March 9th, 2015
in Op Ed
by Stephen Petranek, Daily Reckoning
A study from Sweden published in the journal Pathophysiology last fall has reignited the controversy over cellphone use and brain cancer.
The study analyzed cases of glioma, the most common form of brain tumor, in patients diagnosed in the years 1997-2003 and 2007-09. Nearly 1,500 people diagnosed with brain tumors were matched with people of the same age and sex taken randomly from the general population of Sweden for comparison.
The study indicates that people who use cordless or mobile phones for a period of 25 years have three times the risk of developing a brain tumor than those who don't. Simply using the speaker button on a mobile or cordless phone or texting instead of phoning might reduce the number of tumors, says the lead author of the study.
According to the research, the risk of a brain tumor increases linearly with exposure. People who had used mobile or cordless phones for as little as a year showed increased risk, and that risk increased with time, the highest risk being 25 years of use.
Time is not the only factor.
The more that someone uses a wireless phone, the greater the risk. Tumor incidences were even higher among people in the group who used mobile and cordless phones before the age of 20. Other research has shown that the brain continues to develop through teenage years and even into a person's 20s. Children's skulls are thinner than adults', and their brains are more conductive of the radio frequencies used than the brains of adults. The risk of developing a tumor was also higher in the study for people using 3G, or third-generation, cellular transmission systems. 3G phones emit broadband microwave signals.
However, the size of the 3G group measured in the study was small. Two large previous studies, the so-called Interphone study first reported in 2010 and a study published in 2013 in the International Journal of Epidemiology, suggest that mobile phone use does not increase the risk of brain tumors. The Swedish study did not control for family histories of cancer or for ionizing radiation exposure.
To a bright future,