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January 2011

Replication study: mobile phone use associated with behavioural problems at age 7 years

Young children are now frequently being exposed to radiofrequency fields emitted by mobile phones as usage as increased in the last few years. Another concern is the usage of mobile phones by pregnant women. In a previous study, the authors found an association from the Danish National Birth Cohort (DNBC) for prenatal and postnatal exposure to mobile phone use and behavioural problems for children of 7 years. The objective of the study was to verify if the original results were due to chance thus the authors analyzed a new group of mothers and their child and adjusted for multiple potential confounders. The dataset for this analysis consisted of 28,745 children with a completed Age-7 Questionnaire. The results were that the highest odds ratio (OR) for behavioural problems were for children who had both prenatal and postnatal exposure to mobile phones. The adjusted OR was 1.5 (95% CI 1.4 to 1.7). The authors indicate that previous findings were replicated in this new group of subjects but the association was weaker. Controlling for additional confounders did not completely remove the associations. The authors stated “these results should not be interpreted as demonstrating a causal link between cell phone use and adverse health effects for children”.

Divan HA, Kheifets L, Obel C, Olsen J. Cell phone use and behavioural problems in young children. J Epidemiol Community Health. Dec 7, 2010 Ahead of print.

For more see “Research – epidemiological – cell phone studies
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Commentary on the design of the Interphone Study

The commentary prepared by Olson on the study design of the epidemiological case-control study called Interphone suggests that a large-scale cohort study would have been better and could have addressed other health endpoints other than cancer. The Interphone Study suffered from recall of past exposures from cell phone use and low participation rates mostly in the control group. The author concludes that “we have no strong argument to rule out health hazards of use of cell phones or other equipment with a similar exposure, we need to invest in getting this exposure into the large-scale ongoing cohorts, particularly in cohorts that start early in life.”

Olsen J. The interphone study: Brain cancer and beyond. Bioelectromagnetics. 30 Nov 2010. Ahead of print.

For more see “Research – epidemiological – cell phone studies
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Survey of physicians’ opinion on EMF and health in Germany

The objective of the survey was to gather the opinion of primary care physicians in Germany about the possible health risks of electromagnetic fields (EMF). The survey consisted of mailed-questionnaires sent to 2,795 physicians representing a random sample in Germany. A total of 435 physicians completed the 4-page questionnaire and 456 physicians the 1-page questionnaire.  When asked about discussing EMF with their patients, a total of 61.4% of physicians reported having talked about EMF and health with at least one patient. Results indicate that in approximately 73% of EMF discussions, the patient brought up the EMF topic thinking such risks exist. Physicians often talk with their patients about the health risks from EMF exposure. The recommendations made by physicians were frequently not evidence-based and could negatively affect the patients’ lives.

Berg-Beckhoff G, Heyer K, Kowall B, Breckenkamp J, Razum, O. (2010). The Views of Primary Care Physicians on Health Risks From Electromagnetic Fields. Dtsch Arztebl Int 107(46): 817-23.

For more see “Research – epidemiological – other studies – other populations
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Study of the statistical perturbations associated with the influence of the human body on personal exposure meter

Personal exposure meters are important tools to assess personal exposure to radiofrequency fields (RF) and have been used more often lately in epidemiological studies. But, their recordings are prone to errors because of the presence of the human body. The objective of the paper was to present a novel analysis for the characterization of perturbations of the fields. The personal exposure meter was placed in a small backpack on the back of a volunteer (26-year-old female, 1.75 m, 74 kg). Simulations were compared with real personal exposure meter measurements in a 35-minute walk. Results indicate a good agreement for the mean square error and E-field cumulative distribution function. A significant improvement was noted when the shadowing effect was further considered. The paper contributes to understand statistical perturbations and the influence of the human body on a personal exposure meter. The authors concluded that the study suggests that not accounting for the shadowing effect is a systematic error and not a random error.

Rodríguez B, Blas J, Lorenzo RM, Fernández P, Abril EJ. Statistical perturbations in personal exposure meters caused by the human body in dynamic outdoor environments. Bioelectromagnetics. Nov 30, 2010. Ahead of print.

For more see “Research – exposure assessment
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Effect of RF from mobile phone on memory; a study in mice using multiple exposure protocols

The objective was to investigate whether mobile phone radiofrequency fields (RF) affect the object recognition memory that requires cortex function in mice Mus musculus C57BL/6. The experiment was conducted with mice divided into 3 groups (8 mice per group): 1) mice exposed to RF (SAR=0.22W/kg); 2) sham-exposed mice; and 3) control mice. One day after the protocols the object recognition test was performed again. Results indicate that chronic RF exposure (17 days EMF exposed group) had a major effect on object recognition memory. Acute exposure did not affect mice memory. The authors concluded that translating their results into possible adverse health effects in humans, the findings support that memory impairments could occur after RF exposure on volunteers in clinical trials.

Ntzouni MP, Stamatakis A, Stylianopoulou F, Margaritis LH. Short-term memory in mice is affected by mobile phone radiation. Pathophysiology. Nov 25, 2010. Ahead of print.

For more see “Research – laboratory – brain function
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Project to confirm soviet-era results on immunological and teratological effects of RF field in rats

The results of Poulletier de Gannes et al. and Grigoriev et al. did not provide support for the original Soviet study results. Although Grigoriev et al. mentioned that they did confirm some of the immunological and teratological findings of the Soviet studies, the International Oversight Committee (IOC) concluded that the Grigoriev results were not convincing enough. There were too few animals in both studies to reach definitive conclusions. The IOC said that the current study design is not recommended in further studies because of its inappropriateness for human health risk assessment. According to the current WHO RF research agenda, there should be more studies conducted that relate to RF effects in children.

Repacholi M, Buschmann J, Pioli C, Sypniewska R, International Oversight Committee (IOC) members for the Franco-Russian Project.  An international project to confirm soviet-era results on immunological and teratological effects of RF field exposure in wistar rats and comments on Grigoriev et al. Bioelectromagnetics. 15 Dec 2010. Ahead of print.

For more see “Research – laboratory – other – immune system
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