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"Health Aspects of Wireless Communication

"Health Aspects of Wireless Communication

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Published by Jeff Scott
Health Aspects of Wireless Communication, CELLULAR TELEPHONES AND THEIR EFFECT ON THE HUMAN BRAIN
Health Aspects of Wireless Communication, CELLULAR TELEPHONES AND THEIR EFFECT ON THE HUMAN BRAIN

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Published by: Jeff Scott on Sep 18, 2010
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09/17/2010

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ACM MC2Rfile:///C|/Documents%20and%20Settings/user/Desktop/lin_acm3.htm[8/5/2010 5:17:51 AM]
 ACM logo
Mobile Computingand CommunicationsReview
(a publication of the ACM SIGMOBILE)ACM MC
2
R v3/#3, July, 1999"Health Aspects of Wireless Communication"
CELLULAR TELEPHONES AND THEIR EFFECT ON THE HUMAN BRAINJames C. Lin, lin@eecs.uic.edu, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL, USARecently, there has been several print and broadcast media coverages of epidemiological studies from Sweden and the U.S. thatfocus on cell or mobile telephone use and brain tumors. They were referred to as Hardell and Muscat studies, respectively. Bothstudies are yet to be published. Also, neither study showed any overall increase in brain tumors, as compared to nonusers.However, there appeared to be a tendency toward greater likelihood (statistically not significant) to develop brain tumors on theside of the head where the phone is held. Researchers of the two studies have stated that their results were based on smallnumbers of cases, and must be interpreted with caution. Preliminary indications were that their cases and controls ranged from 200to 500. The results would be more reliable if the numbers are circa 1500 in these studies. It is possible that the numbers would begreater by the time the studies are ready for publication.These reports of unpublished results must be considered as preliminary observations at this moment. It is well to recall that the useof cellular telephones by the general population is a very recent event. Given the long latency of brain tumor development, a largeincrease in brain tumors over the short term would be a rare and unsettling phenomenon to behold. Moreover, epidemiologicalstudies using small sample sizes are not always reliable. For example, a limited study of cancer incidences near the Sutton-Coldfield radio and TV towers in the U.K. indicated an increase in relative risk (1.83 from 1.00) of adult leukemia within 2 km. Andthere was a significant decline in risk in proportion with distance away from the towers for leukemia, and for bladder and skincancers[1]. A follow-up study of 20 other broadcast sites in U.K. found an excess risk no more than 15% at any distance up to 10km, and there was no observed excess within 2 km[2]. The authors of these Sutton-Coldfield studies suggested after the enlargedstudy that no more than a weak causal implication can be made.A recent publication in the
International Journal of Radiation Biology 
by Preece et al[3], suggested that exposure to RF radiationfrom simulated mobile telephone transmissions at 915 MHz may affect cognitive function in humans. In particular, the choicereaction time of 36 subjects, in randomized laboratory test sessions, showed a RF power-dependent increase in speed (a decreasein reaction time of 15 ms). There were no changes in short-term memory. At the time of its publication, the report touched off aflurry of news stories also. (Unfortunately, some media reports had erroneously alluded to RF exposure from cell phones affectsmemory, which has contributed to the controversy.)Like other new findings, the implication of this laboratory study must await further scientific confirmation. Nevertheless, theconduction velocity of nerve impulses is known to rise, or fall in the case of conduction latency, with small increases in temperature.Changes in evoked responses of the central nervous system
in vivo 
and spontaneous firing patterns of isolated neurons
in vitro 
have been observed for temperature increases between 0.3 and 0.6 degree C. The rises in temperature were produced byexposure to 915 and 2450 MHz radiations, respectively[4.5]. Thus, the increase in responsiveness or decrease in choice reactiontime of human volunteers is consistent with effects of mild localized heating of the underlying nervous tissue. The angular gyrus inthe brain, on the same side as the cell phone antenna, acts as a relay station between the visual and speech foci. Therefore, thechoice reaction time decrease could be associated with a thermal loading effect on the angular gyrus. It is possible that anonthermal response, or direct interaction with the nervous system took place which is nevertheless RF power-dependent.It should be noted that earlier investigations had ruled out a direct neural interaction of another phenomenon. The microwaveauditory effect was thought to be a direct, nonthermal interaction of microwave radiation with the nervous system for hearing until itwas proven otherwise. A train of RF pulses could be perceived as a tune corresponding to the pulse repetition rate[6,7]. It is generally accepted that the RF auditory effect does not arise from an interaction of RF pulses directly with the auditory nerves orneurons along the auditory pathway. Instead, RF pulses, upon absorption by soft tissues in the head, launches a thermoelasticwave of acoustic pressure that travels by bone conduction to the inner ear where it activates the cochlear receptors via the sameprocess for normal hearing.Some 270 scientific papers were presented at the Annual Bioelectromagnetics Society Meeting held on June 21-24 in Long Beach,

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