Can Cell Phones Can Cause Brain Cancer Part 6

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Can Cell Phones Can Cause Brain Cancer Part 5

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Phillips says, for instance, that sometimes the body will respond to radiation by initiating a series of intrinsic repair mechanisms designed to fix the harmful effects. In other words, the effects from radiation exposure may be different in different people. And these varied responses may help explain the contradictory results, says Phillips, who is now director of the Science/Health Science Learning Center at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.

There is plenty of anecdotal evidence out there claiming a link between cell phone use and cancer: Keith Black, chairman of neurosurgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, says that the brain cancer (malignant glioma) that killed O. J. Simpson’s attorney, Johnnie Cochran, was the result of frequent cell phone use, based on the fact that the tumor developed on the side of the head against which he held his phone. And in May, a week after Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy was diagnosed with a glioma, The EMR Policy Institute, a Marshfield, Vt.–based nonprofit organization that supports research on the effects of electromagnetic radiation, released a statement linking his tumor to heavy cell phone use. But the NCI maintains that there is no definitive evidence that cell phones increase cancer risk.

In other words, the verdict is still out. “We can’t rule out the possibility of risk,” Nottingham’s Challis says. “There hadn’t been as much work in this area as is now demanded.

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Can Cell Phones Can Cause Brain Cancer Part 4

Cell Phones Cause Brain Cancer, Cell Phone Radiation Protection

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IARC in 2000 launched a study called Interphone, funded by the European Union, the International Union against Cancer and other national and local funding bodies. Interphone compared surveyed cell phone use in 6,420 people with brain tumors to that of 7,658 healthy people in 13 developed countries—Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and the U.K.—to try to determine whether people with brain tumors had used their cell phones more than healthy people, an association that might suggest that cell phones caused the tumors.

The results are expected by the end of this year. “The interpretation of the results is not simple because of a number of potential biases which can affect the results,” says project leader Elisabeth Cardis, a professor at the Center for Research in Environmental Epidemiology at the Barcelona Biomedical Research Park. “These analyses are complex and have, unfortunately, taken much time.” Among factors that might skew the results: failure of participants—especially those with tumors—to accurately recall exactly how long and often they talk on their cell phones.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the average time between first exposure to a cancer-causing agent and clinical recognition of the disease is 15 to 20 years or longer—and cell phone use in the U.S. has only been popular for about a decade. (In 1996 there were 34 million U.S. cell phone users compared with more than 200 million today, according to CTIA–The Wireless Association, a Washington, D.C.–based cell phone industry group.)

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Can Cell Phones Can Cause Brain Cancer Part 3

Cell Phones Cause Brain Cancer, Cell Phone Radiation Protection

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Recent research suggests, however, that although short-term exposure is harmless, long-term cell phone use may be a different story. Three studies since 1999 indicate that people who have used cell phones for more than a decade may have as much as three times greater risk of developing brain tumors on the side of the head against which they most often hold their phone—an argument for, at the least, shifting ears regularly or, even better, using an earpiece or the speakerphone feature while chatting.

“For people who’ve used their cell phones for more than 10 years and who use their phone on the same side as the tumor, it appears there’s an association,” Lawrie Challis, emeritus physics professor at the University of Nottingham in England and former chairman of the U.K.’s Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research program, told ScientificAmerican.com during a recent interview.

Worldwide, one in 29,000 men and one in 38,000 women on average develop brain tumors each year, with people in industrial nations twice as likely as those in developing countries to be diagnosed with one, according to the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in Lyon, France. If cell phone use does, in fact, triple the odds of getting cancer, these stats would suggest that over 60 years a man’s risk of developing a brain tumor from cell phone use increases from 0.206 percent to 0.621 percent, and a woman’s from 0.156 percent to 0.468 percent.

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Can Cell Phones Can Cause Brain Cancer Part 2

CellPhones Cause Brain Cancer, Cell phone protection

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Hoover, on the other hand, insisted that the pervasive technology was safe, testifying that “its effect on the body appears to be insufficient to cause genetic damage.”

