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Cell Phone Side-Effects Tested
February 11, 2000

A possible link between mobile phone radiation and Alzheimer's disease is being tested on laboratory rats, the leader of a Swedish university research team said Friday.

The tests, the second of their kind at Lund University, show that albumin proteins leak through the blood-brain barrier in animals exposed to the microwaves, neurosurgery professor Leif Salford said.

"I cannot say that mobile phones give Alzheimer's. But we cannot rule it out," Salford said, adding that any link to such a disease would take a long time to develop.

The Lund team is investigating whether proteins the same size as albumin or smaller could also penetrate the blood-brain barrier and cause diseases like Alzheimer's.

Two other Lund professors, radiophysicist Bertil Persson and pathologist Arne Brun, decided with Salford to repeat the microwave tests that were first published in 1997.

The results of the second series are still being evaluated.

"One aspect, which appears to contradict the findings, is why radiation at the very lowest levels causes the highest opening effect on the blood brain barrier," Salford said.

Some medical experts have suggested that microwave radiation from heavy use of mobile phones could cause brain tumors as well as serious side effects, including headaches, nausea, tiredness and sleep problems.

But to date there has been no consistent medical evidence of this, and one study last year even suggested the now-ubiquitous mobiles could actually have a positive effect.