The findings of 15 studies from health researchers in six different countries, looking at the effects of electromagnetic fields and radio frequency radiation on living cells and on the health of humans, should jolt government agencies into action as a precautionary measure, Dr. David Carpenter, director of the Institute for Health & the Environment at the University at Albany, and one of the co-authors, said in an interview.
“What stands out is the consistency of the association of exposure and disease. The evidence, as I see it, is sufficiently strong that there needs to be public warnings, there needs to be establishments of exposure guidelines and that the present guidelines — in Canada, the United States or anyone else — are not protective of human health
“I see us facing a major problem in the future because of the fact that young children are on cellphones constantly, and we may be setting ourselves up for an epidemic of brain cancer, the same thing we did with cigarette smoking and lung cancer.”
OTTAWA — An international group of scientists is calling on Canada and other countries to bring in tougher safety standards for cellphone use after a Swedish team found a fivefold elevated risk of malignant brain tumours in children who begin using mobile phones before the age of 20.
The plea — and the science underlying it — is published in the forthcoming edition of Pathophysiology, devoted to peer-reviewed research about the biological effects of the global explosion of wireless technologies and devices like cellphones, cordless phones, wireless Internet and cell towers.
During 1975, Robert Bryden, who lives at 140 Water Street, began to observe drastic warping and blurring of his television picture, and to experience pain and swelling in his eyes; his wife was suffering from swelling of the face and numbness and nerve tingling in one of her arms. Bry¬den then wrote more than a dozen letters of complaint to Guilford and Connecticut officials; to the Federal Commu¬nications Commission, in Washington, D.C.; to the repre¬sentative for his congressional district; and to Senator Abraham Ribicoff. As a result of requests from the F.C.C., whose officials clearly believed that power lines were creating the interference, Connecticut Light & Power on several occasions sent representatives to Bryden’s neigh¬borhood to investigate the problem.
That afternoon, Hemstock went to the library in Guilford and, with the help of a computer index, spent an hour or so looking up references to electromagnetic fields. He then went to the libraries in Branford and North Branford, to the west of Guilford, and did the same thing. By the end of the afternoon, he had made a list of more than a dozen articles, published in various magazines, medi¬cal journals, and newspapers around the nation, about the association of electromagnetic fields from power lines and other sources with cancer and other diseases. At the same time, he decided to investigate other possible causes of the disease on Meadow Street, such as chemicals being used at the Clinipad Corporation’s factory, on High Street — about a quarter of a mile east of Meadow — which manufactures antiseptic medicinal pads.
At about 5:30 P.M., he called Lor¬etta Nelson, who had just returned home from work, and told her about his conversation with the supervisor at Con¬necticut Light & Power, his research at the three libraries, and his decision to investigate the chemicals being used by Clinipad. He then suggested that she get in touch with some of her neighbors on Meadow Street and hold a meet¬ing toward the end of the week so that he could present his findings to them and learn how they might want to proceed.
Early in 1976, Bryden gave up and ar¬ranged to have cable television installed in his home. Many of his neighbors had already done so. Apparently, neither he nor they were aware that, just as someone can distort the lines of a drawing by jiggling the elbow of the artist who is making it, strong magnetic fields given off by power lines can distort a television picture by interfering with the path of the electron beam that forms the picture on the screen. Nor were they aware that in 1973 the members of a seven-scientist committee convened by the United States Navy had found the results of several Navy-financed studies of the bi¬ological effects of extra-low-frequency electromagnetic fields in human beings and animals so disturbing that they had recommended unanimously that the Navy (which sup¬pressed their recommendation) warn a Presidential advi¬sory panel of possible danger “to the large population at risk in the United States who are exposed to 60 hz fields from power lines and other 60 hz sources.”
