cell phone

  1. Cell phone dangers continue to add up

    Let me let you in on a little secret. Forget cigarettes and secondhand smoke. If you want to know what will cause of the death of our society, look no further than that little piece of technology you think you can't live without: your cell phone.

    I'm not even talking about the death of social etiquette – though more than a few cell phone users could use a class in how to act appropriately in public. (Maybe I'll write a book on the subject.)

    No, I'm talking about the very real danger of propping a microwave-generating piece of hardware less than an inch from your brain for hours on end, day in and day out. Plenty of neurosurgeons have gone on the record saying that they never place their cell phones directly to their ears.

    And when you look at the case against them, it's no wonder! Consider this…

    In 2005, European researchers linked a decade of cell phone use to as much as a four-percent increase in the likelihood of developing permanent, brain-damaging tumors of the auditory nerve.

    A 2002 Finnish study linked the type of radiation emitted by cell phones to adverse effects on brain tissue.

    Research on British males theorizes that cell phone use could be the cause of Britain's precipitous decline in male fertility.

    Some doctors even speculate Sen. Ted Kennedy's brain tumor may have been caused by excessive cell phone use. And that's just been after 10 years or so. Imagine the threat our kids and grandkids will be facing 15, 20, and 50 years from now. It's chilling.

    Of course, the warnings are falling on deaf ears – or at least on ears that are covered up by a little piece of tumor-causing technology. More likely, people don't want to hear about the dangers because they think they can't live without their precious cell phones.

    The media isn't helping matters, either. Instead of making these very real, very life- threatening dangers front-page news, this is the headline you're more likely to see: "Cell phone elbow: New sign of the times."

    Yes, you read that right. The major cell phone danger plastering headlines is that it could be a pain in your elbow. Well, news like this is just a pain in my you-know-what.

    Is it a legitimate condition? I'm sure it is. If you do any action repetitively enough, you're going to wear down the muscles, ligaments or tendons involved.

    But if there's any silver lining to this cellular cloud, it's this: Maybe – just maybe – in an effort to avoid "cell phone elbow," people will be less likely to hold these "cancer boxes" up to their ears.

    The easiest option is to use the speakerphone option on your cell phone. You could also get a Bluetooth earpiece or a wired headset with a ferrite bead. Of course, the best option of all is just to not use a cell phone to begin with.

  2. A closer look at the link between cell phones and brain tumors

    A closer look at the link between cell phones and brain tumors

    Not to brag or anything, but I tend to be a step or two (or three) ahead of the rest of my colleagues in this doctoring business. It often happens that what people are calling me "crazy" for saying one year, turns out to be "sage" and "learned" the following year. This time the case in point is the potential health danger of cell phones.

    On a recent episode of CNN"s Larry King Live, three neurosurgeons publicly stated that they never hold their cell phones to their ears. One of these surgeons, Dr. Keith Black of Cedar-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, explained, "I think the safe practice is to use an earpiece to keep the microwave antenna away from your brain."

    This is just one of the recent events that's prompted a reexamination of the now largely dismissed link between cell phone use and tumors. The other is Senator Edward Kennedy's recent diagnosis with the type of glioma tumor that's been suspected to be caused by cell phone use. Still, most have long ago dismissed the cell phone/cancer link - even the American Cancer Society.

    But keep in mind that the studies that influenced the medical thinking are somewhat old by medical standards. Even the FDA recognizes that those studies only focused on a period of use of three years. At the time, cell phone use was still just on the increase, and the technology used was different.

    Since then, cell phones have (to the chagrin of those like myself who value polite society) infiltrated nearly every facet of American life. With more than 3 billion people now using cell phones, it's about time people are looking into their safety.

    At one time, I bought into the idea that the cell phone/cancer link was little more that urban legend. But then in 2005 I came across some European research linking a decade or more of cell phone use to as much as a 4 percent increase in the likelihood of developing permanent, brain-damaging tumors of the auditory nerve. This report confirmed the findings of a 2002 Finnish study that linked the type of radiation emitted by cell phones to adverse effects on brain tissue.

    I'm especially concerned about the endless hours that kids in the early (and pre-teen!) years spend using the phones, because their brains and bodies are still in the developmental stages.

    "More and more kids are using cell phones," said Dr. Paul J. Rosch, a professor of medicine at New York Medical College. "They may be much more affected. Their brains are growing rapidly, and their skulls are thinner."

    The obvious safe bet would be to use one of the wireless Bluetooth headsets and to keep the radiation-emitting cell phone somewhere else, preferably away from your body. Of course, at this point no one knows what side effects there could be to having a Bluetooth transmitter stuck in your ear all day, either.

    If we find out a decade or so down the road that prolonged cell phone use IS major health issue, literally half of the world's population will be affected - and that could be a devastating public health crisis.

    If you ask me, it's more prudent to take precautions than to adopt a "wait-and-see" attitude. And the best way to do that is to simply cut down on your cell phone use. No prescription necessary.

  3. FDA targets sick mothers

    Recently, a panel of FDA "experts" voted against the expansion of the use of the cancer drug Avastin for use in breast cancer patients.
  4. It's your call

    Tens of millions of people use cell phones. It seems that if they were a danger to health, we would have evidence of it by now. However, there is always the fear of long-term exposure with today's children.

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