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How is the Cellular Phone Harmful?

The cellular phone antenna might be the "culprit" in this unconfirmed medical suspicion. It is theorized that the antenna, which receives electromagnetic waves (EMW) or signals, transmits the same EMW to the brain of the person using the cellular phone, and that these EMW might explain the suspected increase in the incidence of brain cancer among chronic users. Whether this observation is valid or not, we still do not know for sure, but it is wise for cellular phone users to take some precautions.

What Other Illness Can Cellular Phone Use Cause?

The other conditions often mentioned are leukemia and lymphoma. Again, we would like to emphasize that we do not have scientific data to support this suspicion at this time and it appears that this might just be a scare since electric fields may be related to these diseases in young children (As in living near high voltage power lines).

* Italian Research Study Sheds Some Light on EMFs.

A recent study by Italian researchers found that the electromagnetic fields emitted by cell phones may not be as safe as they seem, but they may not be all that harmful, either. Ultimately, it seems, cells phones do change your brain's activity, but whether this helps or harms is still not understood.

For the study, researchers fitted 15 men between the ages of 20 and 36 with a specialized helmet that contained a cell phone near the left ear. While wearing the helmets, the cell phone was turned on for a period of 45 minutes without the knowledge of the participants. The helmet measured the brain activity of the participants both while the phone was turned on and while it was off.

While the phones were on, there was increased brain activity in the cortical region of the left side of the brain, which is responsible for movement and language. This region of the brain remained in the excited state for as long as one hour after the phones were turned off.

It is common for cell phone users to use their phones for a similar length of time, certainly over the course of the day. But it is not known whether this increased brain activity would be beneficial or harmful to a person.

Electromagnetic fields, such as those emitted by cell phones, have been used by doctors in the past to treat migraines and even depression. There has also been, however, some connection between electromagnetic fields and an increased number of seizures in people with epilepsy.

"Theoretically, it might be both dangerous in all those conditions in which cortical excitability is [already] enhanced, like in epilepsy, or it might be beneficial in all those conditions with a need for higher excitability, as in post-stroke recovery or Alzheimer's disease," said Dr. Paolo M. Rossini, professor of neurology at the University Campus-Bio-Medico in Rome, Italy

If there is a risk to using cell phones, Rossini states that more research is needed to determine which people should limit their use and who should maybe avoid cell phones altogether.

"More research is needed in order to produce safety guidelines, particularly for 'at risk' populations like people with different kind of brain damage, children etc.," said Rossini.

Should the Use of Cellular Phones be Prohibited?

Of course not. Used properly, this technology in today's world of instant telecommunication is invaluable and indispensable to many worldwide. Cellular phones are here to stay and have often saved lives when used in emergency situations to call EMS and 911 and to report crimes.

For more on electromagnetic fields see the WHO (World Health Organization) web site. At: http://www.who.int/en


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