Scientists have used brain scans to read people’s memories and work out where they were as they wandered around a virtual building. The landmark study by British researchers demonstrates that powerful imaging technology is increasingly able to extract our innermost thoughts. The feat prompted the team to call for an ethical debate on how brain imaging may be used in the future, and what safeguards can be put in place to protect people’s privacy. The study was part of an investigation aimed at learning how memories are created, stored and recalled in a part of the brain called the hippocampus. By understanding the processes at work in the brain, scientists at theWellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging at University College Londonhope to get a better grasp of how Alzheimer’s disease and strokes can destroy our memories and find ways to rehabilitate patients.
In the study, volunteers donned a virtual reality headset and were asked to make their way between four locations in a virtual building. Throughout the task, their brain activity was monitored using a technique called functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Eleanor Maguire and Demis Hassabis then used a computer program to look for patterns in the volunteers’ brain activity as they stood on virtual rugs in the four different locations. They found that particular collections of brain cells encoded the person’s location in the virtual world, and they were able to use this to predict where each volunteer was standing.
“Remarkably, using this technology, we found we could accurately predict the position of an individual within this virtual environment, solely from the pattern of activity in their hippocampus,” said Maguire.
“We could predict what memories a person was recalling, in this case the memory for their location in space,” she added. The study overturns neuroscientists’ assumption that memories of our surroundings are encoded in the brain in an unpredictable way. The latest research suggests that this is not the case, and that the information is stored in our neurons in a very structured way that can be picked up by scanners.
The scientists could not tell where somebody was from a single brain scan. Instead, they had to perform several scans of volunteers in each location. Only afterwards were they able to find differences in brain activity that betrayed the person’s location. “We can rest easy in terms of issues surrounding mind reading. This requires the person to be cooperative, and to train the algorithms we use many instances of a particular memory,” said Maguire. “It’s not that we can put someone in a brain scanner and suddenly read their thoughts. It’s quite an invovled process that’s at a very early stage.”
Though preliminary, the research raises questions about what may be possible with brain scanners in the future. Future advances in technology may make it possible to tell whether a person has ever been in a particular place, which could have enormous implications for the judicial system. Information from brain scans has already been used in court in India to help judge whether defendants are telling the truth or not. Demis Hassabis, who co-authored the study in the journal Current Biology, said: “The current techniques are a long way away from being able to do those kinds of things, though in the future maybe that will become more possible. Maybe we’re about 10 years away from doing that.”
“It might be useful to start having those kinds of ethical discussions in the near future in preparation of that,” he added.
Previous work in rats identified the hippocampus as a region of the brain that stores spatial memories. But experiments that measured the activity of handfuls of neurons in the animals’ brains suggested there was no predictable pattern in how those memories were stored. The discovery that spatial memories are encoded in a predictable way in our brains will give scientists confidence that other memories might be readable using brain scanners. In the near term, Maguire said the research will shed light on some of the most debilitating neurodegenerative diseases of old age. “By using techniques like this we’re learning more and more about how memories are laid down. If we can understand the processes involved in how you form and store and recollect memories, we can begin to understand how these pathological processes erode memories, and much further down the line, how we might help patients in a rehabilitation context,” she said. In a previous study, Maguire used brain scans to show that a brain region at the rear of the hippocampus known to be involved in learning directions and locations is enlarged in London taxi drivers.
When WiFi was first introduced to Glastonbury, it was hailed as a pioneering move to bring the ancient town into the 21st century.But at a heated public meeting on Friday, it was clear many locals thought that, rather than being the ground-breaking wireless internet service it was supposed to be, it was putting public health in jeopardy.The town became the first place in the country to have a wireless internet service introduced across its centre in May.
However, dozens of locals claim the hi-tech addition to the historic centre is causing serious health problems for a number of residents and link the illnesses to the six antennae that emit the signals to enable the system.People packed the town hall yesterday for an open meeting organised by Somerset County Council aimed at dispelling myths and reassuring the community that the service was not harmful.
