Researchers from the National Institutes of Health have found less than an hour of cell phone use can speed up brain activity in the area closest to the phone antenna, raising new questions about the health effects of low levels of radiation emitted from cell phones.
The researchers, led by Dr. Nora D. Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, urged caution in interpreting the findings because it isn't known whether the changes, seen in brain scans, have a meaningful effect on a person's health.
But the study, published today in The Journal of the American Medical Association, is among the first and largest to document that the weak radio-frequency signals from cell phones alter brain,activity. "The study is important because it documents that the human brain is sensitive to the Electromagnetic Radiation that is emitted by cell phones," Volkow said.
"It also highlights the importance of doing studies to address the question of whether there are, or are not, long-lasting consequences of repeated stimulation, of getting exposed over five, 10 or 15 years"
Although preliminary, the findings are certain to reignite a debate about the safety of cell phones. A few observational studies have suggested a link between heavy cell phone use and rare brain tumors, but the bulk of the available scientific evidence shows no added risk.
Major medical groups have said that cell phones are safe, but some top doctors have urged the use of headsets as a precaution.
The San Diego Union Tribune
February 23, 2011