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How do cell phones affect brain tumors?
There have been discussions for a long time about whether cell phones increase the risk of brain tumors. Evidence has now been provided that the rate of a malignant tumor type has doubled in the past two decades. This finding reinforces the discussions about the health risk that mobile phones could pose.
Scientists at the Physicians ’Health Initiative for Radiation and Environment (PHIRE) found in their current investigation that the rate of a malignant tumor type has doubled in the past two decades. This raises the question of whether using cell phones can lead to brain tumors. The doctors published the results of their study in the English-language journal "Journal of Public Health and Environment".
Study causes controversy
Charities and scientists have urged governments to heed warnings about the dangers of cellular phone radiation after the current analysis uncovered a truly alarming trend in cancer. The study also sparked controversy among scientists. Some experts believed that brain tumors could have been caused by other factors.
Sharp increase in cases of glioblastoma multiforme
The research team began to investigate the rise of an aggressive and often fatal brain tumor known as glioblastoma (glioblastoma multiforme). To this end, the experts analyzed a total of 79,241 malignant brain tumors in their study within 21 years. They found that cases of this brain tumor have increased sharply in England. In 1995 there were still around 1,250 illnesses per year, and now there are almost 3,000 cases per year, say the doctors.
Rate of tumors in the temporal lobe increases sharply
The study is the first recent research of its kind to analyze in detail the incidence of various types of malignant tumors. According to the results of the study, the physicians explained that the sharp rise in the diseases of these brain tumors had so far been masked by the general decline in the incidence of other types of brain tumors. The increasing rate of tumors in the so-called temporal lobe (anterior temporal lobe) leads to the suspicion that the use of mobile phones and cordless phones could promote gliomas, the experts explain.
Various studies have shown conflicting results
The results show that the mechanisms behind these cancer trends need to be examined more closely instead of obscuring the causal relationship with detectable factors, the researchers explain. In 2015, a scientific committee came to the conclusion that the epidemiological studies on exposure to high-frequency electromagnetic radiation in mobile phones do not show an overall increased risk of brain tumors or other forms of cancer of the head and neck region. However, there was also a study last year that found that using cell phones and cordless phones tripled the risk of brain tumors, although it was contrary to other similar studies. According to Cancer Research UK, cell phones are unlikely to increase the risk of brain tumors, but there isn't enough information to completely rule out such a risk.
Further investigations are necessary
The organization also warns that cell phones are a relatively new invention and it may take many years to collect and evaluate enough data to draw more robust conclusions. The increase in cases of brain tumors indicates something that may be worth further investigation, the experts say. Various studies in other parts of the world have found similar increases in cases of brain tumors, the doctors explain.
These factors could also cause the increase
It is important to note that the current investigation has not analyzed new data on possible causes of the increase in cancer cases. The new study also lists other causal factors besides cell phone use that could explain the trend of increasing brain tumors, including X-rays, CT scans, and the aftermath of atomic bomb tests in the atmosphere, the authors add. (as)