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Mobile phones cause ADHD in rodents

Keep that handset away from pregnant mice

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Last year mobile phone radiation was elevated by the WHO to a “possible” cause of cancer (in line with other carcinogens like pickled vegetables and coffee), frightening easily panicked punters everywhere... Now there's some more cheery news – it also induces hyperactivity in unborn rodents.

The Yale study published in Nature’s Scientific Reports (here) found that “mice exposed in-utero were hyperactive and had impaired memory.

However, it took quite a hit of radiation to produce the result: the researchers “positioned a call phone on an ‘uninterrupted active call’ above a cage containing pregnant mice, throughout their seventeen days of gestation”.

The study found that testing the brains of the exposed mice showed “reduced transmissions in the prefrontal cortex … which is responsible for executive functions by screening distractions and maintaining attention in goal-oriented behaviours”.

In short, the researchers claim, the results of the mobile phone exposure caused the mice to show signs similar to humans with ADHD.

Senior author Dr Hugh Taylor says the study provides “the first experimental evidence that foetal exposure to radiofrequency radiation from cellular telephones does in fact affect adult behaviour”.

While the study says the mice were exposed to “800 – 1900 MHz frequency radiation”, it’s less clear on whether it means the entire spectrum was used, or merely that part of the spectrum the phone was using in the active call: “muted and silenced 800-1900 MHz cellular telephones with a SAR [specific absorption rate, the standard used to measure radiation exposure – El Reg] of 1.6 W/kg”, the study states.

The researchers used light-dark tests to assess anxiety and hyperactivity, and also tested mouse memory using an environmental exploration test. The paper states that researchers assessing mouse behaviour were blind to their exposure to phone radiation.

While calling for further testing on “human or non-human primate” subjects, Taylor believes that it’s prudent to limit mobile phone exposure to fetuses during pregnancy. ®

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