics, UCL
"Women are going to be the new men"
See also:

24 Oct 00 | World
Warning over mens health
05 Jun 00 | Health
Men 'ignorant about male cancers'
19 Oct 99 | Health
Lad culture blamed for suicides
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