JAMA Logo Whether cellular phones have a negative impact on the health of an individual or no continues to remain a controversial topic in the medical domain. While we have witnessed the influence of cell phone use on pregnancy, its involvement in brain cancer appears negligible. And here is an investigation which asserts that 50-minute cell phone use increases brain glucose metabolism in the region closest to the phone antenna.

In order to examine whether cell phone exposure influences regional activity in the human brain, experts conducted a randomized study between January 1 and December 31, 2009. The investigation engulfed a total of 47 participants. Mobile phones were placed on the left and right ears while performing brain imaging with positron emission tomography (PET) and (18F) fluorodeoxyglucose injection. Brain glucose metabolism was measured when the right cell phone activated and the sound was muted. Experts again calculated the brain glucose metabolism when the cell phones were switched on for 50 minutes and once with both cell phones deactivated, i.e., when they were switched off.

Authors quote, “The increases were significantly correlated with the estimated electromagnetic field amplitudes both for absolute metabolism and normalized metabolism. This indicates that the regions expected to have the greater absorption of RF-EMFs from the cell phone exposure were the ones that showed the larger increases in glucose metabolism. These results provide evidence that the human brain is sensitive to the effects of RF-EMFs from acute cell phone exposures. They add that the mechanisms by which RF-EMFs could affect brain glucose metabolism are unclear. Concern has been raised by the possibility that RF-EMFs emitted by cell phones may induce brain cancer. Results of this study provide evidence that acute cell phone exposure affects brain metabolic activity. However, these results provide no information as to their relevance regarding potential carcinogenic effects (or lack of such effects) from chronic cell phone use. Further studies are needed to assess if these effects could have potential long-term harmful consequences.”

As a result, Nora D. Volkow, M.D., of the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md., and colleagues linked metabolism with radiofrequency-modulated electromagnetic waves emitted by the cell phone. The achieved PET scans were compared for analyzing the seeming effect of cell phone use on brain glucose metabolism. Metabolism in the brain region closest to the antenna was purportedly higher for cell phone on than off conditions. It was concluded that whole-brain metabolism may not differ between the on and off conditions, but the regional effects were very much significant.

The study was published in the February 23 issue of JAMA.