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Do you suffer with unexplained symptoms such as headaches, sleep problems and dizziness following exposure to electromagnetic fields? You could be suffering from this condition.
Chang-Ta Chiu, Ya-Hui Chang, Chu-Chieh Chen, Ming-Chung Ko, Chung-Yi Li. Mobile phone use and health symptoms in children. Journal of the Formosan Medical Association, In Press, Available online 10 August 2014. (2014), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jfma.2014.07.002.
To investigate the mobile phone (MP) use for talking in relation to health symptoms among 2042 children aged 11–15 years in Taiwan.
A nationwide, cross-sectional study, using the computer assisted telephone interview (CATI) technique, was conducted in 2009 to collect information on children's utilization of MPs and the perceived health symptoms reported by their parents.
The overall prevalence of MP use in the past month was estimated at 63.2% [95% confidence interval (CI) = 61.1–65.3%]. MP use was associated with a significantly increased adjusted odds ratio (AOR) for headaches and migraine (1.42, 95% CI = 1.12–1.81) and skin itches (1.84, 95% CI = 1.47–2.29). Children who regularly used MPs were also considered to have a health status worse than it was 1 year ago (β = 0.27, 95% CI = 0.17–0.37).
Although the cross-sectional design precludes the causal inference for the observed association, our study tended to suggest a need for more cautious use of MPs in children, because children are expected to experience a longer lifetime exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) from MPs. http://1.usa.gov/1vAoGAm
S. N. Narayanan, R. S. Kumar, V. Kedage, K. Nalini, S. Nayak, P. G. Bhat. Evaluation of oxidant stress and antioxidant defense in discrete brain regions of rats exposed to 900 MHz radiation. Bratisl Lek Listy. 2014;115(5):260-6.
AIM: In the current study, the effects of 900 MHz radio-frequency electromagnetic radiation (RF-EMR) on levels of thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances (TBARS), total antioxidants (TA), and glutathione S-transferase (GST) activity in discrete brain regions were studied in adolescent rats.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Thirty-six male Wistar rats (6-8 weeks old) were allotted into three groups (n = 12 in each group). Control group (1) remained undisturbed in their home cage; sham group (2) was exposed to mobile phone in switch off mode for four weeks; RF-EMR-exposed group (3) was exposed to 900 MHz of RF-EMR (1 hr/day with peak power density of 146.60 µW/cm2) from an activated Global System for Mobile communication (GSM) mobile phone (kept in silent mode; no ring tone and no vibration) for four weeks. On 29th day, behavioral analysis was done. Followed by this, six animals from each group were sacrificed and biochemical parameters were studied in amygdala, hippocampus, frontal cortex, and cerebellum.
RESULTS: Altered behavioral performances were found in RF-EMR-exposed rats. Additionally, elevated TBARS level was found with all brain regions studied. RF-EMR exposure significantly decreased TA in the amygdala and cerebellum but its level was not significantly changed in other brain regions. GST activity was significantly decreased in the hippocampus but, its activity was unaltered in other brain regions studied.
CONCLUSION: RF-EMR exposure for a month induced oxidative stress in rat brain, but its magnitude was different in different regions studied. RF-EMR-induced oxidative stress could be one of the underlying causes for the behavioral deficits seen in rats after RF-EMR exposure (Fig. 5, Ref. 37).
Open Access Paper: http://bit.ly/Y8W57T
Animals from RF-EMR group were exposed to RF-EMR (900 MHz) from an active GSM (Global System for Mobile communications) mobile phone (kept in silent mode; no ring tone and no vibration) for 1 hr/day for four weeks.
The exposure of rats was achieved by placing the phone in a wood bottom bamboo wire mesh cage (12 cm × 7 cm × 7 cm) in the center of the home cage (which has 3 rats in it). This was done carefully to prevent the rats from getting in direct contact with the device. A level 4 GSM mobile phone with a permitted power level of 2 W (with SAR specifi cation 1.58 W/kg) was used for this purpose. Animals were exposed to 900 MHz RF-EMR by giving 50 missed calls or unattended calls (within one hour) per day for 28 days. The phone was kept in silent mode (no ring tone and no vibration) and was allowed to ring ~45 seconds during each call, followed by a 15-second interval before next call. This process was repeated 50 times. A spectrum analyzer was used to determine the power in the vicinity of mobile phone. The peak power density recorded from the vicinity of the mobile phone (3 cm away from the phone) was found to be 146.60 μW/cm2. When the cell phone was not activated but in ‘ON’ mode, the peak power density was found to be 2.109 nW/cm2 (18).
The effect of RF-EMR–induced oxidative stress is a concern due to reasons as follows: 1) It could interfere with the learning and memory processes (32); 2) It may also accelerate various neurodegenerative diseases (33); 3) It might impair and oxidize DNA, lipids, sugars and proteins and consequently result in dysfunction of these molecules within cells and fi nally bring on cell death in various organs (34); 4) It could be a probable tumor promoter (35, 36).
