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Cell Phone – Brain Tumor Link Seen in Research

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Cell phone users beware! Over the past several years, research has revealed that there is an increased risk of brain tumors in people who have used cell phones for at least ten years.

Three separate European research groups have been studying the effects of cell phone radiation emission on the brain.  Two studies found a link between brain tumor location and the side of the head where people reported they held their phones.  One study suggested the greatest risk for disease was is in people who began using cell phones prior to age 20.  Two of the studies-one conducted in England and the other in Germany-are part of a larger 13-nation Interphone Study, an effort sanctioned by the World Health Organizations.  These studies found an increased risk of a fatal cancer called glioma in people who had used cell phones 10 years or more.

In a 2004 Interphone study conducted by researchers in Sweden, an increased risk was discovered for acoustic neuroma, a type of noncancerous brain tumor called after 10 years of cell phone use.  Meanwhile, the German study compared a group of nearly 750 brain tumor patients with nearly 1,500 similar people who had not used cell phones and found a doubling of the risk of gliomas after 10 years of use.  The British researchers compared a group of nearly 1,000 brain tumor patients with a group of nearly 1,700 healthy patients who had not used cell phones; there was a 20-percent increase in cancers among long-term users.  The study also found a significantly increased risk for tumors that developed on the same side of the head where patients said they generally held the phone.

The American cell phone industry’s 1990 research program’s findings indicate a 24-percent increase in tumors among people who used the phone on the same side as the tumor; however, the study was required to exclude half the people who developed gliomas as those patients died before they could be interviewed and results could be misleading in their favor.

A third study reported earlier this year found an increased risk of acoustic neuromas in long-term users, analyzing the cases of over 1,200 patients diagnosed with benign brain tumors between 1997 and 2003 and comparing them with a similar group of over 2,000 people who had not used cell phones.  Those who used analog cell phones starting 15 years before diagnosis developed acoustic neuromas at a rate almost four times higher than the comparison group.

An analysis late last year conducted at the Bioelectromagnetics Research Laboratory reported that in recent laboratory or clinical studies, about 60 percent indicate a biological effect in cells or animals exposed to radio frequency radiation.  Louis Slesin, publisher of Microwave News, has been reporting on the health effects of this type of radiation for two decades and feels that there is an obvious link between cell phone use and brain tumors.  John Walls, vice president of public affairs for CTIA, The Wireless Association, a cell phone industry trade group in Washington, D.C., argues that the glioma increase is statistically insignificant and there is no cause for concern.

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