Mobile Phone Radiation May Affect Memory Performance

Sunday, July 22, 2018 - 14:33

Scientists at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) have studied nearly 700 adolescents in Switzerland and claimed that Radiofrequency electromagnetic fields may have adverse effects on the development of memory performance of specific brain regions exposed during mobile phone use.

The investigation, led by the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH), will be published on Monday, 23 July 2018 in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Health Perspectives, Science Daily reports.

The rapid evolution of information and communication technologies (ICT) goes along with an increase in exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) in our daily life. The most relevant exposure source to the brain is the use of a mobile phone close to the head. Several studies have been conducted to identify potential health effects related to RF-EMF, though results have remained inconclusive.

The research conducted by scientists at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) looked at the relationship between exposure to RF-EMF from wireless communication devices and memory performance in adolescents. The study follows up a report published in the scientific journal Environment International in 2015 with twice the sample size and more recent information on the absorption of RF-EMF in adolescent brains during different types of wireless communication device use. These are the world's first epidemiological studies to estimate cumulative RF-EMF brain dose in adolescents.

The study to be published on 23 July 2018 found that cumulative RF-EMF brain exposure from mobile phone use over one year may have a negative effect on the development of figural memory performance in adolescents, confirming prior results published in 2015.

The potential effect of RF-EMF exposure to the brain is a relatively new field of scientific inquiry. "It is not yet clear how RF-EMF could potentially affect brain processes or how relevant our findings are in the long-term." said Röösli. "Potential risks to the brain can be minimized by using headphones or the loud speaker while calling, in particular when network quality is low and the mobile phone is functioning at maximum power."

The study was conducted by Swiss TPH in collaboration with the European Union project GERoNiMO, which aims to improve the knowledge of whether and to what extent RF-EMF affects health. The work on dose calculations was conducted in collaboration with Belgian scientists. The project was funded by the European Community's Seventh Framework Programme and the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF).

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Materials provided by Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute.

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