Results of the current study clearly demonstrate that, RF-EMR exposure for a period of one month induced excessive lipid peroxidation and decreased antioxidants defense status in different brain regions of rats. We also conclude that oxidative stress could be one of the underlying mechanisms for behavioral alterations seen in rats after RF-EMR exposure. It is advisable to have a precautionary measure to reduce continuous and chronic exposure to RF-EMR from mobile phone and other RF-EMR emitting devices.
In 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that one in 88 children had autism. Two years later, in March, 2014, the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report presented a nearly 30% increase in this number. Now, one in 68 U.S. children has autism. The diagnosis is much more common in boys (one in 42—up from one in 54 in 2012) than girls (one in 189). If this trend continues, then eventually, most boys will have autism.
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Roxanne Nelson, Medscape Medical News, August 13, 2014
The potential harm from microwave radiation (MWR) emitted by wireless devices, particularly for children and unborn babies, is the highlight of a new review.
Although the data are conflicting, associations between MWR and cancer have been observed.
The review, by L. Lloyd Morgan, senior science fellow at Environmental Health Trust, and colleagues, was published online July 15 in the Journal of Microscopy and Ultrastructure.
The authors reviewed the current literature showing that children face a higher health risk than adults. They evaluated peer-reviewed cell phone exposure epidemiology from 2009 to 2014, along with cell phone dosimetry data, government documents, manufacturers' manuals, and similar publications.
Children and unborn babies face the highest risk for neurologic and biologic damage that results from MWR emitted by wireless devices, according to Morgan and colleagues.
The rate of absorption is higher in children than adults because their brain tissues are more absorbent, their skulls are thinner, and their relative size is smaller. The fetus is particularly vulnerable because MWR exposure can result in degeneration of the protective myelin sheath that surrounds brain neurons, they report.
Multiple studies have shown that children absorb more MWR than adults. One found that that the brain tissue of children absorbed about 2 times more MWR than that of adults (Phys Med Biol. 2008;53:3681-3695), and other studies have reported that the bone marrow of children absorbs 10 times more MWR than that of adults.
"Belgium, France, India, and other technologically sophisticated governments are passing laws and/or issuing warnings about children's use of wireless device," they write.
They note that MWR exposure limits have remained unchanged for 19 years, and that smartphone manufacturers specify the minimum distance from the body that their products must be kept so that legal limits for exposure to MWR are not exceeded. For laptop computers and tablets, the minimum distance from the body is 20 cm.
The authors explain that current exposure limits were established based on the erroneous assumption that tissue damage from overheating is the only potential danger of wireless devices.
However, extensive scientific reports have documented nonthermal biologic effects from chronic (long-term) exposure. Although government warnings have been issued worldwide, most of the public is unaware of such warnings, they write.
The review authors "continue to raise appropriate concerns related to the ever-increasing role of technologies that emit nonionizing radiation, including cell phones and certain toys," said L. Dade Lunsford, MD, Lars Leksell Professor of Neurological Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh, who was not involved in the study.
"They indicate that certain types of tumors, at least as reported, may have increased in incidence, including the most malignant brain tumors and perhaps hearing nerve tumors," he told Medscape Medical News. However, he pointed out that there are issues with some of the data, and that many of the reports are anecdotal.
"Among the concerns with such public health data are the inability to determine if there is one or many environmental factors — cell phones are not the only concerns — that are related, or whether the perceived increase is simply better recognition at earlier stages based on the availability of MRI, as well as better reporting," Dr. Lunsford explained.
"Perhaps it is enough to simply raise the alarm in the hope of liberating either government or industry-sponsored appropriately designed investigational research," he noted.
"Regardless, it seems unlikely that the use of cell phones will diminish; cell phones have saved more lives than will ever be lost," Dr. Lunsford said. However, "concerns related to the greatly expanded use of digital toys in childhood clearly warrant better science and, for the time being, appropriate vigilance."
The review points out the danger of childhood and fetal exposure to MWR, and the reasons the exposure is more pronounced in children than in adults, Morgan told Medscape Medical News.
"There are toys being sold to infants and toddlers that are dangerous," Morgan said. "The risk from exposure to any carcinogen is higher in children, and the younger the child, the higher the risk. The risk to adults from exposure to any carcinogen, to a first approximation, does not vary with age."
He explained that a problem known as "digital dementia" has been reported in school-aged children. The term was coined by German neuroscientist Manfred Spitzer in his 2012 book of the same name, and is used to describe how the overuse of digital technology is leading to a breakdown in cognitive abilities. It is sometimes also referred to as FOMO — fear of missing out — which is considered a form of social anxiety and is a compulsive concern about missing an opportunity for social interaction.
As a take-home message for physicians and other healthcare practitioners, Morgan emphasized that wireless telecommunication devices need to be used in a safe manner. These devices are now part of everyday life, "but they can be used in a manner that is safe enough," he said. "Cars are not safe, for example, but they are safe enough. The essential problem is the vast majority of the public has no knowledge of their hazards."
