UK research awards announced
In 2000 the Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones in the UK recommended that further research be done on the health effects of mobile phones. Fifteen research awards, worth a total of 4.5 million pounds, have now been announced under the LINK Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research Programme (MTHR). The initiative is funded jointly by government and industry. Four epidemiological studies of cancer are planned, as well as experiments on brain function, hearing and balance, blood pressure, and cell metabolism. A study is also planned into the effect of mobile phone use on car driving tasks. Others will examine the deposition of energy from RF radiation in the body.
More details can
be found at www.mthr.org.uk . Additional
projects will be funded at a later date.
Sykes and colleagues from Flinders University in South Australia report on the effects on mice of exposure to 4W/kg pulsed 900 MHz radiation for 30 minutes daily. They examined the frequency of spontaneous intrachromosomal recombination events in the spleen of mice exposed to the radiation. There was no significant difference between exposed mice and controls in those exposed for 1 or 5 days, but there was a significant reduction in the recombination frequency in the 25-day group. A similar reduction can be seen with proven genotoxic agents, so that this may not be a beneficial event. The authors state that the number of animals in each treatment group was small, and replication of the experiment with a larger number is required. More details of this can be found in "Toxicological Experiments - cancer studies".
Sykes PJ, McCallum BD, Hooker AM (2001): Effect of exposure to 900 MHz
radiofrequency radiation on intrachromosomal recombination in pKZ1 mice.
Radiation Research 156:495-502.
In "What's New" of July 2000 and November 2001 we discussed heat-shock proteins (Hsps). These are proteins released by the body as a protective mechanism in stressful situations. De Pomerai and colleagues showed an increase in Hsps in the soil nematode C. elegans exposed to RF radiation, and French and colleagues hypothesized that chronic exposure to radiation from mobile phones might cause increased levels of Hsps in brain tissue, which might induce or promote cancer.
Now Kwee and colleagues report that human cells exposed to 960 MHz radiation for 20 minutes at a very low SAR of 2.1 mW/kg produced higher amounts of Hsp than sham-exposed cells. This was thought to be an athermal effect.
Kwee S, Raskmark P, Velizarov S (2001): Changes in cellular proteins
due to environmental non-ionizing radiation. I. Heat-shock proteins.
Electro- and Magnetobiology 20:141-152.