It’s a rare patient nowadays that doesn’t tote a cell phone with them when they come to me for an appointment. These handy little devices are everywhere… I even see younger and younger kids talking on them. Of course, I have one myself. It is important to stay connected, after all.
But there are drawbacks to cell phone use. At the very least there are some real health concerns that have been downplayed by the media and of course by cell phone manufacturers.
The truth is, cell phones give off radiation, which could affect your brain. And they haven’t been around long enough for us to know the long term effects.
Now, I’m not going to tell you to give up your cell phone. But I do want you to be aware of the potential dangers of cell phone use and give you some tips on how to protect yourself while still enjoying the convenience of your on-the-go phone.
How Cell Phones May be Hurting Your Brain
Nobody wants cell phones to be dangerous. They’re good for business. And they are essential in today’s modern world for safety and security. Simply put: they’re just so useful.
But there are some alarming studies about how cell phones affect your brain cells.
In animal studies, there is evidence to suggest that the microwave radiation that cell phones emit can damage or destroy brain cells. Swedish researchers exposed rats to cell phones running at different power levels for two hours.
Fifty days later in an autopsy, they examined the brains of the exposed rats and those of a control group. In the exposed group, the rats that had been exposed to cell phones operating at .1 watts or higher had lost 2% of their brain cells to damage or death.
For comparison sake, most cell phones operate at .6 watts.
Another study found that cell phone use does excite human brains cells. When you press a cell phone to your ear, the microwaves interact with your brain cells and increase their activity. Researchers in this study say that whether the excitement damages brains cells is not yet clear, but it definitely does have an effect.
In another study, researchers found that 10 years worth of cell phone use does not cause brain tumors. These same researchers also cautioned that they do not know how cell phone use affects other brain diseases like Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis. Only time will tell.
How To Use Your Cell Phone AND Protect Your Brain
Since the research is inconclusive but concerning, I recommend that you take precautions to protect your brain from cell phone radiation.
The number one thing you can do to reduce your risk is get a hands-free headset. You’ll be able to keep your cell phone farther from your head and the headset will put off much less radiation than the phone itself.
You can also use your landline when possible. You can have your system set up so that any incoming call goes to your landline first and then forwards to your cell phone if you don’t pick up. This means you can reduce your cell phone calls to only those when you are actually away from your main phone.
Also, when you are in an area with a weak signal, delay your calls until later. A weak signal means that you cell phone is having to put out more energy than when its working with a strong signal.
By taking these simple steps you can reduce your brain’s exposure to cell phone radiation without giving up the convenience of your phone.
Mark Rosenberg, MD