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Study Finds Cellphone Use Changes Brain Activity

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A new study from a "high-quality team" of researchers at the National Institutes of Health has shown that holding a cellphone to your ear for an hour can increase brain activity in the area closest to the antenna, re-opening the debate about cellphone safety.

To be sure, the head researcher of the new study has asked the public to be cautious in interpreting the study's results since it's not known whether this increased brain activity poses any threat to human health. But the finding is still important since it shifts attention away from radiofrequency waves -- believed to be harmless --  to evidence of increased brain glucose metabolism, which was detected using brain scans.

As the New York Times reports, this activity is natural and necessary and happens during normal brain function. "The question is whether repeated artificial stimulation as a result of exposure to electromagnetic radiation might have a detrimental effect.

"Although speculative, one theory about how an artificial increase in brain glucose metabolism could be harmful is that it could potentially lead to the creation of molecules called free radicals, which in excess can damage healthy cells. Or it may be that repeated stimulation by electromagnetic radiation could set off an inflammatory response, which studies suggest is associated with a number of heath problems, including cancer."

Most health organizations have declared cellphone use perfectly safe, though some groups and respected neurosurgeons have suggested using headsets as a precaution.

Then again, we also know that teens, and increasingly many adults, have already reduced their risk of harm not out of fear but out of convenience. Teenagers say they prefer text messages for almost every type of communication, but especially to micro-manage plans, as the Wall Street Journal reported last fall. The "phone" function on most smart phones is probably the least used feature. If cell fones hrt r brains b4, we must w8 2 c.

For study details, see the Journal of American Medical Association.
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