Mobile phone use increases brain activity

Mobile phones may not fry your brains but they certainly do something to them. Scientists are now scratching their beards trying to find out what.

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that using a mobile can increase brain activity close to where the antenna is held to the head.

"This study shows that the human brain is sensitive to electromagnetic radiation coming out of cellphones," Nora Volkow, one of the study's authors. "That is something we need to face."

But she added: "Our finding does not tell us if this is harmful or not."

Researchers taking part in the sudy measured glucose metabolism in the brains of 47 adults. A cell takes up glucose when active and, by measuring its uptake, the researchers found that some brain regions near a switched-on mobile antenna became more active. The subjects didn't even have to have a conversation to register the effects.

"The question that remains to be studied into the future is 'Could there be potential long-term consequences from repeated stimulation?'" Dr. Volkow fold journalists in a teleconference. "The fact that we are observing changes really highlights the needs to do the studies to be properly able to answer the question of whether cell phone exposure could have harmful effects or not."

The study is the latest to investigate the effects of mobile phone use on the brain and previous research has typically produced mixed results. The mobile phone industry is loathe to accept there is any link between altered brain function and mobile phone use, but the fact that something happens is cause for concern.