Cell Phone Study Reports Increased Brain Activity

For over a decade and a half, cell phones have become more and more popular. 217 million Americans have cell phones to date, which is about 71% of the United States’ population. Long term affects of cell phones on the brain have received varying results, leaving the public unsure about the actual  health affects of cell phone use.

It is easy to see why many people want to know what effects cell phones will have over their long term health. Any electronic device that one holds up to their ear for up to a few hours a day should be properly tested and safe for extended use. After all, the brain is the most valuable part of the human body.

A new study was done on 47 people that had them hold up a cell phone to the left and right sides of their heads in the “on” and “off” positions for 50 minutes. The test subjects were also given PET (Positron Emission Tomography) scans to observe their brain activity throughout the tests. The results of these tests were very interesting.

The scans found that while the phone was in the “on” position, activity in the brain increased by about 7%. Although other everyday stimulations can increase brain activity more than this, scientists are still trying to find out what kind of affect this will have on the brain. It is recommended that people should limit cell phone access to children, since their skulls are less developed than adults, and to use common sense. For example, you should not sleep with your phone under your pillow or near your head. If you do partake in any of these activities with your cell phone, you will  drastically increase how much time every day your phone is sending electromagnetic radiation through your head.

When asked about the significance of the results in an interview completed by CBS News, Dr. Jennifer Ashton said, “They don’t know whether these are potentially harmful effects, or, believe it or not, whether they could actually be positive or good effects. And the key thing here is that when you look at the effects of a cell phone, you have to understand that it does produce low-level energy, known as electromagnetic radiation — non-ionizing radiation (which is) not thought to cause any damage in terms of heating. But this study raised questions of, does it do something else? Can it lead to free-radical damages? Can it lead to inflammation? And that’s what they’re going to be looking at.”

With so many unanswered questions, people can expect more news on this research in the upcoming weeks. Scientists will probably be working very hard to analyze these results and possibly complete a few more tests. Nobody has been able to crack the secret behind the health affects of cell phones yet, but now, scientists have some pretty good data and tests to work with. People do not have any reason to be overly worried about the radiation from their cell phones just yet, but it would be smart to try to limit your cell phone use as much as possible. Hands-free devices do reduce cell phone radiation, so if you have one, it would probably be best to use it until more definitive results are released.

For more information on this topic, please visit http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/02/23/earlyshow/main20035274.shtml.