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That whole cell phones and brain thingy, again
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Jinx



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PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2011 3:45 pm    Post subject: That whole cell phones and brain thingy, again Reply with quote

A while back someone (I'm almost certain it was WoC, but I'm getting old and my memory fails me more often now.), posted a great explanation of why cell phone radiation CAN'T cause brain cancer. There was a great analogy about the energy of photons in the frequency range of cell phones, and trying to knock a hole in a house with ping pong balls.


I've never been worried about cell phone radiation. I was a microwave technician during my early days in the Army, so I have what I believe is a better-than-average grasp of the risks of various forms of EM radation. WoC's (or whomever's) explanation just made it more solid in my mind.

Recently, I ran across this article (It's about three months old.) talking about a study published in JAMA about how having a cell phone on for 50 minutes near your head (sound off) increases glucose metabolism near the antenna by 7%.

Both acknowledge that they don't know what, if any, clinical meaning this has. I certainly don't. I know we have some folks who are much more knowledgable about medicine, metabolism, and braaaiiins than I am, who might have some thoughts.

I also think it's interesting in that it shows how causation, especiallly in the body, can be so elusive. As I said, I've never worried about the EM radiation giving me cancer in my brain, but now I wonder if there might night be some other circuitious path from the cell phone to harmful effects.
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Lasairfiona



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PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2011 6:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do cordless phones not do the same thing? Or bluetooth headsets? How extensive is the testing on this kind of thing? I have always completely dismissed the idea (though not with it related to bees...) so I have no basis of data.
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DeD CHiKn



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PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2011 7:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fuck bees.
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Usagi Miyamoto



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PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2011 8:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wouldn't the epidemiological studies have shown even circuitous effects? They're basically just showing correlations - this population uses cell phones, they have this rate of some syndrome or other, that population doesn't, they have that rate of the syndrome, the difference is/is not statistically significant. So, when the studies and meta-studies generally show no effect, then both direct and indirect pathways are accounted for.

That's not to say that there's no effect, just that whatever effect there is, is either small or swamped by other effects, or doesn't do something measured by the study. So, maybe cell phone usage stimulates local glucose metabolism, but that has no further effect on, I dunno, cancer, heart disease, singing along with the radio in your car, whatever the studies have looked at. But maybe it does make your head fatter. So far nobody has thought to measure before and after head circumference. But when they do...

I wonder if they did controls where they measured the effect of having a diffuse 1-watt heat source next to the head? That's roughly the maximum conceivable effect of the radio transmission. The frequencies are far too low to be ionizing, and our bodies are mostly transparent to those frequencies, anyway. Come to think of it, if the cell phone is turned on and transmitting, it's probably a heat source like that anyway.
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Jinx



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PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2011 9:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lasairfiona wrote:
Do cordless phones not do the same thing? Or bluetooth headsets? How extensive is the testing on this kind of thing? I have always completely dismissed the idea (though not with it related to bees...) so I have no basis of data.


I don't think they studied cordless phones. Depending on the generation of cordless phone, it could be using similar frequencies. THe earliest cordless phones operated in the high-40MHz range. Newer ones use 900MHz, 2.4GHz or 5.8GHz. There are various frequency bands for cell phones, too, depending on the network type and generation of the phone, in the UHF range. Blue-tooth devices use UHF, also.

I think the primary difference would be the power output. A cell phone has to reach a tower that is typically much farther from the phone than a blue-tooth device or than a cordless phone is from the base. A cell pohone transmits nominally at 1W, whereas blue-tooth devices are categorized into three classes, ranging from 1mW to 100mW of peak power. The 1mW class is for up to 10 meters, which would probably include most headsets.

I didn't find transmission power data on cordless phones, but given the limited distance of use (~300 feet) versus a cell tower that can be miles away, I presume their output would be significantly lower.
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Jinx



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PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2011 9:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Usagi Miyamoto wrote:
Wouldn't the epidemiological studies have shown even circuitous effects? They're basically just showing correlations - this population uses cell phones, they have this rate of some syndrome or other, that population doesn't, they have that rate of the syndrome, the difference is/is not statistically significant. So, when the studies and meta-studies generally show no effect, then both direct and indirect pathways are accounted for.

That's not to say that there's no effect, just that whatever effect there is, is either small or swamped by other effects, or doesn't do something measured by the study. So, maybe cell phone usage stimulates local glucose metabolism, but that has no further effect on, I dunno, cancer, heart disease, singing along with the radio in your car, whatever the studies have looked at. But maybe it does make your head fatter. So far nobody has thought to measure before and after head circumference. But when they do...

I wonder if they did controls where they measured the effect of having a diffuse 1-watt heat source next to the head? That's roughly the maximum conceivable effect of the radio transmission. The frequencies are far too low to be ionizing, and our bodies are mostly transparent to those frequencies, anyway. Come to think of it, if the cell phone is turned on and transmitting, it's probably a heat source like that anyway.


I don't want to come off as an anti-cell phone nut. Hell, my wife refers to mine as my Crackberry. But, given the relatively new nature of widespread cell phone usage, can we be sure that longer term epidemiological studies won't show some correlations between cell phone use and harmful effects? Is there a sizable group of people living in developed countries who don't use cell phones that could be used as a control group for such long-term studies? I don't think we can compare those living in London or even Poughkeepsie with some group living in a remote rain forest.

Also, have there been no epidemiological studies showing a link? What about Sadetzki in 2008?


I like the heat factor as an avenue for further study.

