back to article New tumor trial rules mobiles 'not guilty'

The verdict from latest "Do mobile phones fry your brain?" study is in, and the answer is a resounding "Nope". This new study was a monster: based on data from 2.8 million Danes, it studied the comparative likelihood of long-term users, newer users, and non-users of mobiles coming down with a non-cancerous form of brain tumor. …

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Happy

http://xkcd.com/925/

Turned up in my RSS feeds at exactly the same time as this story.

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Meh

Back and forth

Yet another study with results contrary to the last one. I wish they'd settle this. I was a very early cell phone user starting in the early 1980s, and I had an acoustic neuroma removed in 1996. I remember specifically choosing my first "brick" handset model because it had more output wattage than any other. I wish I hadn't done that. But this does point out, there is a population of older cell phone users, going back to the 80s when phones emitted far more power than today. Those users might be more useful in a study like this.

There is considerable speculation that acoustic neuromas are congenital (at least some of them) and there is a significant population of people who live long lives without them ever growing or having any health effect. There is also speculation that the RF energy makes these tumors grow, causing trouble for people who might never have been affected by their dormant, microscopic tumors. I have no idea, but I do note my tumor was in my left ear, and I always use my left ear on the phone. I also note that this is just anecdotal evidence, and the plural of anecdote is not "data."

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Brick phones

I had a brick phone from 1993, and in 2002 at age 31 had a parotid tumour diagnosed and removed... doctors then said 'off the record' they were seeing way more tumours than normal in the 30s age group and were atributing them to mobiles... Maybe the Danes just didn't use phones till they were 'safer'...

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Boffin

Repeat after me

Correlation is not causation.

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Anonymous Coward

proceed with caution

These study results are reassuring.

But I won't be convinced of their safety until someone can explain what exactly the painful irritation is in my head that I get when I've been holding a mobile phone to it for a long time is.

(and I'm not referring to my ex on the other end of the line!)

I find this study on rats interesting --

http://www.cellphoneradiationprotection.com/reference/rat-brain-study.shtml

"Adolescent rats were exposed for 2 hours to GSM phones at one of three power levels: 0.01, 0.1, or 1 watt (W). Rats in a control group were not exposed.

Examination of the animals' brain tissue 50 days later revealed that up to 2 percent of the brain cells of rats that had received cell-phone radiation exposures of 0.1 watt or greater were dead or dying. The hippocampus, cortex, and brain stem suffered the most damage. The other groups showed no significant brain-cell death."

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Silver badge
Joke

The irritation stems from the voice on the other end

for me at least

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Silver badge

The difficulty in extrapolating that rat study ...

... into humans is that the physiology is significantly different. Rat skulls are very much thinner than human skulls, and the hippocampus etc is much less distant from the surface in real terms than a human's is. The inverse square law is insurmountable, and therefore the latter point makes a big difference, especially when 1W is used - according to Wikipedia, it seems that most phones put out less than 3.6W (https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Mobile_phone_radiation_and_health), and so the 1W level to a rat brain would be the equivalent of more power than a mobile phone can put out, relative to the human brain.

To me, the evidence points to no, or very low, levels of risk in ordinary circumstances. We have made very bad decisions with regard to the benefit/cost ratio before (see asbestos, for example), and it would be good to get it right this time.

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Hams

I think a study involving Radio hams would be worthwhile, we hams are divided into those who do and those who don't use hi powered handheld transceivers.We are mostly old codgers as well so in the age group for brain tumours!

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Silver badge

Any study can easily be faked

For example you can narrow your criteria after conducting the study.

If you follow the hysteria about the topic, you'll find that they are constantly debating on what exactly is supposed to be dangerous. I think the latest on that topic is that only pulsed radiation within a certain range of intensities is dangerous.

Of course once you stop relying on science and reason, you can explain it like this guy here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BT7YZpJ4oks

Note that starting from 0:50 you will see god (Gott) creating the creation (Schöpfung) by means of scalar waves. Now wait till 2:03 where you'll see the "transmission tower" (Sendemast) which disturbs the scalar waves of the creation and is of course outside of the creation.

So essentially what you have is a lot of studies which go one way, a lot of studies which go the other way, some publication bias, and meta analysis of varying quality. The typical symptoms of a non-existing effect.

