• 15 DEC 08
    • 0

    #1004: Surgical Neurology: Cell phones more dangerous than cigarettes!

    From Mast Sanity:


    Surgical Neurology
    An international journal of surgery and neuroscience
    Volume 70, Issue 5, Pages 445-446 (November 2008)

    Cell phones more dangerous than cigarettes!

    Ron Pawl, MD

    In March of this year, Dr Vini G. Khurana, an Australian Neurosurgeon, made
    news headlines declaring that, based on his research of the literature, the
    long-term use of cell phones was leading to brain tumors and was more
    dangerous to health than smoking cigarettes [13].

    The relationship between exposure to electromagnetic fields (ELFs) and brain
    tumor incidence has long been a subject of concern and research in the
    neurosciences and oncology. However, until this last year, most studies have
    failed to show a clear relationship between cell phone use and brain tumors

    Then in April of 2007, Lennart Hardell, a professor of oncology and cancer
    epidemiology at the University Hospital in Orebro, Sweden, along with 4
    other authors published an article using case-controlled and cohort studies
    that clearly demonstrates that the use of cell phones for 10 years or more
    is associated with an increased risk for the development of glioma and
    acoustic neuroma ipsilateral to the side where the phone was used [3].

    Subsequently, in April of this year, the same authors published a
    meta-analysis of several studies on the topic and also concluded that there
    is a positive relationship between long-term cell phone use and ipsilateral
    glioma and acoustic neuroma [4].

    Needless to say, such findings are alarming. Cell phones are ubiquitous in
    our society, and the numbers and use of such devices have increased
    exponentially since being introduced in the mid-1980s. Furthermore, cell
    phone use by teenagers and even preteens has also grown to become
    commonplace. Obviously, exposure to ELF by cell phone use in the young might
    even pose a greater threat because the changes caused by such exposure might
    well be greater in the developing brain. However, it does not end there.
    Other reports by Hardell et al indicate that the use of wireless handsets in
    cordless home phones poses the same risk as cell phones [5], [6].

    It should be true, if the forgoing findings are accurate, that there has
    been an increase in the incidence of brain tumors over the last 25 years or
    so. There are a number of published reports on the topic indicating a
    definite increase in the incidence of brain tumors, particularly malignant
    forms such as glioblastoma multiforme [1], [2], [7], [8], [14], [16].

    Although some studies indicate a stable tumor rate [9] including during the
    years after cell phone introduction [15]. An increase in nerve sheath tumors
    has also been reported [8]. The statistical increase of tumors found in
    these studies are somewhat modified, in some authors’ opinions, because of
    the improved technology of diagnostic imaging, especially computed
    tomography and magnetic resonance imaging, both introduced and advanced in
    the same era [1], [14]. However, the fact is that the incidence of gliomas,
    especially the more malignant varieties, is increasing based on the now
    numerous reports warrants action on the issue.

    Hardell and his colleagues, along with other scientists, have formed the
    Bioinitiative Working Group [11], which appears to be a spin-off of another
    group, the Bioelectromagnetics Society [10]. The mission of the
    Bioelectromagnetics Society, as posted on their Web site, is to be the
    international resource for excellence in scientific research, knowledge, and
    understanding of the interaction of electromagnetic fields with biological

    The Bioinitiative Group has produced a report called: ³A Rationale for a
    Biologically-based Public Exposure Standard for Electromagnetic Fields (ELF
    and RF ((Radio Frequency)))² [12]. In that report, evidence for childhood
    leukemia caused by exposure to power lines is addressed as well as the issue
    of gliomas and acoustic neuromas caused by cell phone and cordless phone
    use. They state, ³In summary we conclude that our review yielded a
    consistent pattern of an increased risk for acoustic neuroma and glioma
    after 10 (or more) years mobile phone use. We conclude that (the) current
    standard for exposure to microwaves during mobile phone use is not safe for
    long-term brain tumor risk and needs to be revised² [12].

    The report further states, ³The existing FCC and international limits for
    public and occupational exposure to electromagnetic fields and
    radiofrequency radiation are not protective of public health. New
    biologically based public and occupational exposures are recommended to
    address bioeffects and potential adverse health effects of chronic exposure.
    These effects are now widely reported to occur at exposure levels
    significantly below most current national and international limits² [12].

