There are approximately five billion people using cell phones today globally. With the whooping numbers debate has been abound on the dangers of these very important devices to the surroundings and the wellbeing of the users. The most enthusiastic ‘participants’ in the never ending debate have been the scientific community and the players in the wireless industry. The scientific community periodically produces research findings on the imminent dangers of cell phones. In a quick rejoinder, the players in the wireless industry are in haste to interpret the results and findings of these studies to their advantage. Consequently, the general public which constitutes majority of the users of the devices remains in an informational void characterized by conflicting information on the dangers of devices that make their lives easier. It is also noteworthy that most of the researches conducted on the dangers of cell phones have been inconclusive. Those that have been concluded do not have a clear clinical significance and therefore rely on future researches to collaborate and refine their findings. In the midst of the information void that exists on the dangers of cell phones, I am interested in reviewing the current literature on the subject matter. This is with an aim of establishing the stand of the scientific community on the dangers of cell phones. I am also interested in finding out the findings of studies conducted on the subject matter and the counter points by players in the wireless industry in order to form an informed opinion. The following are the research questions:
Summary: The book is authored to present information on the possible effects the radiofrequency energy, the electromagnetic radiation produced by cell phones. The author asserts that the radiofrequency energy may lead t an increased risk of brain cell damage which eventually results to cancerous tumors in the brain. In order to sufficiently present on the subject matter, the author also traces the origin of the raging debate on the dangers of cell phones. He offers insights on the impact that cell phones have ad on the youth. The book also offers insights on the how cell phones have been implicated in the debate of possible carcinogenesis. The author puts the question as to whether cell phones have other health implications on the users apart for the notion that they cause cancer. Finally, the books highlights on the dangers of using cell phones while driving.
Assessment: The book is well articulated and presents information on the dangers of cell phones in a manner that is as informative as it is eye opening. The author of the book alludes to findings by other authors in order to give credibility to his assertions. As opposed to forming opinions on matters that are not fully and scientifically clear, the author presents the information relevant to the subject and leaves the reader to form his opinion. This gives you the idea that the author is not biased in his presentation.
Reflection: The figures and statistics presented to back the assertions of the author are mind boggling. The statistics on the traffic accidents attributable to cell phone usage are dire. The information on the effects of the radiofrequency energy and the impact it has on a human brain is also eye opening.
Nora D. et al., Effects of Cell Phone Radiofrequency Signal Exposure on Brain Glucose Metabolism. Journal of the American Medical Association. v.(2011) 808-813. Print
Summary: The paper was written due to concern raised after the sharp increase in the usage of cell phones. The paper looks into the possible effects of the radiofrequency waves that are delivered to the brain when the cell phone is in use. The aim of the paper was to assess if there is any effect to the brain glucose metabolism as a result of acute exposure to cell phones. The study employed a randomized study design over a one year period in one location using forty seven healthy participants. There was an experimental and a control group during the study. In order to compare the metabolism of glucose between the on and off conditions as provided by the research methodology, statistical parametric mapping was employed. T tests were also used to augment the comparison. A Pearson moment correlation was used to establish the magnitude of the association between the amplitude of the radiofrequency waves produced by the cell phones and the metabolism of glucose in the brain. The study found no significant variations in the whole-brain glucose metabolism between the on and off moments. Conversely, the glucose metabolism in the regions close to the transmitter of the cell phone were found to be significantly higher during the on and off conditions.
Assessment: The research methodology was scientifically formulated. Therefore, the results of the findings are reliable to a ninety five percent confidence level. The study had controls for proper comparison.
Reflection: Although the researcher contended that the findings of the study were of unknown clinical significance, the findings that the areas of the brain closest to the antenna recorded increased glucose metabolism, a indicator of brain activity, are worth considering.
