Study ensures that using mobile phones does not increase the risk of brain tumor in young people


The use of mobile phones and wireless landlines in young people is not associated with an increased risk of brain tumors, according to the largest case study carried out to date in 14 countries, a study that has been coordinated by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal).

The study, published in the journal ‘Environment International’, has analyzed the link between being exposed to electromagnetic fields (EMF) of wireless devices (mobile and fixed) and brain tumors in young people and has not found a causal association between brain tumors and the use of these phones by exposure to radio frequency (RF) and extremely low frequency (ELF) electromagnetic fields .

In recent decades, the possibility that using mobile devices may increase the risk of brain tumors has been of increasing public health concern, particularly due to the increased use by young people.

The study coordinated by ISGlobal, a center promoted by the La Caixa Foundation, has analyzed data from about 900 young people between the ages of 10 and 24 with brain tumors –The majority of the neuroepithelial type, mainly glioma– that they compared with 1,900 controls from 14 different countries, who coincided with the cases on the date of diagnosis, study region, sex and age.

Participants filled out a questionnaire with detailed information on the history of wireless device use, and mothers or fathers also completed a questionnaire on exposures prior to conception, during pregnancy, and in the first year of life.

To assess the quality of the data, the researchers did several methodological sub-studiesOne consisted of obtaining records from the telephone operators to compare the number and duration of calls with those reported in the questionnaire, and another installed an application on the telephone to record its actual use for four weeks.

They also calculated by algorithms the RF and ELF exposure level of youth phones.

The results

The results provide no evidence of a causal association between wireless phone use and brain tumors in young peopleOn the contrary, the data analyzed suggest that the risk of suffering from brain tumors could decrease with greater use of wireless telephones, but “it is unlikely that these findings represent a preventive effect of exposure to these telephones,” the Spanish researcher pointed out. Gemma Castaño, first author of the study.

“East is the largest study of brain tumors in young people done to date, but the number of people in subgroups may be too small to assess possible associations, for example, in specific time windows and age groups, and in different anatomical locations of the tumors, “he admitted.

“Nowadays, no conclusive scientific evidence that the levels of radiation emitted by mobile phones may increase the risk of brain cancer, so our results are consistent with the knowledge published so far, “said Elisabeth Cardis, coordinator of the study and head of the Radiation program at ISGlobal.

However, animal and cell studies have reported a increased oxidative stress related to radiation emitted by telephones, and possible effects on genotoxicity and gene expression.

Two investigations with animals showed an increased risk of cardiac schwannomas -tumors derived from Schwann cells, which are part of the covering of nerves and are responsible for the production of myelin- and of tumors in cells of the nervous tissue, according to the ISGlobal, which suggests that “a possible mechanism by which radio frequencies could affect cancer risk is in the promotion or progression of tumors, possibly accelerating an onset that would otherwise have occurred later.”

More studies are needed to understand the relationship between radiation from devices and tumors, and other research is being done on the biological repercussions of radio frequencies emitted by phones, “concluded Cardis.

In this study, funded in part by the European Commission, research centers from Germany, Australia, Austria, Canada, Korea, Spain, France, United Kingdom, Greece, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, New Zealand and the Netherlands.

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