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Mobiles Cause 'Hypnosis'
The Australian
Journalist: Helen Tobler

September 07, 2002

Talking on a mobile phone for 20 minutes has the same effect on the brain as hypnosis, according to an Australian study.

And the workload on the brain from a mobile could make it even more dangerous driving and talking than previously thought.

If you drive a car while talking on a mobile, not only are you trying to do two things at once, according to researchers at Swinburne University of Technology, but your performance is impaired by the phone's radiation.

"It's not just that you happen to have a phone to your ear and you're talking to someone, but as well as talking to someone and as well as driving, your brain's having to work a bit harder too," said research fellow at Swinburne's centre for neuropsychopharmacology, Rodney Croft.

"So it's like you have very slight brain impairment while that's going on."

The study could also explain why many people get headaches and feel tired after using a mobile.

Dr Croft said radiation from a mobile phone increased alpha waves in the brain, giving the brain a bigger workload.

The study, to be published in Clinical Neurophysiology, shows also that the longer the phone call, the more the brain's function is impaired.

"People assume the only task is them talking, but it's actually making your brain work less efficiently," Dr Croft said yesterday.

"It has to work more in order to do the same thing.

"You get similar patterns with hypnosis: you get increases in alpha."

The study participants had mobile phones held 5cm from their head, and the phone was either on or off - but the subjects didn't know when the phone was turned on and when it was off.

The researchers found that when the mobile was on, alpha waves increased and brain function was impaired and the more complicated the task, the worse the user performed.

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