February 25, 2011

Do Cell Phones Affect Brain Activity?

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- A 50-minute conversation on your cell phone could increase your brain activity. According to a new study, talking on the phone is associated with a higher brain glucose metabolism (a marker of brain activity).

Nora D. Volkow, M.D., of the National Institutes of Health, in Bethesda, Maryland, and her colleagues wanted to see if phone exposure affected regional activity in the human brain. In a randomized study, that included 47 participants, cell phones were placed on the left and right ears. One was turned off, and the other was on, but on silent mode. The patients then underwent brain scans that helped measure brain glucose metabolism.

Researchers found that metabolism in the brain region closest to the antenna (orbitofrontal cortex and temporal pole) was about seven percent higher when participants were exposed to 50 minutes of radiofrequency-modulated electromagnetic fields (RF-EMFs) that were emitted by the cell phone.

"These results provide evidence that the human brain is sensitive to the effects of RF-EMFs from acute cell phone exposures," the researchers wrote.

Based off their findings, researchers concluded that acute cell phone exposure does affect brain metabolic activity. However, the study results provided no information as to how the exposure could affect a person's health.

"Concern has been raised by the possibility that RF-EMFs emitted by cell phones may induce brain cancer"¦.However, these results provide no information as to their relevance regarding potential carcinogenic effects (or lack of such effects) from chronic cell phone use," the authors wrote.

Researcher's say further studies are needed to determine if exposure could have potential long term harmful consequences.

SOURCE: JAMA, February 23, 2011