TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Cell Phone Signals Excite Brain According to Study

Cell Phone Signals Excite Brain According to Study

Reuters News Wire (
Mon, 26 Jun 2006 13:14:01 -0500

Cell phone emissions excite the part of the brain cortex nearest to
the phone, but it is not clear if these effects are harmful, Italian
researchers reported on Monday.

Their study, published in the Annals of Neurology, adds to a growing
body of research about mobile phones, their possible effects on the
brain, and whether there is any link to cancer.

About 730 million cell phones are expected to be sold this year,
according to industry estimates, and nearly 2 billion people around
the world already use them.

Of these, more than 500 million use a type that emits electromagnetic
fields known as Global System for Mobile communications or GSM radio
phones. Their possible effects on the brain are controversial and not
well understood.

Dr. Paolo Rossini of Fatebenefratelli hospital in Milan and colleagues
used Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation or TMS to check brain function
while people used these phones.

They had 15 young male volunteers use a GSM 900 cell phone for 45
minutes. In 12 of the 15, the cells in the motor cortex adjacent to
the cell phone showed excitability during phone use but returned to
normal within an hour.

The cortex is the outside layer of the brain and the motor cortex is
known as the "excitable area" because magnetic stimulation has been
shown to cause a muscle twitch.

The researchers stressed that they had not shown that using a cell
phone is bad for the brain in any way, but people with conditions such
as epilepsy, linked with brain cell excitability, could potentially be

"It should be argued that long-lasting and repeated exposure to EMFs
(electromagnetic frequencies) linked with intense use of cellular
phones in daily life might be harmful or beneficial in brain-diseased
subjects," they wrote.

"Further studies are needed to better circumstantiate these conditions
and to provide safe rules for the use of this increasingly more
widespread device."

Medical studies on cell phone use have provided mixed results. Swedish
researchers found last year that using cell phones over time can raise
the risk of brain tumors. But a study by Japan's four mobile telephone
operators found no evidence that radio waves from the phones harmed
cells or DNA.

The Dutch Health Council analyzed several studies and found no
evidence that radiation from mobile phones was harmful.

Copyright 2006 Reuters Limited.

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