Cell Phone Use and Brain Cancer?
Even as our kids are asking for the use of cell phones at earlier and earlier ages, scientists in the US and abroad have quietly been trying to determine whether there is any truth to the claims of danger associated with use of electromagnetic fields (EMF) close to the brain.
After all, studies show that even living in a home close to high power lines or microwave telephone towers does not seem to increase the risk of developing brain tumors or cancer. So much for cell phone use and brain cancer, right?
While scientists have known that exposure to extremely low frequency EMFs is associated with leukemia, recent evidence such as elevations in rates of brain cancer and tumors only on the side of the head where people use their cell phone, has raised concern among some scientists. Consider these studies:
Scientists in the April 23 issue of Mutation Research, reported that reproductive capacity decreased steadily as exposure to EMFs produced by cell phones placed within 10 inches of insects increased.
Sprague-Dawley rats exposed to 45 minutes per day of cell phone level EMFs for just five days per week for 8 weeks, showed increased signs of brain damage (i.e., elevated levels of glial fibrillary acidic protein), in a study just out in the May issue of the International Journal of Radiation Biology.
Research in the journal Metabolic Brain Disease, reported affects on movement, grooming, and a tendency toward higher levels of a stress hormone, in animals exposed to cell phone level electromagnetic radiation but not in control animals.
Twenty volunteers had their brain waves checked by EEGs at the LSU Health Sciences Center in Shreveport, and activity stimulated by cell phone type electronic pulses was found in 90% of volunteers in the controlled experiments.
Does cell phone use trigger release of stress hormones that damage certain brain areas, especially in developing children and teens? Scientists simply don’t know yet. So what can we do while scientists study this further? First, just being aware that this may be a problem is the first step toward reducing risk. We can: a) use our cell phone less often, b) use ear plugs for prolonged conversations, c) set the handset to “speaker” mode, and d) have an honest conversation about cell phone use with our teens about potential risks (of talking, not texting). By comparison, it’s surely way more important to stop cell phone use while driving, quit smoking, and eat a variety of fruits and veggies! Finally, if your chiropractor can help reduce your joint and muscle pains so you can stay active, then you will truly add life to your years and years to your life!
That said, remember it was just over a hundred years ago that “Skiagraphy” was all the rage in medicine, a safe and effective way to visualize fractures and bones. Decades after this new science was given a different name, and after many of its pioneers had long since died of cancer, we learned there really were dangers to use of what we now term “x-ray.”
Dr. Rob Leach
A recent review article about electromagnetic fields from wireless devices and cell phones and cancers: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20429163
Not all research is conclusive about risks of cell phone use and cancer: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20183523
For a recent meta analysis of randomized trials published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19826127
To read about cell phone effects on rat behavior: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19823925
For a research summary and abstracts at ChiroAccess.com: http://www.chiroaccess.com/News/Mobile-Phone-Use-and-the-Risks-of-Brain-Cancer.aspx?id=0000168