No link between mobile phones and brain tumours

In a four-year study, scientists at the Institute of Cancer Research in London and three British universities found no link between regular, long-term use of cell phones and glioma, the most common type of brain tumour.

The findings run contrary to an earlier Swedish study which suggested that mobile phones could pose a higher health risk to people living in rural areas because they emit more intense signals in the countryside.

Professor Patricia McKinney, of the University of Leeds, says they found no raised risk of tumours linked with regular mobile phone use.

Professor McKinney says the results were consistent with the findings of most studies done in the United States and Europe.

According to Anthony Swerdlow, a co-author of the report, from the Institute of Cancer Research, the survey is larger than any of the other published studies and part of a collaboration involving 13 countries.

The use of mobile phones has risen rapidly worldwide over the last two decades, but there has been little evidence to substantiate fears that the technology causes health problems ranging from headaches to brain tumours.

In the UK more than 4,000 new cases of brain tumours are diagnosed each year.

In the United States that figure is around 20,000.

The earlier mobile phones used analog signals which emitted higher power signals than the later digital models, and it is thought that any health dangers would be more likely to result from the earlier models, however the scientists found no evidence of this.

In their study they questioned 966 people with glioma brain tumors and 1,716 healthy volunteers on how long they had used mobile phones, the make and model, how many calls they made and how long the calls lasted.

McKinney, Swerdlow worked along with scientists from the universities of Leeds, Manchester and Nottingham and say that among cancer sufferers the tumours were more likely to be reported on the side of the head used with a mobile phone, but it is thought this might be a case of the over-reporting of patients.

The team concluded that there was a lack of convincing and consistent evidence of any effect of exposure to radio frequency fields on the risk of cancer.

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