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Brain Tumour

New study reignites debate on role of cellphones in brain cancer

According to a new study using mobile or cordless phones for more than 25 years increases the risk of brain cancer by as much as three times. Published in Pathophysiology, the Swedish study observes that the odds of developing glioma, a deadly brain cancer, increase with years and hours of mobile use.

These findings are at odds with the international Interphone study, the largest-ever probe on the subject, which was conducted by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Published in 2010, that study did not find any conclusive evidence linking cellphones to increased brain tumour risk.

Hardell and Michael Carlberg, oncologists at the University Hospital in Orebro, Sweden matched 1,380 malignant brain tumours patients to healthy people and compared their wireless phone use to arrive at their conclusion. Those who used cellphones and cordless phones for more than 25 years were three times more likely to develop brain tumours, they say.

Case control studies such as this suffer from a number of limitations, however, the most serious being the need for participants to remember their behaviour patterns from decades earlier.

Cellphones emit radiofrequency energy, which can be absorbed by tissues closest to where the phone is held, the National Cancer Institute says on its website. “Studies thus far have not shown a consistent link between cellphone use and cancers of the brain, nerves, or other tissues of the head or neck,” it says.
“Girls tend to put the smartphone below the pillow,” he said. “It’s a bad habit to go to bed with your smartphone.”

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