A recent study is said to have found that signals from cellphone antennas produce a measurable alteration in brain activity when the antenna is situated in proximity of the user’s head. The study, conducted by the National Institutes of Health and Brookhaven National Laboratory, did not aim to estimate potential negative effects due to electromagnetic radiation, according to researchers.
They scanned users’ brains when cellphones were held to the right and left sides of their heads for as long as an hour and over two test days. Subjects of the tests did neither speak into their phones nor listen to conversations. The phones were left off on one of the test days and muted on another in order to make impossible for the users to know if the devices were powered on or off.
The results of the tests indicated an eight to ten percent rise of the glucose metabolism in brain regions close to the active antenna of the cellphone. According to Dr. Nora Volkow, one of the researchers involved in this study, the change was comparable to what happens in glucose metabolism in the visual zone of the cortex when a person speaks. Dr. Volkow was cited in a report published in the Wall Street journal.
Volkow said that the study shows clearly that the human brain is sensitive to electromagnetic radiations produced by cellphones. However, she added that it is impossible to know, as a result of this study, whether these radiations cause harmful side-effects or not.
The topic has been intensely debated since the very beginning of widespread cellular use. Reports still are not unanimous in saying that negative consequences such as cancer could be determined by the use of cellphones. San Francisco recently began to require the mandatory labeling of radiation levels which are emitted by various handsets, but the CTIA initiated a lawsuit against the legislation. The CTIA is a trade organization which represents both carriers and cellphone manufacturers.
The FCC is testing devices to guarantee compliance with SAR levels considered safe by the agency. The FDA also considers that existing information cannot be used to draw conclusions related to negative health effects due to cellphone radiations.
The study has been published a few days ago in the Journal of the American Medical Association.