Other scientists pointed out that cell division occurred naturally as tissue grew or rejuvenated within the body, and that the preliminary study did not prove any health effects.
Simon Cook, a biochemist at the Babraham Institute near Cambridge, said: “The reason people are intrigued is that this pathway is frequently activated in cancer.
“The research is certainly interesting. However, they saw a very transient activation of this pathway, which we know is not sufficient to promote cell division.
“In cancer you see a much stronger, persistent and sustained activation and even this is just one of many changes required for cancer development.”
Simon Arthur, from the University of Dundee, said: “The ERK1/2 pathway can be turned on by a huge variety of different things such as natural compounds produced by the body that regulate cell growth, and various forms of environmental and chemical stress.
“The research shows the effect on cells in culture in tightly-controlled laboratory conditions. In a living person there are lots of different processes occurring at the same time, so we do not know whether the signal from radio waves would produce a similar measureable effect.”
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