Scientists Cut Their Cell Phone
Use As Microwave Fears Mount
BBC News - Health
Leading scientists have have cut down or modified their personal use of mobile phones as fears mount that they can damage health.
New research to be published next month links mobile phone use to memory loss.
The use of mobile phones has already been linked to headaches, fatigue, damage to the immune system and cancer.
However, there is no firm evidence yet that mobile phones cause any harm.
Professor Colin Blakemore, Waynflete professor of physiology at Oxford University and a member of the official body that regulates the use of mobile phones in the UK, is one of those who have cut back their use of mobile phones.
Professor Blakemore said there was growing evidence that mobile phones could effect the functioning of the brain.
He said there other reasons not to use mobile phones, such as cost and annoyance to other people.
Professor Blakemore said nerve cells were influenced by electromagnetic radiation of the type produced by mobile phones.
He said the phones were also placed close to areas in the brain that regulated short-term memory, as well as areas that controlled heart function and blood pressure.
He told News Online: "It would not surprise me if there was a small temporary effect on the electrical response of nerve cells when the phone is in use which could impact on the brain's ability to process information."
Professor Blakemore said he had experienced problems concentrating while using mobile phones.
"I have experienced by attention being distracted rather more than it should have been just by the conversation I was having," he said.
However, Professor Blakemore said the effect of mobile phones was likely only to be temporary, and relatively small. He said reports that suggested mobile phones could cause permanent damage should be treated with great caution.
Earpiece use
Professor Jim Penman, from Aberdeen University, is another top academic who has changed the way he uses mobile phones.
He said we was using an earpiece attached to his mobile phone so that the handset was kept as far away from his brain as possible.
"I believe there is a significant risk to using mobile phones, and it seems prudent to minimise that risk if it can be done easily," he said.
Professor Penman said it was not yet clear whether the effects of radiation from mobile phones would be short term or long-term.
A team from Bristol Royal Infirmary has carried out research into a link between mobile phones and memory loss.
The research, to be published next month in the International Journal of Radiation Biology, is thought to show that mobile phone use has a most impact on short-term memory and may also reduce blood pressure.
The researchers, led by Dr Alan Preece, have refused to comment on their findings, and claim national press reports about their work are riddled with inaccuracies.