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Fresh Fears Over Mobile Phones
June 19, 2002

A major study into the safety of mobile phones has concluded that they may affect the health of people who use them.

Research carried out by scientists in Finland suggests radiation from mobile phones causes changes in the brain.

It is the first time that scientists have looked at the effects of mobile phone radiation on human cells rather than those of rats.

The two-year study concluded that even low-level emissions from handsets are damaging.

Scientists from the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority found that exposing human cells to mobile phone radiation damaged the blood-brain barrier - a safety barrier in the body that stops harmful substances in blood from entering the brain.

They discovered that the exposure caused the cells in blood vessel walls to shrink which enabled molecules to pass into brain tissue.

Lab Tests
Professor Darius Leszcynski, who carried out the study, said the results came from laboratory tests on human cells and that further research is needed to see if it actually happens in humans.

But speaking to BBC News Online, he said: "The blood-brain barrier has been shown to be affected by radiation in animal studies.

"There is a lot of uncertainty about whether this happens in humans. We have shown some biological effects."

Prof Leszcynski said these changes could have a serious impact on a person's health if they were found to happen in humans.

"If it did happen it could lead to disturbances, such as headaches, feeling tired or problems with sleeping. A study by a Swedish research group even suggested it could lead to Alzheimer's disease."

However, he added: "It is important to remember that our study has been done in the laboratory where we can detect even the smallest changes.

"We cannot say whether it happens in humans. We need further study looking at real people to see if the blood-brain barrier is affected.

"What is happening in human brain is absolute enigma we don't know at all."

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