- "Anyone who uses a mobile phone
for more than 20 minutes at at time needs their head examined."
- The Daily Mail carried a front page splash
on a study carried out by military scientists at the Defence Evaluation
and Research Agency which suggested that mobile phone signals disrupt part
of the brain which controls memory and learning.
- Recent studies have already found mobiles
- used by nine million people across Britain - can cause a rise in blood
pressure and may harm pregnant women.
- And they have been linked with brain
tumours, cancer, headaches and tiredness.
- 'No health warning'
- But a DERA spokesman, although admitting
that the research had taken place, said it was not specifically into the
impact of mobile phone signals.
- He said: "No health warning has
been announced, and the research has been hyped.
- "The radio waves tested are those
that are used by mobile phones, and it is quite exciting because obviously
there is an effect, but we do not know whether it is long term or short
term. More research is needed."
- Research on rats
- DERA scientists carried out experiments
on rats with money from the Defence Ministry and Department of Health.
- The research was based on stimulating
a slice of rat brain with broadcast radio signals at levels lower than
current mobile phone safety limits.
- The spokesman said: "It was noted
that there was an effect on brain activity. When the radio waves were turned
on brain activity stopped or slowed down, and when they were turned off
brain activity started again."
- A big leap
- Dr Alan Preece, a consultant clinical
scientist carrying out research into the impact of mobile phone signals
on human volunteers, said it was too early for alarm.
- Dr Preece said radio waves did penetrate
the human head, but most were absorbed in the skin and skull before reaching
- He said: "This research is carried
out on rat brain slices, and it is an awfully big step to equate it to
the impact on human brains. The public should wait for the outcome of human
studies before getting too worried about it."
- Dr Preece found radio waves do have impact
on short term memory in a previous study, but at much lower frequencies
than those used by mobile phones.
- Liz Francis, a spokeswoman for the National
Radiological Protection Board, said further research was needed on the
impact on humans, and warned against generalising from animal research.
- She said: "There is nothing at present
to suggest any need to change our current line that it is safe to use the
current generation of mobile phones."
- Some campaigners, however, believe mobile
phones should carry warning labels.
- Scientist Dr Roger Coghill told the Daily
Mail: "Anyone who uses a mobile phone for more than 20 minutes at
at time needs their head examined." Last year a US study found rats
lost their ability to learn simple tasks after exposure to microwave radiation
similar to that emitted by mobile phones.