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Heavy cell phone use harms memory, research shows

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Heavy cell phone use harms memory, research shows Empty Heavy cell phone use harms memory, research shows

Post by Justin_Romile on Sat May 28, 2011 11:06 am

Telebabad on cell phones can damage your brains and ability to remember things, if experiments on mice are any indication. And no, these were not talking mice. They were exposed to radio frequency radiation, simulating the effects of gossiping on a mobile with an "unlimited" plan.

Recent studies suggest that heavy exposure to electromagnetic radiation emitted by mobile phones and cellular base stations can harm certain segments of the brain.

Art by Analyn Perez
According to research by scientists working under the Environmental Health Trust (EHT) and presented this week in Istanbul, Turkey, high exposure to cellphone radiation can lead to memory defects, brain damage and pregnancy complications.

In one of the studies, mice exposed to two hours of radio frequency radiation a day had a hard time learning and re-running mazes, suggesting an impairment on the brain's spatial memory.

In a second study, the barrier located between the bloodstream and the brain that protects the latter from environmental toxins were found to be more penetrable after steady exposure to 20-minute radio frequency radiation.

In rabbits, meanwhile, a third study discovered that exposure to six minutes of electromagnetic radiation spurred release of "secondary messengers" such as free radicals, which tend to destroy DNA and fat molecules.

Researchers found that even the non-ionizing radiation emitted by cell phones can also cause damage to the brain, contrary to what past studies have asserted.

According to the World Health Organization, non-ionizing radiation is a kind of radiation that has insufficient energy to cause ionization, or the alteration of an atom's makeup.

Typical non-ionizing types of radiation include the ultraviolet rays from the sun, microwaves and radio waves.

The studies were part of a research program conducted by the EHT, which regularly publishes studies looking into the effects of cellphone radiation on the human body and the environment.

Previous studies include the connection between phone radiation and sleeping habits, and the commonalities of tobacco and asbestos with cell phones in terms of their long-term effects on health and the economy.

Studies by different research institutions around the world have looked into this topic before, but research findings were still far from being conclusive.

A recent study by scientists at the United States' National Institutes of Health also suggested that cellphone radiation can alter brain activity, but didn't assert that emissions were particularly harmful.

The researchers observed that 50 minutes' worth of cellphone use causes a 7-percent increase in brain metabolism in the region closest to the cellphone antenna.

The study did not conclude, however, that such an amount of change is harmful to the brain, but the results were deemed "intriguing" by experts who have long studied the possible connections between cellphone use and brain cancer.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer's Interphone Study Group, on the other hand, failed to establish the link between cellphone use and risk factors for cancer.

The 10-year, $14-million epidemiological study, however, found that brain cancer incidence was more common among heavy cellphone users, suggesting further research on the topic to establish possible causes. - HS, GMA News

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