Does cell phone use cause brain tumors in young people?

The study, published in the journal Environment International, analyzed data from about 900 young people between the ages of 10 and 24 with brain tumors.


Courtesy | Risk of brain tumors may decrease with increased use of wireless phones

The MOBI-Kids international study, coordinated by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), found no causal relationship between cell phone use and the risk of brain tumors in young people from 14 different countries.

In a statement, ISGlobal explained that the possibility was “a cause for concern for public health”, also due to the considerable increase in the use of cell phones by young people.

The study, published in the journal Environment International, analyzed data from some 900 young people between the ages of 10 and 24 with brain tumors, most of them neuroepithelial. It also analyzed 1,900 controls from 14 countries, who were matched with the cases on date of diagnosis, study region, gender and age.

Participants and parents completed a questionnaire about the history of wireless device use, data whose quality was evaluated with two validation studies. To do this, records were obtained from the operators and the installation of an application to record their actual use for four weeks.

ISGlobal researcher and first author of the study, Gemma Castaño, defended that, overall, the data analyzed suggest that the risk of brain tumors could decrease with greater use of wireless phones; “These findings are unlikely to represent a preventative effect of exposure to these phones.”

Instead, he added that the results seem to be explained “by the uncertainty in the reported use when it is not the cases or controls themselves who answer the interview,” but the parents, and also the symptoms of cancer before diagnosis can affect the use of the cell phone of the cases.

Although this is the largest study of brain tumors in young people to date, the number of people in subgroups “may be too small to assess possible associations.”

However, a strength of the research is that risk was analyzed in relation to estimates of radiofrequency (RF) specific energy and extremely low frequency (ELF)-induced current density in the tumor. These doses depend, in addition to the duration and amount of mobile use, on the location of the tumor, the frequency band in which the phones emit and the emission technology.

The study coordinator and head of the ISGlobal Radiation Program, Elisabeth Cardis, assured that their results are consistent with the knowledge published so far. However, “further studies are needed to understand the relationship between radiation from communication devices and tumors.”

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