Cell Phone Users - Your Brain At Risk!
From ScienceDaily (11/14) Radiation A Risk Factor For Brain Tumors In Young People, Study Finds
In people under age 30, radiation is a risk factor for a type of brain tumor
called a meningioma, a Loyola University
Medical Center study has found.
Researchers analyzed records of 35 patients who were diagnosed with meningiomas
before age 30. Five had been exposed to ionizing radiation earlier in their
lives. They include two patients who received radiation for leukemia at ages 5
and 6; one who received radiation at age 3 for a brain tumor known as a
medulloblastoma; and one who received radiation for an earlier skull base tumor
that appeared to be a meningioma. The fifth patient had been exposed at age 9
to radiation from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster in Ukraine. Twenty
years later, he was diagnosed with a meningioma. In the five patients, the
average latency period for the tumors was 23.5 years.
The study was published in the online journal Neuroscience Discovery. "The
results of this preliminary study have prompted us to look closely at
radiation's effects on the brain," said Loyola neurosurgeon Vikram Prabhu, MD,
first author of the study. Dr. Prabhu specializes in treating brain tumors.
A meningioma is a tumor, usually benign, that arises from the meninges -- the
membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord. Meningiomas comprise about
one-third of all primary brain tumors, but are rare in children and young
adults. It is one of the commonest brain tumors treated at Loyola by Dr. Prabhu
and his team. They are doing a follow-up study on patients of all ages who have
been treated at Loyola for meningiomas. In collaboration with Dr. Omer Iqbal,
from the Department of Pathology, they are analyzing the genetics and biology
of tumor samples to find how they differ from samples of tumors not linked to
radiation. Loyola oncologist Kevin Barton, MD, a co-author of the study, said:
"It is important to compare and contrast these post-radiation meningiomas with
de novo meningiomas, both clinically and biologically, in order to further
define optimal therapy."
Researchers so far have identified 14 meningioma patients who were exposed to
radiation earlier in their lives. They include three patients who were exposed
to Chernobyl radiation and 11 patients who received therapeutic radiation for
such conditions as leukemia, medulloblastoma tumors and fungal infections of
the scalp. Dr. Edward Melian, a radiation oncologist at Loyola and co-author of
the study, said patients generally have done very well with radiation
treatments. "Although we have identified radiation as a risk factor for
meningiomas, radiation remains an important part of the treatment regimen for
certain lesions, and is helping us obtain good results for our patients." Dr.
Prabhu said physicians have become more judicious in using radiation for
therapeutic purposes. For example, radiation no longer is used to treat fungal
scalp infections. "We have become more aware of the tumor-inducing properties
of radiation," Dr. Prabhu said.
People who have been exposed to large doses of radiation to the head face a
small risk of later developing brain tumors. If such a person experiences
symptoms associated with brain tumors, including headaches, seizures, vomiting
and blurry vision, he or she should see a doctor, Dr. Prabhu said.
Wireless Phones Found To Affect The Brain
A study at Örebro University in Sweden indicates that mobile phones and other cordless
telephones have a biological effect on the brain. It is still too early to say
if any health risks are involved, but medical researcher Fredrik Söderqvist recommends caution in the use of these phones, above all among children
and adolescents. Few children who regularly use mobile phones use a headset
often or always, even though the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority recommends
this. "Children may be more sensitive than adults to radiation from wireless
phones," says Fredrik Söderqvist, who is presenting his research findings in a new doctoral thesis at Örebro University.
On the one hand, he examined the use of wireless telephones among children and
adolescents, on the other hand, whether adolescents themselves perceive any
health problems that might be related to this use. He then went on to study
blood samples from adults, looking at two so-called biomarkers to see whether
wireless phone use has a biological effect on the brain. One of these studies
focused on a protein that exists in the so-called blood-cerebrospinal-fluid
barrier, which is part of the brain's protection against outside influences.
The study revealed an association between use of wireless telephony and
increased content of the protein transthyretin in the blood.
Fredrik Söderqvist stresses that the increase as such does not have to be a cause of
concern, but since it indicates that the brain is in fact affected by
microwaves from wireless telephones, there may be other -- as yet unknown --
effects that may impact our health. "We should all follow the recommendations
of the Radiation Safety Authority when it comes to using headsets and avoiding
mobile phone use when the coverage is poor."
The study also shows that users themselves experience health problems that may
be caused by wireless telephones. Children and adolescents who regularly use
wireless telephones more often reported various health symptoms and graded
their well-being lower than those who do not use them regularly. According to
Fredrik Söderqvist, it is not possible to draw any conclusions about what is cause and
effect on the basis of this study, but he feels that it is urgent to examine
this association more closely. "The connection was strongest regarding
headaches, asthmatic complaints, and impaired concentration. But more research
is needed to exclude the effects of other factors and sources of error, even
though it is difficult to see how this connection could be fully explained by
Today nearly all children from the age of 7 have access to a wireless telephone,
but usage takes off only around the age of 12, and more than 80 percent of all
19-year-olds use mobile phones regularly. At the same time, the study shows
that fewer than two percent of the children and adolescents use a headset often
or always. "This is worrisome, since the possible health effects from long-term
exposure to microwaves have not been clarified, especially among children and
adolescents. The threshold values in place today protect us from warming, a
so-called thermal effect. But if there are mechanisms that are independent of
warming, it is not certain that today's thresholds provide protection. And it
may be that these are effects that will not be perceived until later on in the
future," says Fredrik Söerqvist.
As reported in ScienceDaily (11/09) Wireless Phones Can Affect The Brain, Swedish Study Suggests