Cell phones are widely used in Syracuse and are a hot commodity all over town. However, many people in Syracuse are worried about the possibility that cell phones may be interfering in the natural functioning of the brain and causing tumors, particularly in the developing brains of kids. New research showing that cell phones have an affect on brain glucose metabolism implies the concerns in the Syracuse community about the potential for negative affects on the brain from cell phones are justified.
Susan Jeffrey addresses concerns about the risks of cell phone use for Medscape Today in her article “Cell Phone Use Affects Brain Glucose Metabolism.” A new study has demonstrated 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 which closest to the phone’s antenna. In this study the researchers used positron emission tomography (PET) during cell phone use in the on and then off positions. It was discovered that although whole-brain metabolism was not affected, metabolism was increased in the orbitofrontal cortex and the temporal pole areas of the brain while the cell phone was on, which are the areas that are close to where phone’s antenna meets the head.
The lead study author, Nora D. Volkow, MD from the National Institute on Drug Abuse in Bethesda, Maryland, has said “We do not know what the clinical significance of this finding is, both with respect to potential therapeutic effect of this type of technology but also potential negative consequences from cell phone exposure.” However, in order to play it safe
Dr. Volkow has recommended using hands-free devices or speaker-phone mode in order to avoid direct contact of the telephone with the head.
Dr. Volkow has gone on to comment that special caution may be necessary for children and adolescents because their neural tissue is still developing. The increasing use of cell phones has raised the concerns about the effects of radiofrequency-modulated electromagnetic fields (RF-EMFs), particularly of a carcinogenic nature. The epidemiologic studies exploring the relationship between cell phones and brain tumors have been inconsistent. However, some but not all studies have found an increased risk of brain tumors. And so the controversy surrounding this issue remains unresolved.
Dr. Volkow has pointed out that while the findings from this study don’t shed any light on the controversy of whether cell phone exposure produces or does not produce cancer, “What it does say to us is that the human brain is sensitive to this electromagnetic radiation.” Whether or not this results in any negative consequences demands further investigation.
This report has been published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Photographer: Stuart Miles
Mandel News Service