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Saturday, March 17, 2012

cellular damaging

Mobile phones could damage unborn babies, researchers claim
LONDON - Radiation from mobile phones may affect the brain development of unborn babies, the lead author of a controversial animal study has claimed.

Pregnant mice placed in the vicinity of an active mobile phone gave birth to offspring which showed signs of hyperactivity, anxiety and poor memory.

Infant mice whose mothers were not exposed to the radiation were not affected the same way.

The changes were attributed to impaired development of neurons in the prefrontal cortex of the brain.

According to the United States scientist who led the research, the same effects could potentially occur in humans.

Professor Hugh Taylor, from Yale University, believes mobile phones might even be partly responsible for rising rates of behavioural disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

However, The Daily Telegraph reported that other experts warned strongly against extrapolating the findings and assuming they were relevant to humans. One called the claims ''alarmist and unjustified".

The research is reported in the Nature publication Scientific Reports.

Prof Taylor said: ''This is the first experimental evidence that fetal exposure to radiofrequency radiation from cellular telephones does in fact affect adult behaviour.

''We have shown that behavioural problems in mice that resemble ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) are caused by cell phone exposure in the womb.

''The rise in behavioural disorders in human children may be in part due to fetal cellular telephone irradiation exposure.''

He added that more work was needed in humans to investigate the mechanisms involved and establish safe levels of mobile phone exposure during pregnancy.

ADHD is a development disorder characterised by inattention, hyperactivity and impulsiveness.

Between 3 per cent and 7 per cent of school-age children suffer from the disorder. Affected children tend to perform poorly at school and are at increased risk of delinquency.

Diagnosis of ADHD has increased at an average rate of 3 per cent per year since 1997, making the condition ''a growing public concern,'' according to the scientists.

In the study, 33 pregnant mice were exposed to radiation from a muted but active mobile phone positioned a short distance above their cage. The phone was placed on an uninterrupted call for 17 days, almost the whole of their pregnancy.

A comparison group of pregnant mice was kept under the same conditions but with the mobile phone switched off.

More than 160 adult offspring were were given a series of psychological and behavioural tests and had measurements taken of their brain electrical activity.

Co-author Tamir Aldad, also from Yale, pointed out that rodent pregnancies last only 19 days and mice are born with a less developed brain than humans.

Further research was needed to determine whether the potential risks of exposure to mobile phone radiation in pregnancy were similar for humans.

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