Feeds

Cell phones don't fry brains, boffins say

'But don't quote us'

The essential guide to IT transformation

In another blow to the cancer Cassandras crying out that cell phones rot your brain, a new Scandinavian study was released on Thursday indicating that cell-phone usage doesn't lead to an increased risk of brain cancer.

Being scientists rather than fear-mongers, however, the researchers from Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden were careful to say that their study didn't conclusively prove that holding a cell phone against your skull is as safe as laying said noggin upon a Mediflow Waterbase pillow, but rather that it simply proved that no cell-phone causation could be discovered in their study of 59,984 brain tumor sufferers.

The study was based on a statistical analysis of glioma and meningioma incidence in the four countries between 1974 and 2003. Seeing as how, as the study notes, "Mobile phone use in Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden increased sharply in the mid-1990s," the researchers studied the data to determine whether cancer incidence increased after "an induction period of 5–10 years."

The answer they obtained was, simply put, "Nope."

Well, that's how we interpret it, but not how the careful Scandivian boffins explain their findings. As their analysis concludes, the reason for the lack of a cancer surge can be explained because either "the increased risk in this population is too small to be observed, the increased risk is restricted to subgroups of brain tumors or mobile phone users, or there is no increased risk.

"Our finding that brain tumor incidence rates were either stable, decreased, or continued a gradual increase that started before the introduction of mobile phones," the study's authors write, "is consistent with mobile phone use having no observable effect on brain tumor incidence."

Such reasonable caution is a welcome counterpoint to, for example, a doc from the University of Albany who told a US congressional committee last September: "The evidence available now poses the frightening strong possibility [sic] that we are facing an epidemic of brain cancer and other cancers in the future as a result of the uncontrolled use of cell phones."

We don't expect the debate over cell-phone danger to disappear anytime soon, though. Dr Michael Thun, late of the American Cancer Society, told WebMD that although the study was a good one that "clearly shows the incidence" of brain tumors not increasing after a period of five to 10 years: "The study doesn’t answer the question of what happens after 50 years."

Which is good news to the US researchers who this September urged another US congressional committee to levy a one-dollar-per-phone tax on all mobile phones to pay for further research. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
EE fails to apologise for HUGE T-Mobile outage that hit Brits on Friday
Customer: 'Please change your name to occasionally somewhere'
Time Warner Cable customers SQUEAL as US network goes offline
A rude awakening: North Americans greeted with outage drama
We need less U.S. in our WWW – Euro digital chief Steelie Neelie
EC moves to shift status quo at Internet Governance Forum
BT customers face broadband and landline price hikes
Poor punters won't be affected, telecoms giant claims
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.