• 27 JUN 06
    • 0

    # 499: Cell phone signals excite brain

    The weblog version of this message is at:
    http ://www.emfacts.com/weblog/index.php?p=499

    Following on from the last message (#498) about the research by Professor Con Stough, from the Brain Sciences Institute at Melbourne’s Swinburne University, below is the latest from Italy, also finding an effect on brain function from cell phone use. This time finding that microwaves excite part of the brain but the researchers are hesitant to call this is an adverse effect. Such hesitancy is understandable as the cell phone industry is now the major funder of cell phone research. Say you found an adverse effect and watch your future funding dry up faster than a rain drop in the Sahara. Conversely, to suggest that there may be a beneficial effect is like money in the bank. The Dutch Health Council knows how it works.

    Is there any evidence that artifically exciting the brain may have long tern adverse health effects?

    One does not have to look far to find ample evidence that artifically stimulating the brain can have long term health consequences. Take methamphetamine (“speed”) for example. Quite effective in cranking up the brain but the brain quickly becomes addicted to the extra buzz with disasterous long tern effects. A common fact with taking stimulates (ahhh coffee!) is that they can become addictive. So if research shows cell phone use to have a stimulant effect on the brain perhaps there is an addictive effect as well?

    A case in point from my files is that of a woman in Melbourne who first noticed headaches after purchasing her first GSM cell phone. The headaches became progressively worse and debilitating so she had to consult with her GP and a specialist who sent her off for a series of brain scans for a possible brain tumour. No tumour was found but the meninges layer under the scull at the position beneath where the phone was held was clearly inflamed as seen on the scans. Her GP then wrote to Telstra with a request to release the woman from her contract as her cell phone use was the most likely cause of the inflamination and headaches. The woman ceased using her cell phone but reported having withdraw like symptoms for some weeks afterwords.


    From Robert Reidlinger:

    Cell phone signals excite brain, study finds

    Mon Jun 26, 2006 12:30am ET

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Cell phone emissions excite the part of the brain cortex nearest to the phone, but it is not clear if these effects are harmful, Italian researchers reported on Monday.

    Their study, published in the Annals of Neurology, adds to a growing body of research about mobile phones, their possible effects on the brain, and whether there is any link to cancer.

    About 730 million cell phones are expected to be sold this year, according to industry estimates, and nearly 2 billion people around the world already use them.

    Of these, more than 500 million use a type that emits electromagnetic fields known as Global System for Mobile communications or GSM radio phones. Their possible effects on the brain are controversial and not well understood.

    Dr. Paolo Rossini of Fatebenefratelli hospital in Milan and colleagues used Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation or TMS to check brain function while people used these phones.

    They had 15 young male volunteers use a GSM 900 cell phone for 45 minutes. In 12 of the 15, the cells in the motor cortex adjacent to the cell phone showed excitability during phone use but returned to normal within an hour.

    The cortex is the outside layer of the brain and the motor cortex is known as the “excitable area” because magnetic stimulation has been shown to cause a muscle twitch.

    The researchers stressed that they had not shown that using a cell phone is bad for the brain in any way, but people with conditions such as epilepsy, linked with brain cell excitability, could potentially be affected.

    “It should be argued that long-lasting and repeated exposure to EMFs (electromagnetic frequencies) linked with intense use of cellular phones in daily life might be harmful or beneficial in brain-diseased subjects,” they wrote “Further studies are needed to better circumstantiate these conditions and to provide safe rules for the use of this increasingly more widespread device.”

    Medical studies on cell phone use have provided mixed results. Swedish researchers found last year that using cell phones over time can raise the risk of brain tumors. But a study by Japan’s four mobile telephone operators found no evidence that radio waves from the phones harmed cells or DNA.

    The Dutch Health Council analyzed several studies and found no evidence that radiation from mobile phones was harmful.

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