The debate became so heated at one point that Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D–Ohio), who called the hearing, snapped at Hoover for interrupting David Carpenter, director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University at Albany, State University of New York, as he argued there was enough evidence to warrant more scrutiny and a government warning of potential damage.

Cell phones use non-ionizing radiation, which differs from the ionizing radiation of x-rays and radioactive material in that it does not have enough energy to knock around—or ionize—electrons or particles in atoms. Cell phone radiation falls into the same band of nonionizing radio frequency as microwaves used to heat or cook food. But Jorn Olsen, chair of epidemiology at the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Public Health says that unlike microwaves, cell phones do not release enough radiation or energy to damage DNA or genetic material, which can lead to cancer.

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Cell Phone Use Leads To Tumors, UW Researcher Finds Part 3

Cell Phone Leads Tumors, UW Researcher

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In the meantime, he faces fierce opposition from the cell phone industry for his research.

A number of attempts have been made to dissuade the efforts of Lai and Singh and to discredit their work. In fact, at one point, the director of a group created to manage $25 million in industry-donated research money tried to have then-UW President Richard McCormick fire them.

Lai asserts that most research on the potentially harmful effects of cell phones in the United States has ceased because of resistance from the cell phone industry. Since the federal government no longer funds such research, scientists are reliant on industry funding, which comes with restrictions that prevent them from asking the questions they seek to answer.

As for frequent users like Hong who are unwilling to part with their cell phones, Lai suggests the use of flip phones or headsets.

“The idea is to keep the source of radiation as far from your body as possible,” Lai advised. “Even one or two centimetres can make a significant difference in energy absorption.

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Cell Phone Use Leads To Tumors, UW Researcher Finds Part 2

Cell Phone  Leads Tumors, UW Researcher

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In humans, DNA in brain cells would also sustain such damage since the radiation is emitted from the antenna of the phone and a majority of it is absorbed directly by the head.

In other studies done worldwide, frequent cell phone use has been linked to headaches, and even brain cancer. These studies also suggest a correlation between what side of the head a person holds a phone to and the amount of damage sustained by the DNA in the cells in the part of the brain corresponding to that side.

Despite the negative attention being given to cell phones in the media, the habits of many frequent cell phone users seem to remain the same.

Peter Hong, a UW sophomore psychology major, claims to make and receive at least 20 phone calls per day on his cell phone. Although he is aware of the potential harm he may be doing to himself, such studies have not deterred him from using his cell phone every day.

“Anything in this world is harmful to some extent,” said Hong. “[For example,] spicy foods are supposed to damage your intestines. It is also said that cell phones give you brain cancer. [But], those are two of the things I won’t give up.”

Lai admits it is too early to call the extent to which cell phones are capable of causing damage. More in-depth studies must be conducted with greater sample sizes over a longer period of time in order for any valid conclusion to be established. However, Lai has no doubt that the radiation emitted from the antennae of cell phones has at least some biological effect on frequent users.

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Cell Phone Use Leads To Tumors, UW Researcher Finds Part 1

Cell Phone Leads Tumors, UW Researcher

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With nearly a billion cell phone users worldwide, it is difficult to find anyone — on campus or elsewhere — without one. The prevalence of wireless users, however, shows that many are not heeding the increasing concern about the potentially harmful effects of cell phones including the damage cell phones may do to DNA in brain cells.

UW bioengineering professor Henry C. Lai has focused much of his research on trying to understand the way electromagnetic radiation emitted from these wireless devices affects the human body.

“What people don’t realize [when they use cell phones] is that they are irradiating themselves,” Lai said.

His studies have mainly consisted of exposing lab rats to microwave radiation similar to that emitted by cell phones, and then examining the rats’ brain cells to determine if DNA was damaged.

Any damage sustained by the DNA signifies a break in the body’s genetic code and the occurrence of a potential mutation, which could lead to tumors and cancer.

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