No Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors: Biggest Study Ever
Yet one more study says there is no link between long-term use of cell phones and developing a brain tumor. The 18-year study is being called the largest one conducted to date, but it will likely not be the last study we see.
Cell phone use: 5 billion subscriptions and growing
Like fast-food hamburgers, billions and billions of cell phones have been scooped up and used by consumers around the world. While it’s widely held that fast-food burgers can be detrimental to your health, the question about the health hazards of cell phones is an ongoing debate.
This latest study is an update of the only cohort study that investigated cell phone use and cancer: a Danish nationwide study involving 420,095 subscribers from 1982 until 1995, with subsequent follow-up to 1996 and 2002. That study did not find any evidence that cell phone use increased a person’s risk of developing brain or nervous system tumors or cancer.
Now investigators report on the extension of that cohort study (up to 2007), which studied 358,403 cell phone users over 18 years. The researchers evaluated data on the entire Danish populated aged 30 and older and divided them into subscribers and nonsubscribers of cell phones before 1995.
From the period 1990 to 2007, there were 10,729 diagnosed central nervous system tumors. When investigators looked only at individuals who had used a cell phone for 13 years or longer, the cancer rates were nearly the same as among those who did not use a cell phone. Of special interest is that there was no increased risk in temporal glioma, the most likely location and type of brain tumor to be found if cell phone use was a risk factor.
The study’s authors concluded, therefore that “the extended follow-up allowed us to investigate effects in people who had used mobile phones for 10 years or more, and this long-term use was not associated with higher risks of cancer.”
So, is this the end of studies investigating any possible link between cell phone use and brain tumors? According to the study’s authors, “as a small to moderate increase in risk for subgroups of heavy users or after even longer induction periods than 10-15 years cannot be ruled out, further studies with large study populations, where the potential for misclassification of exposure and selection bias is minimized, are warranted.” So, no.
Frei P et al. British Medical Journal 2011; 343:d6387; DOI: 10.1136/bmj.d6387