TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Mobile Phones 'Affect Brain Function' - Yahoo! Australia & NZ

Mobile Phones 'Affect Brain Function' - Yahoo! Australia & NZ

Marcus Didius Falco (
Fri, 28 Apr 2006 22:01:52 -0400
Mobile phones 'affect brain function'

Radiation emitted by mobile phones affects brain function, Australian
research suggests.

Scientists at Swinburne University of Technology's Brain Sciences Institute
in Melbourne studied the performances of 120 healthy volunteers on a series
of psychological tests during half an hour of exposure to mobile phone

They compared the results to those collected when the same volunteers
were tested during a "sham" condition, in which the mobile phone was
not emitting radiation.

The study was designed so neither the scientists, nor the participants,
were aware when the mobile phone was turned on.

Lead researcher Con Stough said they found the subjects' reaction
times and information processing were impaired by the mobile phone

"The study showed evidence of slower response times for participants
undertaking simple reactions and more complex reactions, such as
choosing a response when there is more than one alternative,"
Professor Stough said.

"Mobile phones do seem to affect brain function. They seem to be fairly
small effects but nevertheless, something's happening."

The research was published in this month's edition of the journal,

Prof Stough said research by the institute, which was yet to be
published, suggested the effects of mobile phone radiation on the
brain was cumulative.

"People, for instance, who use the mobile phone a lot seem to have
more of an impairment than people who are more naive users," he said
in an interview.

Elderly people were also apparently more sensitive to the effects than
younger users.

Nevertheless, Prof Stough is not about to give away his own mobile

"It's such a part of modern society ... and we haven't established
that there's negative health consequences. That's a different type of

"We're just showing that the radiation is actually active on the brain.

"But the impairment is small. The convenience and the way that we
communicate now these days outweighs that effect."

Prof Stough said if people were concerned about the issue and they
still wanted to use a mobile phone, they should buy an ear piece.

"The further you get the phone away from the brain, the less radiation
it absorbs," he said.

As for any use of mobile phones in cars -- hands free or not -- Prof
Stough is against it.

"I think they should be banned from cars," he said.

The study was funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council.

Copyright 2006 Yahoo! Australia & NZ Pty Limited.

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