Cell Phones Brain Activity. Cell phone radio waves can excite brain cells activity in a human, according to a new study. Electromagnetic fields can also affect metabolism of a person.
Researchers say there’s no evidence that the increase in metabolism is harmful. Nora Volkow, the director of the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Drug Abuse, says she was intrigued by this possibility. She knew that some MRI scanners produce electrical and magnetic fields powerful enough to cause brain cells to consume more energy, in the form of glucose.
She wanted to know whether the electromagnetic fields produced by cell phones were strong enough to affect glucose metabolism in brain cells the same way a scanner can. Volkow and a team of researchers studied 47 people. They used two cell phones for each participant — one on the right ear, one on the left. The scientists muted the sound on the phones to make sure it wasn’t the sound of someone talking that affected parts of the brain.
Then they activated the phone on one side and used a PET scanner to measure how much glucose was being consumed by brain cells. Volkow says a 50-minute call clearly boosted brain metabolism. However, the level of increase in brain metabolism is not terribly dramatic — studies have shown that just opening your eyes can produce a much greater change in brain cells that process visual information.
“There was an overall increase, approximately 6 to 8 percent,” she says. “But only on the areas of the brain that were close to the antenna.”
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