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Oval Cell Findings Reshape View Of Mobile Phone Danger
Human cell shape can amplify the effect of mobile phone radiation on our tissue, researchers reported today.
Computer models used to explore the effects of radiation from mobile phones have in the past treated cells as simple spheres.
But a Spanish team led by Professor Jose Luis Sebastian at Madrid's University Complutense has found that the intensity of electric fields induced in cells is heightened when more realistic geometric shapes are used.
Many human cells look more like cylinders and rugby balls than spherical balls.
The researchers calculated electric field intensity induced in simulated spherical, cylindrical and ellipsoid mammalian cells exposed to radiation.
They found that for non-spherical cells, the induced electric field was highly dependent on the angle of the cell in relation to the radiation source.
In particular it was discovered that the electric field was amplified across the cell membrane - an effect not taken into account by previous investigations.
Higher field values were obtained for ellipsoidal and cylindrical cells compared with spherical cells.
The team also found that interactions between neighbouring cells significantly modified the electric field within each cell.
For certain cell positions, a higher electric field within the membrane was produced, according to findings reported in the journal Physics in Medicine and Biology, published by the Institute of Physics.
Professor Sebastian said: 'If we are going to gain an understanding of the mechanisms that underlie the biological effects caused by electromagnetic radiation, it is essential to consider the combined effects of shape and cell interaction.'
On Friday, the Government announced a new pounds 7 million programme of research into the health aspects of mobile phones.
It has been suggested that low frequency electromagnetic radiation from mobile phones may cause health problems ranging from memory loss to brain cancer.
None of these fears has yet been supported by reliable scientific evidence. However, research has shown that mobile phone radiation can cause subtle changes in cells which may or may not be harmful.
For this reason the Government has adopted a precautionary approach.