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Researchers are unsure as to whether this increased brain activity is harmful or not

Several cell phone studies have been conducted over the years in an attempt to conclude whether the mobile devices cause any long-term effects to those who use them. So far, no one has been successful in this quest, but the National Institutes of Health have now conducted a new study claiming that the radiation from these devices can actually increase brain activity. 

Dr. Nora Volkow, study leader and a researcher at the National Institute of Drug Abuse, and a team of researchers, may have found a direct effect that cell phones have on the human brain, suggesting that 50 minutes or more of cell phone use can boost brain activity.  

Previous studies have tried to show that cell phones are linked to tumors or cancer in the brain, but none of them have provided a conclusive link between cell phone radiations and complications in the brain. For instance, the Interphone study, which was the largest study regarding cell phones and their effects that was released in May 2010, found no long-term risks linking cell phones to brain tumors. 

On the other hand, in 2008, Director of Cancer Research at the University of Pittsburgh Dr. Ronald Herberman released a memo to his staff to warn them about potential cell phone harm. The memo stated that while cell phone-related effects remained controversial, Herberman was convinced that a sufficient amount of data was available to issue a warning and offer "precautionary advice" regarding the devices. 

"Some studies have shown a significant association with cancer, others show the opposite," said Volkow. "When you have data that is inconsistent, there is uncertainty, and uncertainty of course generates fear." 

What Volkow and her team found was that extended use of a mobile device does increase brain activity. 

"There have been several studies since the 1990's trying to address whether the human brain is affected by the electromagnetic radiation from cell phones because it's very, very weak," said Volkow. "The studies were very inconsistent, but we designed this study so it would be powered to detect small activity. This shows that the human brain is sensitive to these weak magnetic pulses." 

This particular study consisted of 47 test subjects who used cell phones for various periods of time. Using PET scans, researchers measured the brain activity of these test subjects when the phone was off, on, muted and held to the ear. What they found was that more than 50 minutes of exposure to an in-use cell phone causes increased brain activity by about 7 percent in areas near the antenna.  

Researchers were able to find this by measuring the brain's consumption of glucose instead of measuring cerebral blood flow like other studies have in the past. 

"What we showed is glucose metabolism increases in the brain in people who were exposed to a cell phone in the area closest to the antenna," said Volkow.  

Volkow concluded that it is unknown whether this increased brain activity is harmful or not, but the study finally provides insight into the fact that cell phone radiation does, in fact, affect the human brain in some way. The team plans to continue researching this topic to see exactly what this increased brain activity means.  

According to Nielsen industry statistics, the number of cell phone users ages 13 and up has increased from 7.6 million in 1991 to 223 million in 2010.

This study was published in The Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Sounds like evolution to me
By Lord 666 on 2/23/2011 12:40:54 PM , Rating: 5
Those who get cancer from the cell phones, die. Those who don't adapt and become stronger and possibly smarter.

RE: Sounds like evolution to me
By Da W on 2/23/2011 3:52:43 PM , Rating: 5
I'll be there next to you on your dying bed, remembering you those words of wisdom.

By IvanAndreevich on 2/23/2011 6:57:02 PM , Rating: 2
That could only have evolutionary effect if people developed cancer and died from cell phone use BEFORE they reproduce. Besides, hardly anyone would find this kind of thing acceptable in a modern society.

Besides, that cancer from cell phone stuff is like WTC conspiracy theory, religion, and other crap - not supported by facts.

hardly shocking
By kattanna on 2/23/2011 11:47:16 AM , Rating: 5
the radiation stimulated higher energy levels in the local cells and they responded by using more energy, exactly as one would expect.

so what?

Researchers are unsure as to whether this increased brain activity is harmful or not

sub headlines like that are humorously unfortunate though LOL

RE: hardly shocking
By AnnihilatorX on 2/24/2011 7:20:45 PM , Rating: 2
I wouldn't say it's as 'obvious' as your wordings put it 'one would expect'

I think though it may be cells response to ionisation damage by activating repair mechanisms which use up energy.

Brain boosting
By delphinus100 on 2/24/2011 8:30:58 PM , Rating: 2
I don't own a cellphone, smart, dumb or otherwise. Could my brain get second-hand boosting from others?

not quite...
By dgingeri on 2/23/11, Rating: -1
RE: not quite...
By shikigamild on 2/23/2011 11:13:41 AM , Rating: 2
Indeed, I love how these kind of researchers always reach the most far-fetched conclusion possible, to get publicity and funding.
Do a test with 2 subjects and 2 identical phones. Both must seem like wired phones, but one is in fact a cellphone, then you make them have a call for 2 hours, and then exchange the phones between the 2 subjects and compare the results, theeen you can start to make assumptions beyond the obvious: USING THE BRAIN BOOST BRAIN ACTIVITY.

RE: not quite...
By Da W on 2/23/11, Rating: 0
RE: not quite...
By Camikazi on 2/23/2011 4:44:12 PM , Rating: 2
When no details are given people will try to come up with their own conclusions. If these studies would only give their research methods and details then there wouldn't be so many calling their research BS, unless of course it is BS to get money and nothing more.

RE: not quite...
By jono256 on 2/24/2011 4:37:58 AM , Rating: 2
This is a scientific study, the experiment protocols and other details are explained in the submitted paper.
I do not think they would get published otherwise.

RE: not quite...
By Hafgrim on 2/23/2011 11:20:24 AM , Rating: 3
The phone was OFF, ON, *or* MUTED and held to the ear. What they found was that more than 50 minutes of exposure to an "in-use cell phone" causes increased brain activity by about 7 percent in areas near the antenna.

I think that is what the article was trying to say, since I assume nothing changed when the phones that were OFF were held to the ear. Wish it had been a little more clear on the methods used tho. Cool read tho I enjoyed reading it. =)


RE: not quite...
By ET on 2/23/2011 11:28:06 AM , Rating: 3
Yet another clueless poster slamming a research he doesn't understand. :)

Brain activity has increased near the phone. If there was activity associated with listening, it would be expected to see an increase in that area of the brain, not near the phone.

(And as another poster pointed out, the subjects weren't expecting to hear anything.)

RE: not quite...
By dgingeri on 2/23/11, Rating: 0
RE: not quite...
By aegisofrime on 2/23/2011 12:59:20 PM , Rating: 2
Again, the key words here are:

"What they found was that more than 50 minutes of exposure to an in-use cell phone causes increased brain activity by about 7 percent in areas near the antenna ."

Now, the question here is whether these areas near the antenna are also coincidentally the areas responsible for auditory and speech processing (areas relevant to a conversation). If not, then your theory of a Pavlovian response is unlikely.

RE: not quite...
By NellyFromMA on 2/23/2011 2:22:00 PM , Rating: 2
RE: not quite...
By astroidea on 3/14/2011 12:21:40 AM , Rating: 2
From your own link, it mentions that the Temporal lobe is for processing auditory information.
The temporal lobe is located right next to your ear.
It's also for processing speech(Wernike's area).

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