The pendulum has swung back to the “cell phones do NOT cause cancer” side of the argument, with a new study from the Institute of Cancer Epidemiology in Denmark suggesting there is no link between mobile phones and brain cancer.
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The findings were published on the British Medical Journal website.
The Danish study built on prior research, calling the results an “update of Danish cohort study,” an earlier study. The extended study carried out a longer follow-up and the results were that there was no significant difference in rates of brain or central nervous system cancers among those who used cell phones and those that did not.
The study examined 358,403 cell phone users, with 356 gliomas (a type of brain cancer) and 846 central nervous system cancers being seen. That incident rate does not differ significantly from rates among patients who did not use a cellular phone.
That result, the researchers said, was the same even among those who had used cell phones the longest in the study, 13 years or even more.
However, there is still concern about the effects of cell phone radiation among developing fetuses, infants, and children. The researchers also said that continued follow-ups to ensure cancers were not developing over longer term periods was required.
Already, the findings are coming under fire. Devra Davis, a cancer epidemiologist and president of Environmental Health Trust, said in a statement that (emphasis ours):
“From the way it was set up originally, this deeply flawed study was designed to fail to find an increased risk of brain tumors tied with cellphone use. In order for any study of a relatively rare disease like brain tumors to find a change in risk, millions must be followed for decades.
“By extending an earlier analysis on the same group of cellphone users this new report provides unsurprising, biased and misleading conclusions. It uses no direct information on cell phone use, fails to consider recent and rapidly changing nature and exposure to microwave radiation from cellphones, cordless phones and other growing sources, and excludes those who would have been the heaviest users–namely more than 300,000 business people in the 1990s who are known to have used phones four times as much as those in this study.”
The study is the latest in what seems to be a never-ending back-and-forth set of studies and conjectures on whether or not the radiation given off by cell phones is can lead to an increased risk of brain cancer. In late May, for example, the World Health Organization (WHO) said that it had found enough evidence to categorize exposure to cell phone radiation as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.”
Earlier than that, studies showed correlation between cell phones and increased brain activity and behavioral issues in children, but correlation does not mean causation. Most of these studies, however, have ended with the following phrase: “more research is needed.”
Considering the “relative” newness of the technology, it may be decades more before a definitive answer, one that is accepted by the vast majority of medical researchers, will be made.