jump to navigation

The Bogeyman Cometh Again… April 7, 2006

Posted by scan man in Medicine, News.

I read this in 'The Hindu' a few days ago…

Study suggests mobile phone brain tumour link

The results of a study, conducted at the Swedish National Institute for Working Life, raise renewed fears that a prolonged use of mobile phones may increase the risk of brain tumours.

Researchers examined the patterns of cell phone use by over 2,000 cancer patients and an equal number of healthy persons. Of the 905 patients who suffered from a malignant brain tumour, one in 10 was a heavy mobile phone user. For the purposes of the study, `heavy use' meant more than 2,000 hours of use — about 10 years of an average use of over one hour a day. Mobile phone users have 3.7 times the risk of developing brain cancer as non-users. What is more, there is twice the chance of the tumour occurring on the side of the head where the phone is held.

The results were published in the online edition of the "International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health" on March 16. Kjell Hansson Mild, who led the study, recommends: "Everyone should use hands-free mobile phones…. This will lower what is called the SAR (Specific Absorption Rate) value, the amount of radiation absorbed by the brain, by a factor of hundred… and also improve hearing."

The Swedish findings fly in the face of the studies conducted recently in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, which came to the opposite conclusion.

A study, conducted by four British Universities and published in the January 20, 2006 issue of the British Medical Journal, concluded that there was nocause-and-effect relation between the cell phone use and brain tumours. The Dutch Health Council also came to a similar conclusion last year, collating reports worldwide.

Studies conducted at the School of Environmental Studies of Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, however, have tended to agree that intensive cell phone use, especially as practised by young people, may lead to cancer.

While scientists may argue about the sanctity of one set of results versus another, lay users may decide to be "better safe, than sorry." Here too, scientists do not agree: The (U.K.) Consumer Association has said the wire connecting the mobile phone to the hands-free earpiece could act as an aerial and send an occasional strong current into the ear.

This would suggest that the safest solution might be one of those wireless hands-free models working on Bluetooth technology, in which there is no connecting cable at all. This is the type used in many cars. But such safety comes at a price: a wireless hands-free kit costs Rs. 2,500 in India.

Ref: Abstract of the Swedish article, Abstract of the British article.


and this today

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Thursday it will review wireless phone safety following a recently published study that raised concerns about a heightened risk of brain cancer.

Swedish researchers said last month the use of cellular phones over a long period of time can raise the risk of brain tumors. Their findings contradict a number of earlier studies and are "difficult to interpret," the FDA said in comments posted on its Web site.

Still, the agency said it "plans to convene a meeting in the near future to evaluate research conducted to date in this area and identify gaps in knowledge that warrant additional research."

It also will continue to monitor studies for possible health problems stemming from exposure to radio frequency energy.


Will they make up their minds. In a few more years I'll be classified as a 'heavy user'.

While scientists may argue about the sanctity of one set of results versus another, lay users may decide to be "better safe, than sorry."

I don't think thats likely to happen here in India. With the public and private sector Mobile phone services coming out with cheaper rates and handsets every other month, mobile phone usage is only likely to increase.

I foresee an epidemic of 'mobile-phone-gliomas'.

Seems like good times for Neurosurgeons, Oncologists and of course, Radiologists.

Provided that they lay off mobile phones..or use Bluetooth Hands-free kits, which they certainly can afford.



1. Moof - April 7, 2006

Hmmm … well, I can see that one of my neuroses is good for me: I’m phone phobic! ;o)

I’ve never had a cell phone, and I very seldom use our home phone … only if it’s absolutely necessary to communicate something to someone.

My friends learn early on that my medium of communication is online – emails.

Now … until they come up with “blogliomas” or “emailgliomas” … I’ll be alllll set!

I’m still not used to seeing people “talking to themselves” at the grocery store – carrying on lively conversations when there’s no one anywhere around them. You get a bit closer (when you dare) and you can see a wee tiny wire running up to their ear … Ahhhhhhhh! *lightbulb moment!* And I was just getting ready to call the dudes with the white coats and people sized butterfly nets!


2. It's me, T.J. - April 8, 2006

I would certainly like all of the researchers to get their acts together.

How many studies are conducted, change our lives, and then come back later with *newer* studies that say the first studies were wrong?

If the truth be known, I believe that more brain tumors are being found because of better imaging technologies.


3. Moof - April 8, 2006

If the truth be known, I believe that more brain tumors are being found because of better imaging technologies.

I agree with that, TJ …

And I also think that very many of those “studies” are skewed by the many factors inherent to daily life that they can’t possibly account for …

I don’t often pay attention to them … except to poke a bit of fun … ;o)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: