The Cell Phone Brain

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011 - 8:53am

Study finds cell phone use stimulates brain activity.

Many of us would simply lose our minds without a cell phone, and it turns out even brief conversations on a mobile phone can alter activity in our brain cells.

A small study from the National Institutes of Health finds radio frequency signals from a mobile phone speed up the way brain cells metabolize glucose, a cell's energy source.

Neurologists say that puts those brain cells closest to the phone's antenna under stress.

"Those brain cells may tolerate the stress just fine but it may be that for some that extra stress just pushes those cells over," says Dr. Michael DeGeorgia.

How far those cells can or should be pushed remains a mystery, and studies on whether mobile phone usage leads to brain tumors have been inconclusive.

It's going to take years of additional study to determine the long-term effects, if any.

More than 90-percent of us use a wireless device, especially children and teenagers whose brains are still developing.

"We don't know what the long-term consequences of driving increased activity within those regions of the brain will be when these children become adults," says neurologist Dr. Keith Black.

The lead researcher on this latest study says she won't stop using a cell phone, but she will change the way she uses it.

"I no longer use the cell phone by putting it close to my brain. I use an ear piece," says Dr. Nora Volkow.

Until scientists piece together all the facts any final conclusions are on hold.
 

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