The evidence is growing that using cellphones increases the risk of developing glioma, a deadly form of brain cancer. A Swedish study found that people who talked on cellphones for more than 25 years had triple the risk compared to those who used the phones for less than a year.
The study, which was published in the journal Pathophysiology, found that people who used the phones the most — a total of 1,486 hours — doubled their risk of being diagnosed with glioma. A previous Swedish study found that people who used cellphones regularly before the age of 20 quadrupled their risk of the rare tumor. An article, also published in Pathophysiology stated that brain cancer is only the "tip of the iceberg" because the rest of the body shows effects other than cancers.
The actual numbers of gliomas caused by cellphones may be much higher, says neurosurgeon and health expert Dr. Russell Blaylock. "Because of problems with reporting, many gliomas are never reported," he tells Newsmax Health. "It may take over ten years of heavy use to see a dramatic rise, and with younger ages now using cellphones for long periods and sleeping on them, we will definitely see a tremendous rise in brain tumors in the next ten years."
Many studies that show cellphones are safe have been financed by the cellphone industry, he says. "Most studies were designed by the companies and conducted for too short a time to see statistical changes.
"The microwaves emitted by cellphones have been shown to cause DNA damage and induce inflammation — chronic inflammation in tissues eventually leads to cancer in a higher number or users," Dr. Blaylock said. "I would bet that the microwaves in the brain activate microglia and this triggers immunoexcitotoxicity —one of the main mechanism of glioma development."
Other research has also linked cellphones with cancer and other health problems.
Researchers at Tel Aviv University examined the saliva of men who used their cellphones for at least eight hours a month — only about 17 minutes a day — and compared it to people who didn't use cellphones at all, or only used them to send text messages. Results showed that the saliva of those who were heavy users showed high amounts of oxidative stress, which damages DNA and is an important risk factor for cancer. "The damage caused by oxidative stress is linked to cellular and genetic mutations which cause the development of tumors," said Dr. Yaniv Hamzany.
Researchers at the Israeli Weitzmann Institute of Science found cellphones increased the risk of tumors in the salivary glands by 50 percent. The risk was even higher if the caller always used the same ear, didn’t use a hands-free gadget, or used the phone while in a rural area where reception was poor. The researchers found that a call lasting just 10 minutes can trigger changes in brain cells that are associated with cancer.
Studies have shown that cellphones also affect brain function. A Russian study found that children who used cellphones had poorer memories than those children who didn’t, and a British study found that cellphones increased the risk of memory loss, sleeping disorders, and headaches in children.
An animal study conducted at Yale University found that cellphones caused changes in brain development that could cause hyperactivity. "We have shown that behavioral problems in mice that resemble ADHD are caused by cellphone exposure in the womb," said senior researcher Dr. Hugh S. Taylor, a reproductive specialist. "The rise in behavioral disorders in human children may be in part due to fetal cellular telephone irradiation exposure."
Still another study, this one from the University of Toronto, found an increased risk of auto accidents for up to 15 minutes after a call was completed. It was the equivalent, said one investigator, of driving dead drunk.
Cellphones could also be making men less fertile. Many men carry their cellphone in their pants pocket, which allows their sperm to be exposed to harmful radio-frequency electromagnetic radiation. A study published in the journal Environmental International found that sperms' normal ability to move toward an egg dropped in men who carried cellphones in their pockets.
"Millions of people are susceptible to cancer, degenerative brain disorders like Alzheimer’s disease, and other brain diseases from the radiation produced by cell phones," says Dr. Blaylock.
"I think there is going to be a tremendous effect years from now," he said. "The effects on some people will be minimal, but millions of others, especially those who have DNA repair defects, are going to have a significantly higher incidence of cancer, degenerative brain disorders and brain injuries. If you are a part of that 10 or 15 percent, your incidence is going to be extremely high, and you won’t even know it.
"Cellphones aren't harmless," says Dr. Blaylock. "There is considerable evidence that cell phones damage the brain as well as other tissues and organs."
How can you protect yourself and still keep in touch?
• Use a headset or speaker. The safest headsets have hollow tubes instead of wires, and are similar to stethoscopes.
• If you must use an earpiece, clip a ferrite bead to the cord to reduce exposure.
• Switch ears to avoid continuous exposure to the same side of the head.
• Limit cell phone use to emergencies.
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