Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Cell phones and brain tumors? There has been a great deal of debate in past years about a possible link between cell phone radiation and the development of brain tumors, or more specifically, acoustic neuromas – small tumors that develop on the nerve between the middle ear and the brain. I think it’s fair to say the jury is still out. One criticism is that many of the reports that claim cell phone use is not deleterious have been supported by the device manufacturers, which always creates the specter of conflict of interest.

A new study reported in this week’s Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) measured changes in PET scans immediately after subjects used a cell phone for one hour. The results showed and increase in glucose metabolism in brain areas adjacent to where the cell phone was held. Interesting. Because this shows a direct effect that may be due to the electromagnetic radiation from the phone’s antenna. What is not known at this time is whether this effect is good or bad. That remains to be seen and was not clarified by the study. So, until the association is either proven or disproven, it might be wise to use hands-free earphones.