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Cellphones shown to increase certain brain activity; long-term effects yet to be determined

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Cell-phone use has been shown to increase brain-glucose metabolism (a marker of brain activity), but long-term risks are less clear.

A new analysis from the National Institutes of Health -- prompted by concerns regarding potential harmful effects of exposure to radiofrequency-modulated electromagnetic fields (RF-EMFs) -- finds that studies performed o humans to investigate the effects of RF-EMF exposure from cell phones have yielded varying results.

Scientists conducted a new study to determine if cell-phone use affects regional activity in the brain and found, among 47 participants according to positron emission tomography (PET) scans, whole-brain metabolism did not differ between so-called on and off conditions. ("On" indicates a right-ear cell phone activated with the sound muted for 50 minutes; "off" refers to both a right-ear and left-ear cell phone deactivated.)

Metabolism in the brain region closest to the antenna was shown to be higher (approximately seven percent) during the "on" condition as opposed to off.

According to researchers, human brains are sensitive to the effects of RF-EMFs from acute cell phone exposures.

Further studies are needed to analyze these effects and whether any long-term harmful consequences might arise from them.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
February 23, 2011
Last Updated:
February 24, 2011