Environmental Health Note/Can You Hear Me Now?
Living on Earth's Jennifer Chu reports on a study on the effects of cell phone radiation on the brain.
CURWOOD: Just ahead, poetry and prose inspired by Montana’s Yaak Valley. First, this environmental health note from Jennifer Chu.
[HEALTH NOTE THEME]
CHU: Most research on cell phone usage has focused on a possible connection between radiation emitted by phones and cancer. And those studies have found no link. But a Swedish research team recently looked for a different effect.
They already had shown in previous studies that cell phone radiation weakens the protective layer of cells between the brain and bloodstream in rats. They also knew that the protein albumin could leak through this protective barrier. The researchers wanted to find out if this albumin leakage was damaging. So they exposed rats to radiation generated by a type of mobile phone commonly used in Europe. The rats were divided into three groups and exposed to different doses of radiation, all comparable to what a human might receive using a cell phone for two hours. Another group of rats received no radiation.
As expected, the exposed rats' brains showed signs of albumin accumulation. But these new tests also showed signs of significant damage to neurons throughout the brain. What's more, the higher the dose of radiation, the greater the neuron damage. The researchers admit this was a small study, but say it may point to long-term effects from frequent exposure to cell phone radiation.
That’s this week’s Health Note. I’m Jennifer Chu.
CURWOOD: And you're listening to Living on Earth.
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