Morgan and his colleagues have made some recommendations.
The first is that "distance is your friend." The intensity of radiation decreases as the square of the distance from the source increases (the inverse-square law). He explained that holding a cell phone 15 cm from your ear "provides a 10,000-fold reduction in risk." Unless a cell phone is turned off, it is always radiating. When not in use, it should not be kept on the body. The best place for a cell phone is somewhere like a purse, bag, or backpack.
Devices should be kept away from a pregnant woman's abdomen, and a mother should not use a cell phone while nursing, Morgan noted. "And baby monitors should not be placed in an infant's crib." Children and adolescents need to know how to use these devices safely. Cell phones should not be allowed in a child's bedroom at night, he continued. "The Pew Research Center has reported that 75% of preteens and early teens sleep all night with their cell phone under their pillow."
Because the risk is cumulative, and more radiation is absorbed with more hours of use, children should be taught to minimize their wireless phone use, Morgan explained. Landlines, Skype, and computer phone services (when connected to the Internet with a cable) do not emit radiation and their use should be encouraged.
Finally, Wi-Fi routers in the home should be placed away from where people, particularly children, spend the most time. "Boys should not keep a cell phone in their front pants pockets," he said. There is a potential harm to sperm, although no prepuberty studies of young boys have assessed whether early exposure to MWR has any effect on sperm after puberty, he acknowledged.
"And girls should not place their cell phone in their bras," he added. This recommendation was based on a case study of 4 young women with a history of putting cell phones in their bras and who developed breast cancer — 2 at the age of 21 years (Case Rep Med. 2013;2013:354682).
The authors note that some studies have shown an increased risk for brain cancer with cell phone use, although some of these data have been disputed. In recent years, glioblastoma rates have increased in Denmark and the United States, and brain cancer incidence has increased in Australia, according to data drawn from cancer registries. The average time between exposure to a carcinogen and the diagnosis of a resultant solid tumor is 3 or more decades, so it will likely be several decades before tumors induced by childhood MWR exposure are diagnosed, they note.
Commenting to Medscape Medical News, Dr. Lunsford pointed out that much of the data are anecdotal and do not fit the hypothesis of a long latency interval between exposure and tumor development. For one of the 21-year-old women who developed breast cancer, cell phone exposure was only 6 years. "Unfortunately, we know neither the denominator nor the numerator of these index cases. Usage data are a closely guarded secret of phone service providers and a patient's own recall of exposure may or may not be correct due to recall bias," he noted.
In addition, the mechanism of oncogenesis is poorly understood and seems to conflict with the understanding that rapidly dividing cell lines, such as those in the skin, are the most susceptible to neoplastic transformation. However, there appear to be no reports of increased risk for local melanomas, basal cell cancers, or squamous cell cancers, which are the ones that would be expected to develop, Dr. Lunsford said.
The potential health risks related to cell phone use, especially brain tumors, have remained a hot-button issue. Studies have been inconsistent and results have been conflicting. Currently, there is no consensus about the degree of cancer risk posed by cell phone use, if any at all.
A recent French study, for example, found that the heaviest users face a higher-than-average risk for gliomas and meningiomas (Occup Environ Med. 2014;71:514-522). There was no association between brain tumors and regular cell phone use, but the association was significant for those with heavy life-long cumulative use.
The first study to specifically assess the health impact of cell phone use on children and adolescents, conducted in Europe, found no association with risk for brain cancer, as reported by Medscape Medical News in 2011.
However, the debate was reignited the same year when the World Health Organization classified radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans (group 2B) on the basis of the increased risk for glioma that some studies have associated with the use of cell phones.
Also in 2011, a nationwide Danish extension study found no evidence of an overall increase in brain tumors or any cancers over an 18-year period. The original Danish study compared cancer risk for all 420,095 Danish cell phone subscribers with that for nonusers from 1982 to 1995, with follow-up to 1996. The update extended follow-up to 2007.
When analyzed by morphologic subtype of intracranial central nervous system tumor, there was a slight but nonsignificant increase in the incidence rate ratio for glioma in men (1.08; 95% confidence interval, 0.96 to 1.22). The ratio was highest in the shortest-term users (1 to 4 years).
However, the results of extension study were met with a fierce rebuttal from group of international experts, who joined together and posted their response on ElectromagneticHealth.org, a health education and advocacy group based in the United States.
J Microsc Ultrastruct. Published online July 15, 2014. Abstract
Toronto, ON – The Elementary Teacher’s Federation of Ontario (ETFO) supports an Expert Panel recommendation that Health Canada provide the public with more information about radiofrequency energy, and the safe use of wireless technology.
“It would make sense for Health Canada to put this recommendation into the context of the classroom, and develop a resource for the safe use of wireless technology in our school communities,” said ETFO President Sam Hammond.
According to a 2013 national survey by the Canadian Teachers’ Federation, more than half of Canadian teachers were concerned about lack of information from school boards to teachers, students and parents about wireless technology.
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