Study Shows Cell Phones Cause Changes in Brain
photo courtesy of mtsofan, Flickr
My eleven-year-old daughter has been begging me to buy her a cell phone.
I have solidly stood my ground. It seems wrong on so many levels, not least of which are the risk factors. I've put a lot of time and energy into her health and safety, it seems counterproductive to let her put an electromagnetic field next to her developing brain.
Finally, some backup for my mother's instinct: a study published this week in the Journal of American Medical Association shows conversations of less than an hour produce an increase in brain activity.
The study is small, but its results prove that further testing is warranted on the long-term effects of cellphone use.
Forty-seven participants were tested between January and December of 2009. Cell phones were placed on each ear: on one occasion the cell phones were off, on the other they were muted but would receive calls and texts. After the 50-minute exposure period, each person was given a PET scan to measure their brain activity.
The resulting scans showed that when the phones were turned on, there were significant increases in the brain glucose—the main fuel source for the brain—closest to the phone antenna.
The researchers were led by Dr. Nora D. Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. She noted that whether cell phone radiation actually causes brain tumors is unresolved. “Further studies are needed to assess if the effects we observed could have potential long-term consequences.”
It is early in these studies, and I'm sure we will be bombarded by many more findings in years to come. From what I witness, most kids use their phones for texting more than speaking. Nevertheless, when it comes to my child's brain, better safe than sorry seems to be a fitting motto.