    It therefore behests our scientific societies to address this issue. There
    is one caveat; that is, only one group, Hardell et al, have carried out
    actual studies pertaining to the issue and found a clear relationship
    between brain tumors and ELF. No other long-term studies have been carried
    out; Dr Khurana’s warning is based on a review of literature only. It seems
    that a cooperative effort by both the scientific community and state
    governing bodies will be needed. Some spearhead is now necessary in view of
    the magnitude and seriousness of the situation.

    [1]. [1]Chakrabarti I, Cockburn M, Cozen W, Wang YP, Preston-Martin S. A
    population-based description of glioblastoma multiforme in Los Angeles
    County, 1974-1999. Cancer. 2005;104(12):2798­2806.

    [2]. [2]Deorah S, Lynch CF, Sibenaller ZA, Ryken TC. Trends in brain cancer
    incidence and survival in the United States: Surveillance, Epidemiology, and
    End Results Program, 1973 to 2001. Neurosurg Focus. 2006;20(4):E1. MEDLINE |

    [3]. [3]Hardell L, et al. Long-term use of cellular phones and brain tumors:
    increased risk associated with use for > 10 years. Occup Environ Med.
    2007;64:626­632. CrossRef

    [4]. [4]Hardell L, et al. Meta-analysis of long term mobile phone use and
    the association with brain tumours. Int J Oncol. 2008;32:1097­1103.

    [5]. [5]Hardell L, et al. Pooled analysis of two case-controlled studies on
    the use of cellular and cordless telephones and the risk of benign brain
    tumours diagnosed during 1997-2003. Int J Oncol. 2006;28:509­518. MEDLINE

    [6]. [6]Hardell L, et al. Pooled analysis of two case-control studies on the
    use of cellular and cordless phones and the risk for malignant brain tumours
    diagnosed in 1997-2003. Int Arch Environ Mealth. 2006;79:630­639.

    [7]. [7]Hess KR, Broglio KR, Bondy ML. Adult glioma incidence trends in the
    United States, 1977-2000. Cancer. 2004;101(10):2293­2299.

    [8]. [8]Hoffman S, Propp JM, McCarthy BJ. Temporal trends in incidence of
    primary brain tumors in the United States, 1985-1999. Neuro Oncol.

    [9]. [9]Houben MP, Aben KK, Teepen JL, Schouten-Van Meeteren AY, Tijssen CC,
    Van Duijn CM, et al. Stable incidence of childhood and adult glioma in The
    Netherlands, 1989-2003. Acta Oncol. 2006;45(3):272­279. CrossRef

    [10]. [10]http://www.bioelectromagnetics.org/.

    [11]. [11]http://www.bioinitiative.org/press_release/docs/august31_2007.pdf.

    [12]. [12]http://www.bioinitiative.org/report/index.htm.

    [13]. [13]http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,343335,00.html.

    [14]. [14]Jukich PJ, McCarthy BJ, Surawicz TS, Freels S, Davis FG. Trends in
    incidence of primary brain tumors in the United States, 1985-1994. Neuro
    Oncol. 2001;3(3):141­151.

    [15]. [15]Lonn S, Klaeboe L, Hall P, Mathiesen T, Auvinen A, Christensen HC,
    et al. Incidence trends of adult primary intracerebral tumors in four Nordic
    countries. Int J Cancer. 2004;108(3):450­455. MEDLINE | CrossRef

    [16]. [16]McKinley BP, Michalek AM, Fenstermaker RA, Plunkett RJ. The impact
    of age and sex on the incidence of glial tumors in New York state from 1976
    to 1995. J Neurosurg. 2000;93(6):932­939. MEDLINE

    [17]. [17]Nordenberg T. Cell phones and cancer: no clear connection. U.S.
    Food and Drug Administration; FDA Consumer Magazine. vol. 34. 2000;No. 6;

    Center for Pain Treatment and Rehabilitation, Lake Forest Hospital, Lake
    Forest, IL 60045, USA

    PII: S0090-3019(08)00646-0


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