A study, headed by Nora D. Volkow, M.D. and conducted by the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, examined the effects of cell phones use on the brain by utilizing positron emission tomography (PET) on 47 participants. Cell phones were placed against the ears of the participants for a period of 50 minutes while PET scans measured brain activity. Two scans were performed: one while the phones were off and a second time while the phones were on. The PET scans were used to detect the effect of the cell phone radiation on the brain's glucose metabolism. The glucose metabolism affects every area of the brain and is associated with cellular and behavioral brain function. It plays a role in memory and cognition, as well as diseases such as schizophrenia, stroke and diabetes.
he study found that the cell phone radiation did not change the entire brain's function, but significantly affected the regions closest to the antennae. The orbitofrontal cortex and temporal pole, nearest to the ear, had a 7% increase in glucose metabolic activity. "These results provide evidence that the human brain is sensitive to the effects of RF-EMFs from acute cell phone exposures," the paper concluded. The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
In an associated editorial, Henry Lai, Ph.D., of the University of Washington, Seattle, and Lennart Hardell, M.D., Ph.D., of University Hospital, Orebro, Sweden, question whether the results of the study suggest the possibility of other effects on brain function, such as neurotransmitter and neurochemical activities. "If so, this might have effects on other organs, leading to unwanted physiological responses. Further studies on biomarkers of functional brain changes from exposure to radiofrequency radiation are definitely warranted."
Nora D. Volkow, M.D., has been the Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) at the National Institutes of Health since 2003. NIDA supports most of the world's research on the health aspects of drug abuse and addiction.
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