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New study raises questions about cellphone’s effect on brain

by nickj on February 24, 2011

Many cellphone users have been worried that the radio-frequency emitted by their handsets may have an impact on their brains. A recent study conducted by a team of researchers at the National Institute on Drug Abuse has found that these fears may not be unfounded.

The findings showed that even using the phone for less than an hour speeds up parts of the brain, which could carry health risks. The news source reports that this is the "first and largest" study to record the effects of cellphone signals.

"The study is important because it documents that the human brain is sensitive to the electromagnetic radiation that is emitted by cellphones," study leader Dr. Nora D. Volkow told The New York Times. "It also highlights the importance of doing studies to address the question of whether there are – or are not – long-lasting consequences of repeated stimulation, of getting exposed over five, 10 or 15 years."

She added that, while the study doesn't indicate that the harm exists, it does show that the brain is "activated" by the signals, which is a cause for further research.

Another article in The New York Times states that a European report has previously shown that there is no enhanced risk of tumors from cellphone use. However, those who had the highest amount of use had a 40 percent higher chance of developing a rare brain tumor known as a glioma.

Still, the methodology of this most recent study differs from those conducted in the past. Dr. Volkow and her team used brain scans to directly observe the brain while a person is talking on the phone.

Some speculate that the increase in brain activity could lead to the creation of free radicals, molecules which are known to cause damage to other cells.

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