Everyone has heard that cell phones have an effect on the human brain. It’s the question of whether the effects are bad, neutral or maybe even good for you that is unknown. Although many people realize that cell phones utilize the same frequencies as micro-wave ovens, the debate over the safety of cell phone radiation continues. Brain development and health associated with the use of cell phones is in the news once again thanks to a recent study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, but as usual, the results are inconclusive and a lot of questions remain unanswered.
While the new research, led by Nora D. Volkow of the National Institutes of Health, did show that cell phone use was associated with increased brain glucose in the region of the brain closest to the phone antenna, what those increased glucose levels actually mean is still unclear. The debate over the safety of cell phone use has been going on for a long time and the latest article from Journal of American Medical Association is not going to change that situation just yet. The research showed that there is undeniably an increase in brain activity right around the area of the brain where the phone is pressed against a person’s head, but whether or not it could alter the brain permanently, or that it could be damaging in the long run will not be known until more long-term studies have been conducted.
The latest study followed 47 cell phone users for over a year and did noticed brain stimulation with increased brain glucose metabolism in the region closest to the phone antenna., but it is not known whether the stimulation has a negative or a positive effect other than it appears that it could alter some brain activities. The research did not dispel concerns that exposure to radiofrequency-modulated electromagnetic fields could potentially have carcinogenic effects and studies of the association between cell phone use and brain tumors have been inconsistent and the issue remains unresolved.
Metabolism in the brain region closest to the antenna was significantly higher when the cell phone was on, compared to when it was off, and the results did show the human brain is sensitive to the effects of cell phone exposure, but the report provided no real definitive information regarding potential carcinogenic effects from chronic cell phone use. Because there was an increase in glucose in the areas of the brain the cell phone signal reached, it proves cell phone radiation does affect the brain, and while the short term effects of cell use may be relatively safe, it is the long-term use that concerns most people.
More study is required before all of the ramifications of cell phone use become clear, but for now it is generally felt that people can take basic radiation precautions by keeping their phones away from the body whenever possible and using headsets instead of placing phones directly next to the head. People with health problems related to the brain like Parkinson’s disease or a history of concussions and other brain injuries might want to limit their cell phone use. Children and teenagers should also put down the phone once in a while as their young skulls are still developing and are relatively thin. Like so many other things in life, it appears moderation is also the key to proper daily cell phone use.