With contrasting studies being published accusing and clearing cellphones of causing certain kinds of brain cancer, new research shows that, at the very least, exposure to mobile radiation may be affecting the way you think.
The research, published in the Neurological Research journal, claims that exposure to cellular radiation leads to neurological degeneration, causing alterations in the way mobile users learn and remember things.
The study, which was based on tests done on rats, sought to obtain basic information about the effects of long-term use of mobile phones on the brain – specifically, the effects on cognitive behavior.
The test rats were exposed to 900 MHz radio waves by means of a mobile hand set for 4 hours per day for 15 days.
The researchers then studied the effects on anxiety, spatial learning and memory, by putting the rats through open field and maze tests. Effects on brain antioxidant status were also studied.
The results, the paper said, were a significant change in behavior – ie, more anxiety and poor learning was shown by test rats as compared to controls and sham group.
“Our findings indicate extensive neurodegeneration on exposure to radio waves,” the researchers said.
“A significant change in level of antioxidant enzymes and non-enzymatic antioxidants, and increase in lipid peroxidation were observed in test rats. Histological examination showed neurodegenerative cells in hippocampal sub regions and cerebral cortex.”
Are phones killing us slowly?
In May, a peer-reviewed study found evidence that intensive mobile phone use could put cellphone users at risk of developing certain types of brain cancer – though regular users appeared to be safe.
The study was conducted by researchers from Bordeaux University and published in the peer-reviewed Occupational & Environmental Medicine journal.
The researchers found no association between regular mobile phone use and risk of the brain tumour (phoning at least once a week for six months or more); however, it did find an increased risk of common types of brain tumors with intensive mobile phone use (active calling for more than 15 hours per month).
The findings are counter to another study by the Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research (MTHR) Programme, which found that exposure to radiation from mobile phones and base stations will not increase the risk of developing cancer.
Both groups of researchers conceded that the short time that mobile phone use has been widespread, no studies have been properly able to investigate risk in relation to long-term use, and pointed to the COSMOS cohort study currently being implemented in Europe to investigate the long-term impact of mobile phone use.