Despite the lack of evidence so far, the suggestion that cell phone use is in some way linked to the development of brain tumors still abounds, prompting study after study. Newly published research out of Scandinavia, where cell phone use is particularly high, shows that there is still no link. Several years ago, our own Dr. Jeffrey Bruce from the Brain Tumor Center and his colleagues came to the same conclusion in a study they published in Neurology.
The recent article in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute details a retrospective comparison of the rates of brain tumors in Scandinavia with the rise of cell phone use since the 90’s. In particular, they looked to see if the incidence of gliomas and meningiomas, two types of brain tumor, increased between 1974 and 2003. Here is what they found:
From 1974 to 2003, brain tumor incidence rates in Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden were stable, decreased, or continued a gradual increase that started before the introduction of mobile phones. No change in incidence trends was observed from 1998 to 2003, the time when possible associations between mobile phone use and cancer risk would be informative about an induction period of 5–10 years. JNCI
Similarly, Dr. Bruce and his colleagues performed a retrospective study in 2002 that compared 90 people who were diagnosed with Acoustic Neuromas, tumors near the ear, against a group of 86 without. They gathered information from each person like: whether they even used a cell phone, how many minutes they talked per month, how long they had the phone, and which ear did they normally hold the phone to. Not only was there no correlation between those that had tumors and any cell phone use but there was a tendency for people to have tumors on the other side of the head than they usually held their phone.
As more time passes, the use of cell phones increases, and more research is done, then perhaps a connection will be made but by then it is quite possible that a newer technology will have developed for us to worry about. Besides, with hands-free and texting who is going to be holding their phone to their ear anyway?
*See Dr. Bruce‘s and his colleagues’ paper: Handheld cellular telephones and risk of acoustic neuroma in Neurology 2002;58:1304-1306
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