The authors used the technique of proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) that, they claimed, had never been used before to study the possible effects of cell phones on brain function. MRS allows the non-invasive examination of the brain by measuring the levels of certain metabolites that reflect the condition of neurons and glial cells, as well as membrane metabolism and energy status.
Two groups were recruited for the study - twenty-one cell phone users and 15 controls. The cell phone users had been using their phones for an average of 5.5 years and 2.4 hours per day. All used the phone on the right side of the head. The controls had never used a cell phone. The groups were comparable in age, but there were more males in the user group. All subjects were evaluated as being healthy.
was able to quantify 4 different metabolites:
Relative metabolite levels were expressed as the ratio of peak area of a selected signal divided by the peak area of the creatine resonance. The authors examined brain areas that are among those most irradiated by the antenna of the cell phone - the temporal lobe on the side of phone use, and the pontobulbar area. They also examined the contralateral temporal area as a control. Comparisons were made between the users and the non-users, and between the ipsilateral and contralateral sides of the users.
There were no significant differences between the users and the non-users. Also, there were no differences between the ipsi- and contra- lateral sides of the users.
The authors point out that the number of participants was small. They explain this by the difficulty in recruiting people who have extensive use of their phone, and by the expense of the MRS technique.