Researchers: Cell Phones and Brain Tumors Are a Bad Connection

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Keep those Blackberries pushed up tightly against your heads, Christmas shoppers: a very large, 30-year study of just about everyone in Scandinavia shows no link between cell-phone use and brain tumors.

Reuters has the skinny.

The findings validate what UC Irvine medical researchers have been saying for years.


"The majority of studies looking at this issue so far have not confirmed a relationship between cell phone use and the development of brain tumors," states UC Irvine Healthcare's online Brain Tumor page. "An exception is a study looking at old fashioned high energy 'brick' cell phones where a slight increase in benign tumors of the hearing ear (vestibular schwannoma) on the side of cell phone usage was noted. . . We recommend using a low energy cell phone and use a separate ear piece away from the energy source just in case."

In the latest research, data was analyzed in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden from 1974 to 2003. No significant increase of brain tumors were found from 1998 to 2003, when mobile phone use skyrocketed. The Danish Cancer Society did acknowledge there's a chance brain tumors caused by mobile phones take longer to show up, or that use of the phones caused cancer so rarely as to be statistically insignificant.

Annual incidence rates of glioma and meningioma, two different types of brain tumors, were studied among Scandinavians aged 20 to 79--nearly the entire adult population of 16 million people. The four countries have good cancer registries that keep tallies of known cancer cases, Reuters reports. 

"In Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden, the use of mobile phones increased sharply in the mid-1990s; thus, time trends in brain tumor incidence after 1998 may provide information about possible tumor risks associated with mobile phone use," researchers wrote in a national medical journal. "We did not detect any clear change in the long-term time trends in the incidence of brain tumors from 1998 to 2003 in any subgroup."

Over at UCI, the experts say driving a car while using a cell phone poses the greatest risk to one's well-being.

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