Cell Phone/Cancer Studies So
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Cell Phone Sensitivity
by DiscoveryHealth.com writers
Epidemiological and animal studies undertaken by the U.S.
cell phone industry and others have yielded mixed results:
• In a study published in 1999, investigators at the Orebro
Medical Centre in Sweden compared the past mobile phone use
of 209 Swedish brain tumor patients and 425 healthy people.
Conclusion: The study found no mobile phone/brain cancer
link "in virtually all respects," cancer researcher John E.
Moulder, Ph.D., says in the August 2000 issue of IEEE
Spectrum, the official magazine of the Institute of
Electrical and Electronics Engineers. Investigators did find
that mobile phone users who got certain types of brain
tumors tended to report using the phone on the side of the
head where they developed the tumor. The study's
limitations, according to Moulder, include a weak
association between cell phone use and tumor development, as
well as a possibility that the cancer patients'
recollections were biased by already knowing on which side
of their head the brain cancer developed.
• In a yet-unpublished study presented at a 1999 scientific
meeting, researcher Joshua Muscat looked for an association
between mobile phone use and a type of brain cancer called
glioma. Muscat did not find evidence that cell phone use
increased people's risk of this type of brain cancer
generally. He did, however, observe an increase in one rare
kind of glioma, which FDA scientists say might have occurred
by chance. Interestingly, with increased hours of mobile
phone use, the risk tended to decrease rather than increase
as might be expected.
• A few animal studies have suggested that low levels of RF
exposure could speed up development of cancer in laboratory
animals. In one recent Australian study, for example, mice
genetically altered to be predisposed to developing lymphoma
got more than twice as many of these cancers when exposed to
RF energy compared to mice not exposed to the radiation.
• A large number of laboratory tests have been conducted to
assess RF's effects on genetic material, looking for
mutations, chromosomal changes, DNA strand breaks, and
structural changes in blood cells' genetic material. One
kind of test, called a micronucleus assay, showed structural
changes in genetic material after exposure to simulated cell
phone radiation. The changes occurred only after 24 hours of
continuous exposure, which experts say raises questions
about this test's sensitivity to heating effects and whether
that sensitivity could be solely responsible for the
In one study of brain function and RF exposure, two groups
of 18 people were given cognitive function tests while being
exposed to simulated mobile phone signals. No changes were
seen in the ability to recall words, numbers, or pictures,
or in spatial memory, but among the 20 variables compared,
there was one standout observation: The participants were
actually able to make choices more quickly in one visual
test when they were exposed to the signals.
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