December 23, 2001
Scientists strongly warn about mobile phone use by children after new study
finds cellphone brain waves for up to an hour after just a two minute call.
CATEEN scanner linked to a machine measuring brain wave activity, Spanish
researchers have created the first images showing the effect of mobile
phones on children's brains. The images demonstrate for the first time how
radio waves from mobile phones penetrate deep into the brain, not just
around the ear. The scientists discovered that a mobile phone call lasting
just two minutes can alter the natural electrical activity of a child's
brain for up to an hour afterwards.
Dr. Michael Klieeisen of the Spanish Neuro Diagnostic Research Institute in
Marbella, who conducted the study, said: "We were able to see in minute
detail what was going on in the brain. We never expected to see this
continuing activity in the brain. We are worried that delicate balances that
exist - such as the immunity to infection and disease - could be altered by
interference with chemical balances in the brain."
The study has prompted leading medical experts to question whether it is
safe for children to use mobile phones at all. Doctors fear that disturbed
brain activity in children could lead to psychiatric and behavioural
problems or impair learning ability.
Dr. Gerald Hyland - a British government adviser on mobile phones - says he
finds the results "extremely disturbing".
"It makes one wonder whether children, whose brains are still developing,
should be using mobile phones," he said. "The results show that children's
brains are affected for long periods even after very short-term use. Their
brain wave patterns are abnormal and stay like that for a long period. This
could affect their mood and ability to learn in the classroom if they have
been using a phone during break time,
for instance. We don't know all the answers yet, but the alteration in brain
waves could lead to things like a lack of concentration, memory loss,
inability to learn and aggressive behaviour."
Hyland said: "This information shows there really isn't a safe amount of
mobile phone use. We don't know what lasting damage is being done by this
exposure. If I were a parent I would now be extremely wary about allowing my
children to use a mobile even for a very short period. My advice would be to
The study was the first time that human guinea pigs were used to measure the
effects of mobile phone radiation on children. The tests were carried out on
an 11-year-old boy and a 13-year-old girl called Jennifer. The scans show
how cellphone radiation spreads through the centre of the brain and out to
the ear on the other side of the skull. The scans found that disturbed brain
wave activity lasted for up to an hour after the phone call ended.
Previously it had been thought that interference with brain waves and brain
chemistry stopped when a call ended.
The release of the results of the new study coincide with a new British
survey that shows 87 percent of 11- to 16-year-olds own mobile phones and 40
percent of them spend 15 minutes or more talking each day on them. And
disturbingly, 70 per cent said they would not change the use of their phone
even if advised to by the government.