Exposure to cell phones during lengthy calls could change a user's brain activity, according to the results of a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association yesterday.
Researchers from the National Institute of Health and the Brookhaven National Laboratory tracked brain glucose metabolism, a key marker of brain activity, in 47 adult participants who had an activated cell phone on mute placed to their right ear and a deactivated cell phone placed to their left ear for 50 minutes. The researchers also ran the test with both phones deactivated.
The scientists found that the 50-minute cell phone exposure was associated with increased brain activity in the region closest to the antenna. The implications of the finding are of "unknown clinical significance."
The findings will likely fuel debate over the potential health effects of cell phones. Despite inconclusive evidence and FCC regulations on the amount of radiation the devices can emit, also known as the specific absorption rate (SAR), many remain concerned about the long-term health implications of cell phone use.
Last summer, San Francisco passed an ordinance requiring cell phone retailers to display a device's SAR. The move prompted a lawsuit from CTIA attempting to block the ordinance, and the trade association also decided it would no longer hold its fall trade conference in San Francisco.