"Do cell phones cause brain cancer?"
This was the question that Larry King posed this week to Dena Cochran, the widow of Johnnie Cochran (who died of the disease), as well as to a group of five doctors. These docs commented on the "Interphone study" in which thirty-five researchers from all over the world sought to correlate cell phone use with brain cancer incidence.
In case you missed that hour long broadcast, I'll provide a summary:
"Yes, cell phones do cause brain cancer."
"No, they don't."
Some studies found a problem, while others did not. The different studies produced different results, canceling each other out.
So did the medical experts.
Their conclusion: we just don't know. More studies are needed.
The experts admitted that it may take ten years for solid research outcomes to materialize.
Meanwhile, wear an earpiece, or holster and all will be well, the doctors said.
No one mentioned any study demonstrating the efficacy of either ear pieces or holsters, nor apparently considered whether radiating the region of the hips and sexual organs is preferable to radiating the brain. So I guess it's your call!
And by the way, it's more important, most of the experts agreed, to pour millions of dollars into research for treatments for those who get the disease -- from causes unknown, unproven, or unconsidered -- rather than worry about a little thing called prevention.
Time to break for a pharmaceutical ad.
Now that we're back, I can't help but wonder, if the most important thing is finding treatments, then where was the outcry when the FDA tried to close down a Texas doctor who was successfully treating the disease? Oops -- it was a novel integrative treatment that cured the disease in children. I guess that doesn't count.
But the bottom line question is: While we're waiting ten years to find out whether radiating RFs into the head (or the area adjacent to the genitals) is good or bad, should we suffer the inconvenience of minimizing cell phone use?
It's hard to say. Until the research has been done, it would be presumptuous to make a judgment call. The jury is still out.
Some will courageously take the risk and apply the device daily in their confidence that tomorrow will bring definitive acute care treatments. More power to them.
Meanwhile others may choose to apply the "precautionary principle." The precautionary principle is a fancy version of the old (unproven) adage "better safe than sorry."
If that makes sense to you, then, (according to an electrical occupational engineer with whom I spoke) you can minimize risk by doing any or all of the following:
• Turn off your cell phone when not in use
• Never sleep with your cell phone in the bedroom
• Avoid using your cell phone (or keeping it turned on) in the car, or for that matter, any other self-enclosed metal container
• If you feel your head heating up, end the call (even if you're speaking to your beloved, boss, or mother)
• Use some form of headphone or earjack but not a blue tooth, which places the transistor right in your ear
• Live in an area out of reach of cell phone service
And hey, let's not forget mobile telephones, internet wireless, and all those other technological goodies we've gotten so addicted to that life wouldn't be complete without them. They're emitting electromagnetic radiation too. For more health information and action on health policy, sign on at: www.health-journalist.com
But there's no reason to worry because so far, the studies haven't proven anything. Yet.