Researchers from the National Institutes of Health and the Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York conducted PET scans on 47 healthy adults. They held cell phones to the left and right sides of their heads for 50 minutes…initially with the right-sided phone “on” but muted, and then with both phones held to their heads in the “off” position.
Compared to when the phones were “off”, scientists found about a 7 percent rise in glucose metabolism in the brain cells located near the antenna when the cell phone was turned “on”, again even though the subjects didn’t speak or listen to a conversation. Glucose, a type of sugar, is the brain’s main energy source and it’s metabolism or breakdown is a reflection of brain activity.
That areas of the brain that showed increased activity were those closest to the antenna, including the orbito-frontal cortex and temporal poles which are involved with memory and other cognitive skills. Researchers say the increase in glucose metabolism wasn’t substantial. It was about the same as you’d see in the brain if you move your finger. But the research does suggest that the brain does react to the electromagnetic radiation emitted by the antennas of cell phones.
What Does This Mean?
At this point, scientists don’t know what to make of this. All we know is that there is some effect, but we don’t know what the effect may be in the long-term. Could it be detrimental? Could it even be beneficial? We don’t know. Experts are saying this is interesting, but that we need to do more testing to figure out what it may mean.
Do Cell Phones Increase the Risk of Brain Tumors?
There hasn’t been credible evidence to date that cell phone use raises the risk of brain tumor…at least not in the short-term. Longer-term studies are underway.
Should You Change Your Cell Phone Behaviors?
I think it makes sense to avoid excessive use of cell phones, but routine use at this point does not seem to be dangerous.
If, however, you want to limit your exposure to the electromagnetic radiation emitted from cell phones, you can certainly use ear buds or the speakerphone on your cell or Bluetooth technology in a car that will allow you to talk on the phone without placing the device next to your head. Keep in mind that the hands-free Bluetooth devices that wrap around your ear also emit electromagnetic radiation.
Another thing to keep in mind are young children. Their skulls are thinner and their brain cells may be more sensitive to the effects of even low dose radiation. So it’s probably not wise to let a young child use a cell phone on
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