January 2005

Design of new study on melanoma of the eye

A recent article outlined the design of a study of uveal melanoma (a tumour of the iris and related structures in the eye). Exposure to radiofrequency radiation from cell phones is one of the main areas to be explored, but a variety of potential risk factors will be included. The study compares newly diagnosed cases of the tumour in Germany with controls. The latter are of three types. Population-based controls are randomly selected from population lists, and will be matched to the cases for age, gender, and residential area. A second group will be drawn from the clients of ophthalmologists who have referred cases to the study. A third group will be siblings of cases. Data will be collected by self-administered questionnaire and by telephone interview. The authors hope to publish the study results in the summer of 2005.

The impetus for the research study was the publication of another German study on uveal melanoma in 2001 (Stang and colleagues). Three of the authors of the present paper contributed to the earlier paper. The 2001 study was criticized on methodological grounds. For more, see "What's New" of February 2001, and "Research - Epidemiology".

Reference: Schmidt-Pokrzywniak A, Jockel KH, Bornfeld N, Stang A. Case-control study on uveal melanoma (RIFA): rational and design. BMC Ophthalmol 2004;4:11.

Review of health effects of RF exposure

Another review of the epidemiology of health effects of exposure to radiofrequency radiation has been published. The conclusions of the authors are similar to other reviews:
"Results of epidemiologic studies to date give no consistent or convincing evidence of a causal relation between RF exposure and any adverse health effect. On the other hand, these studies have too many deficiencies to rule out an association".

For more, see "Research - Epidemiology".

Reference: Ahlbom A, Green A, Kheifets L, Savitz D, Swerdlow A (2004): Epidemiology of health effects of radiofrequency exposure. Environ Health Perspect 112:1741-1754.

Validation studies of self-reported cell phone use

A group of German researchers has published two papers describing studies in which they assessed the validity of self-reported cell phone use, as documented in a questionnaire used in the INTERPHONE study (see "Research Programs - IARC).
The authors found good correlation between self-reported use and information provided by network providers in terms of the number of calls per day. The correlation was moderate with regard to cumulative use.

Samkange-Zeeb F, Berg G, Blettner M. Validation of self-reported cellular phone use. Journal of Exposure Analysis and Environmental Epidemiology 2004;14:245-248.
Berg G, Schuz J, Samkange-Zeeb F, Blettner M. Assessment of radiofrequency exposure from cellular telephone daily use in an epidemiological study: German validation study of the international case-control study of cancers of the brain-INTERPHONE-Study. Journal of Exposure Analysis and Environmental Epidemiology 2004; Jul 21 (Epub ahead of print).

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