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back to article Mobile phones immobilise bones

Forget about brain tumours, mobile phones may also cause your bones to crumble, scientists in Argentina appear to have discovered. Medical researchers at the National University of Cuyo believe that cellular phones may increase the likelihood of developing Osteoporosis, a skeletal disease characterised by reduced bone mass and …

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Happy

Sample size

The sample size, at 48, seems a bit small, especially when the team "noted that the phone users were generally younger and weighed less" which implies a skewed sample too. Given the lack of any credible mechanism for low energy RF from mobiles interacting with body tissue, I'm not worried yet.

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WTF?

Crap. I need to buy a manbag now.

Could you clarify the following please?

"the fellows with phones showed "significantly lower" bone mineral content (BMC) and bone mineral density (BMD) between the upper right femur - near where the phone was carried - and the upper left femur."

As it stands, this appears to be saying the BMC/BMD were lower in the pelvis (i.e. between the upper left and upper right femurs).

I suspect it means:

"the fellows with phones showed "significantly lower" bone mineral content (BMC) and bone mineral density (BMD) in the upper right femur - near where the phone was carried - compared to the upper left femur."

...or am I just being pedantic?

In any case, I'm now wondering where I should keep my phone, there aren't really any places someone as skinny as I am can put it that aren't near any bones.

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Anonymous Coward

Dr Davros

It happened to me - I used a mobile phone and then all my bones fell out!

Now my doctor 's saying I'll have to be put into a MkIII travel machine or sommat? Dunno.

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Or maybe

it could be that from continually having your phone in that position it might of caused some wear on the bones and therefore they would show a difference to the other side??

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Paris Hilton

to rub or not to rub

...or most men wank with their right hand?

Paris, because she's got money for me to sue when I get Osteoporosis.

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This post has been deleted by its author

Silver badge

It's hard to create a control...

...for a FUNCTIONAL device. The reason being the radiation being purported as the cause is in fact the very thing that makes the phone work. So you can't have a control with a functioning device (because it would then emit radiation). And altered function means altered behaviour. Blinding the experiment becomes impossible at this rate.

Nice thought about the weight, though. How about another test group, this time with the device or weight on the LEFT side, to account for any other form of side-specific bias that may not have to do with the phone.

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Coat

Control Groups

This experiment demonstrates the effect of carrying an EM-radiation emitting device on the hip vs no device/weight at all. As stated, the Control group should have been given a hip-holstered, exact-weight/size replica of a dummy device. As commented above, you do not need a radiation-emitting dummy device to be an effective "control." The "control" group is designed to be as-exactly-the-same as the test group(s) as possible. Best way to do this would be to give the control group a dead phone of the same model as the test group. The bone density and mineralization could be due to different stresses on the bone due to a variation of walking with an object on the hip which is (even subconsciously) "in the way" of a normal arm swing when walking. This can cause one to favor the opposite leg and likely lean to the left (in this case) or swing the arm out a bit further on the right (hence the slight left lean to compensate). Thus, a dummy (dead) device would compensate for this potentiality. Short of EMF being generated due to a magnetic field causing power on the circuitry, a "dead" device should work just fine.

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Explains a lot

Ever noticed how someone on a mobile invariably walks around in a large circle?

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Gold badge
Coat

That's just advanced planning..

They're about to lie down. No idea if that is because of expected bone wear, though.

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WTF?

may & might

Another study with a small sample size, possibly skewed sample, and suggesting no explanation for exactly how the phone can cause the claimed effect. We've had mobile phones for decades now, if they really have all these harmful effects, then why can't anyone make a decisive, conclusive study with a huge, randomly selected sample? Why hasn't anyone even suggested a possible model of *how* the phone can harm the body?

Could it be that the things are (*gasp*) not actually unhealthy?

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Proper sample, controls?

Randomised for left/right pockets?

People could quite conceivably walk asymmetrically naturally and/or through carrying a bag on one side, leading to mismatched left/right bone density.

Controls to eliminate mechanical (and/or thermal) effects, such as phone squeezing on leg and causing poor local blood circulation?

And in other news, pockets full of phones and wallets also "remove" body-hair locally...

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Silver badge

Willing volunteers or guinea pigs kept in the dark?

(see subject)

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Flame

and another thing....

if both populations have a significant left/right variation then maybe it is normal...

shame they did not do ANOVA

or have a decent sample size

or study

FUD

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FAIL

DEXA

is part of my job

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Flame

Lies, damn lies and statistics

both P values are at the significant level of 0.05 fpr variation left/right

the paper states no difference in mean BMC/BMD

r value is a coin toss

I call shenanigans

Primer of Biomedical Statistics might help the journalist

I love the smell of male bovine faeces in the morning...

.

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Silver badge

On the plus side -

- it means people who spend a lot of time with mob phones in their hands are going to have weaker fists, hence are less likely to cause trouble.

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jai
Silver badge

so what you're saying is...

...the iPhone4's so-called antenna problem is actually helping to save my hips from falling apart?

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Differences

Different ages, different lifestyles, different diet - if you don't get enough calcium then the natural process of creating and removing bone mass is biased towards bone removal. The young 'uns should drink more milk. Or something - I've been told to lay off saturated fat, so I don't see why anyone else should get to enjoy it.

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