Jury still out on cell phone radiation issue

This is a familiar checklist for us all as we leave our house for our day: Keys, check. Wallet, check. Make sure wife has not taken bankcard out of wallet, check. Cell phone, check.

This is a familiar checklist for us all as we leave our house for our day: Keys, check. Wallet, check. Make sure wife has not taken bankcard out of wallet, check. Cell phone, check.

It seems that today the use of the cell phone is as common as the use of the toothbrush.

However, this article may cause some food for thought for those of you who use your cell phone for a large portion of the day.

Dr. Nora Valkow, with the National Institute on Drug Abuse in Bethesda, Maryland,  published a paper in the Journal of American Medical Association last February which stated that the use of a cell phone for as little as 50 minutes at a time appears to affect brain glucose metabolism in the region of the brain closest to the phone’s antenna.

Using positron emission tomography, or PET imaging, they assessed whole brain metabolism with the use of a cell phone in the on and off position.

They found that though whole brain metabolism was not affected, the orbital frontal cortex and the temporal pole areas of the brain, the area where the cell phone antenna is in closest proximity to the head, had a statistically significant increase in metabolism.

The study was a randomized, crossover study involving 47 healthy individuals.

Her study indicated that with the cell phone in the on position, brain glucose metabolism is increased by seven per cent.

This increase in activation of brain tissue also correlated significantly with the estimated electromagnetic field radiation emitted by the cell phone.

The author stated that these findings do not shed any light on the controversy as to whether cell phone exposure produces cancer in the brain or not, however, it does demonstrate that the brain is sensitive to electromagnetic radiation.

She states, “It would have been much easier to dismiss any concerns about potential negative effects of cell phones, but the fact that we are observing changes really highlights the need to do further studies to properly be able to answer the questions of whether cell phone exposure can have harmful effects or not.”

In addition, she stated that caution should be particularly necessary for children and adolescents whose neural tissue is still developing.

The bone thickness and density of their cranium is not as dense as that of an adult, offering less of a barrier to the effects of electromagnetic radiation on the developing brain.

She recommends, until further studies are conclusive, the use of a hands-free device or speakerphone in an attempt to avoid direct contact of the telephone to the head.

It is important to note that cordless, desktop phones also emit the same degree of electromagnetic radiation and should be treated with the same care as a cell phone.

The jury is still out as to whether or not carcinogenic effects are directly related to cell phone use, as there is compelling evidence on both sides.

I feel it is compelling enough to use a degree of diligence and caution until we are certain.

Markus Thiel is a doctor of chiropractic practicing in Kelowna. Questions or comments may be sent to askdrthiel@shaw.ca.

 

Kelowna Capital News