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Cell Phone Use Affects Brain Metabolism

By Francisco Renick, M.D.

Although it is yet to be determined whether it bears positive or negative health effects, recent studies show that the brain is affected by radiofrequency emissions from wireless phones.

Depending on your age, you may be one of those people who grew up in a world where global communications took place mostly through letters, telegrams or landline telephones or you might be from the generation that was born right in the middle of the technological revolution, surrounded by cell phones, GPS technology and the Internet.

Due to widespread use of cell phones doubts have arisen regarding the safety of having an electronic device so close to our heads, day after day and for varying lengths of time. And with good reason: these devices are used by millions of people all over the world. if negative long-term health effects from cell phone use were to be confirmed, it would certainly represent a significant threat to global public health.

Cell phones work through radiofrequency-modulated electromagnetic fields (RF-EMFs) and, for a long time, researchers have been concerned about their possible carcinogenic effects. Although various studies have been conducted, their conclusions have been inconsistent: researchers have not been able to correlate cell phone use with adverse health effects

Recently, Dr. Nora Volkow, from the National Institute on Drug Abuse in Maryland, United States, conducted a study in which, through various tests, researchers evaluated whether cell phone use can directly affect brain function. In her work, Volkow found that after 50 minutes of exposure with the phone at the ear (with the phone both on and off), the regions of the brain closest to the antenna showed a significant increase in brain glucose metabolism.

What does this mean? It means that for the first time researchers have been able to prove that the human brain is sensitive to RF-EMFs exposure. However, it is necessary to determine the clinical significance of this finding and to determine whether these might have negative consequences over brain function. Perhaps, alternatively, they might have the potential to activate certain areas of the brain that for some reason might not be properly stimulated.

Researchers recommend that we not be alarmed, as these findings are still in a research phase. However, for those who prefer to be cautious, they make these recommendations: in general limit your cell phone use, use hands-free devices or speakerphone mode and, whenever possible, avoid direct contact between the phone and the head, since so far findings have shown that these effects are only present through direct contact.

This is the first human subject research that has obtained reliable results about this issue. At this point most people have more questions than answers and therefore, it is important to be aware of results of future studies, which will indicate the scope and possible consequences of these findings. Nevertheless, this study sets a starting point on an issue for which, until now, there were only questions and which is of great importance for public health.

 

 

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