Study: Prenatal Cell Phone Exposure May Lead to Childhood Behavioral Problems
December 7, 2010 10:27 AM
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But UCLA researchers say they don't have enough evidence to prove it
Researchers from the
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
, claim that they've found a correlation between
prenatal cell phone exposure
and behavioral issues during childhood, but do not have enough data to say that it's a sure thing.
Leeka Kheifets, Ph.D., study leader and a professor of epidemiology at UCLA's School of Public Health, along with her team of researchers, have found a possible relationship between a mother's cell phone use while pregnant and behavioral problems in the child later on.
There are quite a few theories that suggest cell phones may have other negative effects on the human body, but according to
, it really
depends on who you ask
. While some theories have noted that it may contribute to brain tumors and cancer,
others say the opposite
"There are theories, but we do not know," said Kheifets. "Exposure to the fetus is likely to be very low, so it's unclear how it can influence fetal development."
To find this possible correlation, Kheifets and her team of researchers analyzed the data on mothers who participated in the Danish National Birth Cohort study, which asked them lifestyle questions including amount of cell phone use during and after pregnancy. They also studied data on cell phone use from these mothers' children, which amounted to 28,745 7-year-olds.
The mother's were interviewed when their children turned seven, where they were asked about the child's cell phone use and behavioral problems. According to the study's overall results, 18 percent of children were exposed to cell phone use
before and after pregnancy
. Now, 35.2 percent of 7-year-olds used a cell phone, but less than one percent of them used a cell phone for more than one hour a week. Based on what their mother's said, 93 percent of the children had no behavioral issues while 3.1 percent showed signs of hyperactivity/inattention, relationship problems and conduct problems.
The next step, according to Kheifets, is to conduct this study again when the children are 11 years old. Kheifets would like to see if these percentages remain stable over the years, or if they take a drastic turn one way or the other.
Despite the fact that researchers are unsure as to whether
cell phone use negatively influences
a child's behavior, Kheifets warns that it can't hurt to reduce exposure anyway.
"Be aware of your exposure and while the science develops, use precaution," said Kheifets. "It is very easy to reduce exposure by keeping your phone away from the body and using a hands-free device, so why not do it?"
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RE: Correlation does not mean causation.
12/7/2010 12:17:39 PM
XKCD did a comic about correlation and causation that really emphasizes this point:
"If they're going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else." -- Microsoft Business Group President Jeff Raikes
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