September 2005

Acoustic neuroma: an INTERPHONE report from 5 countries

There have been a number of research papers on acoustic neuroma and cell phones. For more, see "Research - Epidemiology". Another paper has been published (on-line) on the subject. This one is part of the INTERPHONE collaboration, and reports results from four Nordic counties and the UK. The Odds Ratio (OR) was 0.9 for regular mobile phone use, and there was no increased risk with duration of use, in contrast to the results of Lonn et al. (2004), who found a somewhat raised risk for those using a mobile phone for 10 years or more. The latter authors' results are included in the present study. The authors state


"The study suggests that there is no substantial risk of acoustic neuroma in the first decade after starting mobile phone use. However, an increase in risk after longer term use or after a longer lag period could not be ruled out".

Reference: Schoemaker MJ, Swerdlow AJ, Ahlbom A, Auvinen A, et al. Mobile phone use and risk of acoustic neuroma: results of the Interphone case-control study in five North European countries. British Journal of Cancer, published on-line August 30, 2005.

A review of cell phones, base stations, and cancer

The authors of a recent review of cell phones, base stations, and cancer conclude:


"Overall, a weight-of-evidence evaluation shows that the current evidence for a causal association between cancer and exposure to RF energy is weak and unconvincing. However, the existing epidemiology is limited and the possibility of epigenetic effects has not been thoroughly evaluated, so that additional research in those areas will be required for a more thorough assessment of a causal connection between cancer and RF energy from mobile telecommunications".

For more on this topic, see "Research - Epidemiology", and "Toxicological studies".

Reference: Moulder JE, Foster KR, Erdreich LS, McNamee JP. Mobile phones, mobile phone base stations and cancer: a review. Int J Radiat Biol 2005;81:189-203.

Possible explanation for the heat-shock protein response to EMFs in C. elegans

This group of authors had previously reported that heat-shock proteins were produced by C. elegans as a result of exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMFs). In the present paper the authors were able to demonstrate by the use of magnetometry and transmission electron microscopy that there was "compelling evidence" that C. elegans contains magnetite, which has the ability to absorb a significant amount of energy into the organism. They suggest that the presence of magnetite may provide a physically plausible explanation for the heat-shock protein responses seen in their earlier experiments.

For more, see "Toxicological experiments - Others - Heat shock response".

Reference: Cranfield CG, Dawe A, Karloukovski V, Dunin-Borkowski RE, et al. Biogenic magnetite in the nematode caenorhabditis elegans. Proc Biol Sci 2004;271 Suppl 6:S436-9.

Review of electromagnetic hypersensitivity

Some people report that they are sensitive to EMFs - that is, they suffer a range of symptoms when exposed to weak EMFs. Most studies have been unable to confirm the phenomenon. Rubin and colleagues carried out a review of provocation studies and came to the conclusion that "it has proved difficult to show under blind conditions that exposure to EMFs can trigger these symptoms". They found 31 published experiments, of which 7 related to mobile phone hypersensitivity.

Reference: Rubin GJ, Das Munshi J, Wessely S. Electromagnetic hypersensitivity: a systematic review of provocation studies. Psychosom Med 2005;67:224-232.

Lack of EMF effects on blood-brain barrier

There have been a number of studies that have examined the effect of EMFs on the blood-brain barrier (BBB). This barrier prevents substances with a high molecular weight from passing from the blood into the brain. If EMFs do alter the BBB it might be possible for toxic substances to penetrate into brain tissues. Cosquer and colleagues did a variety of experiments in an attempt to explore the effect of EMFs, and could not find any evidence of BBB disruption.

For more, see "Research- Toxicological studies - Brain function".

Reference: Cosquer B, Vasconcelos AP, Frohlich J, Cassel JC. Blood-brain barrier and electromagnetic fields: effects of scopolamine methylbromide on working memory after whole-body exposure to 2.45 GHz microwaves in rats. Behav Brain Res 2005 ;161:229-237.

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