- New York (Reuters) - As cellular phones become ubiquitous,
their status as a possible health threat - either as a distraction to
drivers or a potential cause of brain tumours - is gaining more attention.
Now, investigators say there is evidence that cell phones may damage nerves
in the scalp.
- In the current issue of the journal Occupational Medicine,
Australian researchers report on a patient whose cell phone use appears
to have damaged nerves in his scalp.
- According to Drs Bruce Hocking and R. Westerman of Caulfield
General Medical Centre in Victoria, this nerve injury may explain the
scalp pain they have found in 40 cell phone users so far who complain
of burning feelings or dull aches around the ear, the temple, or back
of the head.
- In this case, the 72-year-old man suffered pain only
on the right side of his head, where he held his cell phone. He described
his symptoms as a persistent bruised feeling that was on the head ,
rather than in the head . The pain extended from the right side of his
head to his cheek and neck. The investigators found signs of sensory damage
in some nerves in the right side of man's head, but not on the left.
- Hocking told Reuters Health that these findings offer
a plausible neural basis for the symptoms among the 40 cell phone users
his team has identified. In other words, he said, their pain is not just
all in their minds .
- While it is unclear how cell phones might harm scalp
nerves, Hocking noted, it is unlikely that it is the heat that radiates
from the phones. Such thermal effects have been put up as a possible risk
for brain tumours. If heat were behind this man's scalp pain, Hocking
said, his lifetime of Australian summers would have produced similar symptoms.
Besides, he added, the scalp has a very efficient cooling system.
- Instead of burning the skin, cell phones may somehow
disturb nerve function in the scalp, according to Hocking.
- He stressed, however, that this research does not offer
any support to the theory that cell phones contribute to the formation
of brain tumours - a health condition that would arise from genetic damage,
rather than nerve injury.
- Hocking and Westerman conclude that exposure to the
head from mobile phone radiation should be minimised by using short call
times and the use of hands-free or other devices.
Site Served by TheHostPros