Also note that there are some people who claim to sensitive to that kind of radiation, yet none of them got themselves successfully tested in the lab.

Besides isn't it odd that such devices should cause brain tumours? I mean back when people used to telephone with such things, they were either in the trunk of a car, or worn around the hip. Nowadays they are hand-held and even the worst ones can easily be read at a distance of several decimeters. Wouldn't that more likely cause some sort of hand tumour?

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Meh

But on the other hand...

Number of phone users grows enormously, number of cancer cases relatively stable --- so cancer incidence rate per mobile phone is PLUMMETING! So what is curing all those phones?

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Silver badge

Who the fuck knows?

Well, to start, we could discuss non-ionizing radiation ...

But that would be too sensible ...

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Trollface

I liked...

""we have only up to 15 years of observation time of larger numbers of users – which is perhaps too short to see an effect, if there is any.""

The guy does irony well, doesn't he?

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Trollface

xkcd

http://xkcd.com/925/

for that graph it is clear that long turm mobile phone use dose have an infulance on cancer. it seames to cure it

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Boffin

Einstein

Cellphones do not emit radiation in the bandwidth that causes cancer.

to cause cancer you need to break the bonds within the molecule. The amount of energy required to do this, is a function of the wavelength. CellPhone radiation does not have the required wavelengths.

http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/CancerCauses/OtherCarcinogens/MedicalTreatments/radiation-exposure-and-cancer

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Cancer not just caused by ionising radiation

Damaging DNA with UV and upwards is certainly the easiest way of causing cancer, but not the only way (that's not to say I think mobile phones cause cancer).

Cells have a variety of mechanisms to repair themselves - if some of those mechanisms become damaged or destroyed then the likelihood of cancer increases fairly substantially. This may be caused by chemicals, viral infection etc.

It's *possible* that increased heat caused by the phone has an effect that may lead to cell repair mechanisms becoming damaged. Altered enzyme reaction rates for example may result in certain chemicals building up (either because they are produced too quickly or not disposed of as efficiently) and causing stress to the cell.

I'm not saying that definitely is the case, but it's important not to view mobile phone radiation purely in the light of it being non-ionising.

Personally I believe that even if there is a causal link, it will be all but impossible to statistically prove. So many people use mobile phones, it is very hard to find a control group. You can go to places where nobody uses mobile phones, but then genetics becomes a variable. How do you know that the likelihood of suffering this particular disease is the same in both groups?

PS From the article - "The non-cancerous nature of the neuroma doesn't effect the results of the study". I know it'll be claimed as a typo, but seriously...

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Bronze badge
Boffin

Won't someone do a proper study?

It wouldn't be too difficult! Set up two (larg-ish) colonies of mice, preferably by taking a very large colony and splitting down the middle. Have these colonies in two different climate-controlled rooms on the same floor of the same building, one with an RF transmitter of your desired power, one without. Don't let the researchers doing the test know which is which. Let the mice grow/live/breed/die for a bit (2 murine lifespans should do). Observe said mice during their life cycles and annotate murine cancers, bone density, and all of the other ills "caused" by cell phones. If the group with the RF transmitter has a notable increase, then you can do further studies to refine what the cause is. If the incidences are even, then the issue is put paid. If (my guess) incidences are lower, then you have more studies to find out why RF cures these things, and until that is fully understood, we have a new homeopathy/magnet therapy option.

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Anonymous Coward

title

I'll never forget watching one of the UK's leading brain tumour specialists taking a call on his iphone using a wired handsfree kit while holding the phone itself as far as possible from his head. I'm absolutely not saying that it means anything- after all, perhaps the phone earpiece was broken- but it sticks in my mind.

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Joke

Title

Maybe he had to hold it like that to get reception?

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If Wireless Radiation has no ill effects then how come?

Electro-Sensitivity (ES)

Electro-sensitive people suffer from a variety of symptoms in close vicinity to electromagnetic fields, Wi-fi, mobiles, DECT phones, baby monitors, certain light sources etc: Headaches, Speech problems, dizziness, chest palpations, tinnitus, pressure in the ears. sweating at night. skin irritations, pins and needles in the hands in the mornings, short-term memory loss, nauseas, joint aches and pressures at the back of the head as well as in the sinus or forehead area.