It’s believed that the first case was reported by the inventor, physicist & mechanical engineer Nikola Tesla. Described by many as a ‘genius’, and recognized as one of the greatest technological scientists of all time, Tesla suffered late on in his life from a very severe illness believed to be due to exposure to high levels of electromagnetic fields throughout his life.The Pulitzer Prize-winning autobiography of Tesla, written by his close friend John O’neill described his extreme sensitivities:
“To doctor’s he appeared at death’s door. The strange manifestationshe exhibited attracted the attention of a renowned physician, who declared that medical science could do nothing to aid him. One of the symptoms of the illness was an acute sensitivity of all the sense-organs. His senses had always been extremely keen, but this sensitivity was now so tremendously exaggerated that the effects were a form of torture. The ticing of a watch three rooms away sounded like the beat of hammers on an anvil. The vibration of ordinary city traffic, when transmitted through a chair or bench, pounded through his body. It was necessary to place the legs of his bed on rubber pads to eliminate the vibrations. Ordinary speech sounded like thunderous pandemonium. The slightest touch had the mental effect of a tremendous blow. A beam of sunlight shining on him produced the effect of an internal explosion. In the dark he could sense an object at a distance of a dozen feet by a peculiar creepy sensation in his porehead. His whole body was constantly wracked by twitches and tremors. His pulse, he said, would vary from a few feeble throbs per minute to more than a hundred and fifty. Throughout this mysterious illness he was fighting with a powerful desire to recover his normal condition. “.
The boy never regained consciousness. Doctors ran tests but found no sign of brain activity, so the Teaters gave their permission to take their son off life support and harvest his organs. Joe’s death was a big local story, and hundreds of people turned out for his funeral. Dave Teater is tall and husky, a former small-college football player who, at 52, still looks fit. He was an early cell phone adopter himself, driving around in the late 1980s with a big, clunky one bolted to the console of his car. Back then, he ran an auto industry consulting firm and commuted about once a week between Grand Rapids and Southfield, near Detroit, a horrendous five-hour slog. His mobile filled the time and made him feel productive. Dead zones limited its utility at first, but as the network grew Dave found he could do conference calls while zipping along I-96. He’d hang up after a half hour, not knowing which side of Lansing he was on. A bit of foreshadowing, perhaps, but he didn’t give it much thought until…Joe. Dave would later take up the cause of preventing more such deaths, and join a company that has pioneered cell phone safety technology. But for a time, he was too overwhelmed to do much of anything. Joe was the youngest of Dave’s three sons, and they were unusually close. Before he was born, Dave was preoccupied with his successful business. He also drank too much and, in his own eyes, fell short as a husband and father. Had he not joined AA and gone on the wagon, the Teaters would never have had their third child.
News: In June 2003, the Bush administration nixed a report on the dangers of gabbing while driving. Six months later, a Michigan 12-year-old became another statistic Behind the wheel and busy on her cell phone, Holly Jo Smeckert didn’t slow down as she neared Knapp’s Corner, a busy intersection in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It was January 19, 2004, and the 20-year-old nanny and Sunday-school teacher was taking her young charge to dance class in her employers’ Hummer. Smeckert was so absorbed in her call that she noticed neither the red light nor the line of cars stopped in the adjacent lane awaiting a signal change. Traffic flowed through the intersection in front of her, but that didn’t register either. Without even touching the brakes, she blasted through the light at 45 miles an hour, slamming into a Chevy Suburban and pushing it 120 feet—over a sidewalk and onto a patch of snow. The other driver, Judy Teater, wasn’t badly hurt, but Joe, her 12-year-old son, bore the full impact. He was unconscious, his breathing wet and gurgling. Judy, a former nurse, struggled to clear an airway. An anesthesiologist pulled over and tried mouth-to-mouth, sucking blood from Joe’s lungs and spitting it onto the snow. A neighbor of the Teaters who had witnessed the crash called Judy’s husband Dave in near hysterics; he arrived in time to watch emergency crews extricate his son, and then rode with Joe in the ambulance.