Cell Phones Cause Brain Reactivity, Consequences Unknown
Brain activity increases in the area closest to the antenna after cell phone use, according to a new study published in today's issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Although researchers are unable to determine whether or not this brain reactivity is harmful, it reignites the ongoing debate on whether or not cell phone use is safe.
The study, conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), examined the brain reactivity of 47 subjects after almost an hour of cell phone use. The researchers found that the area closest to the antenna, where cell phone electromagnetic radiation exposure is the strongest, had a 7 percent increase in activity then when the cell phone was off.
Dr. Nora Volkow, lead researcher and director with the NIH explained, “This type of activation by itself we don't expect to have harmful effects. The question that remains to be studied is could there be long-term consequences from long-term stimulation."
Cell phones were introduced in the mid 1980s and have become a personal item for over 5 billion people worldwide. However, even after three decades of use the health effects of this technology remains unknown. Some smaller research studies have indicated that exposure to cell electromagnetic radiation could increase an individuals risk for brain cancer and tumors. However, many other studies have shown that cell phone use is in fact safe. It is no wonder that people are confused.
It could just be, perhaps, that it simply too early to tell what the long-term heath outcomes will be. Many cell phone users have been using their devices for 10 years or less and there is not enough data to be able to accurately conclude on prolonged exposure.
The Imperial College of London is currently conducting a large, long-term study on the mobile phone use. Their study includes a quarter million people and will follow their health over the course of 20 to 30 years.
Professor Paul Elliott, Principal Investigator of the study from the School of Public Health at Imperial College London, said: "Scientists have been looking at the effects of mobile phones on health for several years and so far, reviews of the research have been reassuring with respect to mobile phone use and health problems in the short term. However, as mobile phones have only been in widespread use for a relatively short time, we haven't been able to carry out long-term studies until now.”
In the meantime, the message to cell phone users is not to panic. For those to wish to be on the safe side, head set devices and hands-free ear pieces are a great way to create distance between your brain and the cell's radiation.