I don't have access to the full study report, but the short summary I linked has some interesting (to me) ponts. I thought it was interesting that they tried to control for brain function associated with listening to the call by muting the cell phone that was on. I also thought it odd that they attached a cell phone to both ears, but only activated the one on the right for 50 minute intervals. the control was to have both phones deactivated.

I'm not a researcher, but what is the value of the cell phone on the left if it is never activated? And, why wouldn't they have activated the right phone for some of the subjects and the left phone for others?
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Last edited by Jinx on Tue May 24, 2011 9:27 pm; edited 1 time in total
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WheelsOfConfusion



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PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2011 9:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think it was to eliminate the chance of subject expectations of something happening when a cell phone is up to their ear. If both phones are up, but only one is activated, they can check that ear against the other to make sure it's not just a psychosomatic response to having a phone by their head.

Quote:
I don't want to come off as an anti-cell phone nut. Hell, my wife refers to mine as my Crackberry. But, given the relatively new nature of widespread cell phone usage, can we be sure that longer term epidemiological studies won't show some correlations between cell phone use and harmful effects?

It's more like we have almost zero reason to think that they will, especially since the most significant suspect (electromagnetic radiation) should really have less than the effect as having the sun shone onto your ear. The radiation is non-ionizing so it's not going to damage your DNA and make tumors, most of our tissue is transparent to those frequencies so it shouldn't even have an effect, really nobody has proposed any plausible mechanism for any effect other than slight heating (again, significantly less than you'd get from sunshine).
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Jinx



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PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2011 9:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

WheelsOfConfusion wrote:
I think it was to eliminate the chance of subject expectations of something happening when a cell phone is up to their ear. If both phones are up, but only one is activated, they can check that ear against the other to make sure it's not just a psychosomatic response to having a phone by their head.


I wondered about that.

Given that we know various parts of the brain have different functions, why not use different sides for some subjects, to eliminate some brain function associated with, I don't know, having phones strapped to your head while undergoing positron emission tomography with flourodeoxyglucose injections?
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Thy Brilliance



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PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2011 11:20 am    Post subject: There is no appreciation for knowledge in this society Reply with quote

Jinx wrote:
A while back someone (I'm almost certain it was WoC, but I'm getting old and my memory fails me more often now.), posted a great explanation of why cell phone radiation CAN'T cause brain cancer. There was a great analogy about the energy of photons in the frequency range of cell phones, and trying to knock a hole in a house with ping pong balls.


I've never been worried about cell phone radiation. I was a microwave technician during my early days in the Army, so I have what I believe is a better-than-average grasp of the risks of various forms of EM radation. WoC's (or whomever's) explanation just made it more solid in my mind.

Recently, I ran across this article (It's about three months old.) talking about a study published in JAMA about how having a cell phone on for 50 minutes near your head (sound off) increases glucose metabolism near the antenna by 7%.

Both acknowledge that they don't know what, if any, clinical meaning this has. I certainly don't. I know we have some folks who are much more knowledgable about medicine, metabolism, and braaaiiins than I am, who might have some thoughts.

I also think it's interesting in that it shows how causation, especiallly in the body, can be so elusive. As I said, I've never worried about the EM radiation giving me cancer in my brain, but now I wonder if there might night be some other circuitious path from the cell phone to harmful effects.






Read this,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coherent_state

Then this,

http://www.quantumconsciousness.org/penrose-hameroff/orchor.html

Then this,

http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/arxiv/26421/

and then top it off with this

http://infolib.hua.edu.vn/Fulltext/ChuyenDe2009/CD26/26.19.pdf
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Amon



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PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 5:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting development.
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Usagi Miyamoto



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PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 7:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You mean this?
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Lasairfiona



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PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 5:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

STLToday stated it in much more dire terminology.

Also, I meant to post this long before now but I presented this topic to a psychologist friend of mine who has his finger in a lot of research. No, he isn't a neurologist but I have found him to be a accurate source of knowledge on the brain and how it works. Here is his take:

Jim wrote:
‎"In the basest terms, it means that your cell phone is increasing brain activity when you are talking on it."

This is not all that surprising - Within neurology, I believe electromagnetic fields have been found to create schizophrenic symptoms. Outside of neurology it's been fairly well established that cell-phone conversations are more cognitively demanding than face-to-face conversations, because we automatically try to 'fill-in' what's missing - imagining the visual component of the conversation while trying to 'ignore' the actual visual input. This of course is why cell-phone conversations impair driving, with or without a hands-free system.

The article says activity increased "in the brain in the area closest to the antenna." Since people pretty much hold their cell-phones the same way, it's hard to tell whether the location of the antenna is actually relevant, or just coincidental with the affected region. The article notably fails to discuss what that region of the brain *does*, so it's hard to speculate about the relationship.

And of course, the article doesn't explain the methodology - it seems to be 50min exposure vs. baseline, while a rigorous study would be 50min cell-phone vs. 50min land-line vs. 50min face-to-face vs. baseline.


So from that first study, is there any information about what part of the brain was stimulated?
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mouse



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PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 7:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

your friend's explanation seems quite reasonable, if somewhat surprising (from the number of people i have had to walk around in grocery stores who stand there with cellphone to ear, apparently having to be coached step-by-step through picking up a few groceries, i had assumed cellphone use pretty much put an end to brain activity).
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Lasairfiona



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PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 8:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It makes me wonder if video calls wouldn't be safer while driving than just audio calls. Very Happy
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 9:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

literally everything is linked to cancer
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