Even if you are not ES yet, it is beneficial to turn off your Wifi over night, as well as to ban electrical items, your cordless phones and mobiles from your bedroom. You will sleep much better and are less likely to have an interrupted sleep pattern. Usually waking around 4 am.

Another simple test is to stop carrying your mobile on your body (chest or trouser pockets). in many cases people experience the so-called “phantom text messages”. This describes a situation where every now and then you think you had a text message, when keeping the phone in your pockets, but when you checked there was no message. Some even suffer from heart palpitations. If that is case, just try for a while to carry your mobile in a bag or switch it off, while you have it in your pocket.

If you want to find out more:

es-uk info/

magdahavas com (Canadian website)

mobilewise com

electromagnetichealth org/audio-archives-and-more/

electrosensitivity org

powerwatch org uk

http://www.es-uk.info/forums/thread.asp?threadID=529

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/mobile-phone-radiation-wrecks-your-sleep-771262.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1373073/Are-secret-U-S-army-tests-blame-TV-presenters-speaking-utter-gibberish.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

http://www.gq.com/cars-gear/gear-and-gadgets/201002/warning-cell-phone-radiation?currentPage=1

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@spinneyhorse

From my perspective, so-called "ES" sounds like Reyes Syndrome or Lyme disease ... I am not a doctor, and this is not a diagnosis, yadda yadda.

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Bronze badge
Stop

Phantom pager

I do have "phantom pager" syndrome, but I attribute that to the fact that my cell is usually carried at the same position on my waist and set primarily to vibrate.

As to the Web sites, without opening them I predict that they are mostly anecdata and scaremongering tabloid journalism.

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Anonymous Coward

Sure

Even if you are not ES yet, it is beneficial to turn off your Wifi over night, as well as to ban electrical items, your cordless phones and mobiles from your bedroom. You will sleep much better and are less likely to have an interrupted sleep pattern. Usually waking around 4 am.

...

...

...

BAAAHH HA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! OOOOOOOO HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

I suppose if I do 'become ES', "Chiropractic," will hold the cure?

HEHEHEHEHA HA HA

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Boffin

@spinneyhorse

Cause:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Somatoform_disorder

Treatment:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_behavioral_therapy

Outcome:

You're welcome. My consultation fee is in the mail. Please pay promptly.

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Silver badge
Joke

@spinneyhorse

No, no, no - don't let those charlatans fool you! You are the focus of pre-poltergeist activity!! Mischievous spirits are deciding whether to go full plate-breaky on you, and testing you to see how much publicity they will get! The only effective thing you can do is buy my special Pre-Poltergeist Removal Kit (containing "silver" cross, garlic, "holy" water, selected readings from the world's major religions, and a special blend of herbs and spices) all prepared according to my ancient family method. You will not sleep soundly until you do this, and the cost is a mere £250+P&P (payable in advance, of course)!

Seriously, if you can prove what you are saying I think there is a million dollars on offer via James Randi, because you are in the realm of the paranormal.

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Boffin

@Repeat after me

And the plural of anecdotes is not data !

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Happy

Anecdata

I like it! It is so descriptive of what passes for evidence in so many discussions. When you ask where the data come from, the answer is "I don't know, but I saw it somewhere".

Anecdata - a new, appropriate word for our times.

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Silver badge

Don't worry

There will soon be a study from the other side of the issue claiming that Danes are immune to cell phone radiation.

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Anonymous Coward

Mobile Phones cause Stupidity

Is obvious, no?

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Zap
Thumb Down

I smell bacon

Whenever you get a study like this you have to first look at who ultimately funded it, chances are that on this one it was a rep of the mobiel phone industry.

Then you have to look at the way the questions were asked or what they looked for.

I have no idea about the validy of this or any other study all I know is that if I use my mobile for more than two minutes I start to smell bacon!

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Happy

Bacon

I read somewhere that using a mobile phone for more than two minutes causes you to smell bacon. I'm going to regurgitate this, presented as fact, at every opportunity until a high-quality peer-reviewed randomised, controlled, double-blind study *not funded by anyone* proves conclusively that nobody ever smells bacon or contemplates having a bacon sarnie in a bit, while using a cellular telephone.

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