Summary: The research paper investigated the effect that mobile phone radiation had on the cerebral glucose metabolism. The study used high resolution positron emission tomography. The study also used a tracer in order to properly tract the effects of the radiation from cellular phones. The study used a study sample of thirty young male subjects who were right-handed. The subjects were exposed to a Global System for Mobile Communications signal for thirty three minutes before the effects of the radiation on cerebral glucose metabolism were measured. During the exposure to the signal, the researchers also measured the temperatures in the head region comprising of the eyes, forehead, ear canals and cheeks of the respondents was measured. The study showed that there was significant cerebral glucose metabolism reduction the side of the head exposed to the Global System for Mobile Communications signal. The results also exhibited an increase in temperature in the side of the head exposed to the Global System for Mobile Communications signal although the rise was insignificant. The exposure to the signal had no effect on task performance as indicated by parameters like error rate and reaction time. In conclusion, the results of the study showed that short-term exposure to mobile phones can suppress brain energy metabolism in localized areas in human beings.
Assessment: The research was carried out according to scientific standards making the findings of the study reliable. The findings of the study were derived after the applications of scientifically proven statistical techniques of data analysis.
Reflection: The finding of the study that short-term exposure suppresses brain activity in humans is noteworthy. The effect of long-term exposure to Global System for Mobile Communications signal should be established in order to shed more light on the subject matter.
Summary: In the view of the recent ignition of the debate on the health implications of low intensity electromagnetic radiation form cell phones. The approach by different has been authors has been to establish any epidemiological association or evidence between prolonged cell phone usage and the increased risk of growing brain tumors. This study performed a meta-analysis of long-term epidemiological data. Together with the meta-analysis, the study gives a brief overview of the technology used in cell phones, biological mechanisms, a discussion of data from laboratories, and incidences of brain tumors. Data used in the meta-analysis was obtained from studies that were published in peer reviewed journals, included participants who had used cell phones for a period more than ten years. Part of the criteria was also a incorporation of an analysis of the side of the brain tumor in comparison to the side of one’s head preferred for cell phone usage. The study found that cell phone usage for more than ten years doubled the risk of being found with a brain tumor on the side of the head most preferred for cell phone usage. The meta-analysis found that the data used achieved the statistical significance for acoustic neuroma and glioma. However, the data did not achieve the statistical significance for meningioma.
Assessment: The study did not find sufficient epidemiological evidence to suggest a relationship between long-term use of cell phones and carcinogenesis in the ipsilateral side of the brain. Nonetheless, the finding that the risk for diagnosis with ipsilateral brain tumors increased double fold for individuals who have used a cell phone for over ten years is noteworthy.
Reflection: The results of the research add to the growing association between the low intensity electromagnetic waves produced by cell phones and negative health effects. However, this association is only conjecture, and scientific proof ought to be found.
Summary: There has been an increased exposure of human beings to radiofrequency fields especially due to the proliferation of wireless telecommunication devices like cell phones. Even after the move by national and international agencies to input regulations and safety guidelines for radiofrequency fields, concerns are abound on the risk of poor health outcomes due to exposure to the radiofrequency fields. This is a report in a series of reports between the year two thousand and four and two thousand and seven by the royal Society of Canada. This report examines new data on exposure assessment and dosimetry, the effect of the radiofrequency fields on biological processes like enzyme induction and toxicological effects of the radiofrequency fields especially on carcinogenicity and genotoxicity. The report considered epidemiological reports and studies on the health effects of contact with radiofrequency fields, more precisely from mobile phones. Human and animal studies on behavioral and neurological effects were also considered. In the period of study, the researcher conclusively concluded that there lacked sufficient and clear evidence to associate exposure to radiofrequency fields to adverse health outcomes. Recommendations were made for continued research on the effects of exposure to radiofrequency fields on children using cell phones.
Assessment: The report analyzed data from other studies in search of a clear evidence to link exposure to radiofrequency fields to adverse health outcomes. In my assessment, a focused study should be established so as to avoid the use of data whose primary function was not to measure the effect of exposure to radiofrequency fields on health outcomes.
Reflection: The continued research on the effect of exposure of radiofrequency fields to children who use cell phones will most probably provide more information on the subject matter. For the moment, though the evidence is more circumstantial and speculative than scientific, there is reason to worry and exercise caution.