Research Gives Phones A Clean Bill of Health | The Communication Blog

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Research Gives Phones A Clean Bill of Health

By Jon Hunter

A scientific survey shows that we can now be sure that cell phones do not pose a significant brain tumour risk. These findings come from detailed analysis of trends in brain cancer in European countries in the 30 years up to 2003, which did not tie any cancer trends to patterns of cell phone usage.

Researchers spent years analyzing annual incidence rates of the two widespread types of brain tumours-glioma and meningioma-among a sample of people aged 20 to 79 from Scandinavian Countries from 1974 to 2003.

Over the 30 years which the study examined, nearly 60,000 patients were diagnosed as suffering from one of these two types of brain tumour.

The finds of the research conclude that "In Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden, the use of mobile phones increased sharply in the mid-1990s; thus, time trends in brain tumours incidence after 1998 may provide information about possible tumours risks associated with mobile phone use,".

They did discover a small, steady increase in brain tumours, which started in 1974, long before mobile phones became a factor.

"No change in incidence trends were observed from 1998 to 2003', researchers have stated. Which would have been when researchers expected tumours should start to manifest if they are linked to mobile phone radiation, based on the assumption that it took five to 10 years for a tumour to develop?

It is feasibly possible, Deltour's team wrote, that it takes longer than 10 years for tumours caused by mobile phones to turn up, that the tumours are too rare in this group to show a useful trend, or that there are trends but they are in subgroups too small to be measured in the study, however these weaknesses are common in research and such trends would buck the evidence presented as yet.

It's known that brain tumours latency can be up to 30 years, so some consider this absurd to try and draw conclusions from this short period of time. Also, the researchers did not mention age-specific incidence of brain tumours, even though you will see an increase in age-specific incidence of brain tumours before an increase in the general population.

Also on this point, the research data was actually collected and available up until 2007, but the researchers cut the analysis off at 2003. This is currently being ire examined to find out if the extra four years of data would alter the study results.

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