Cell phone radiation may affect memory performance - study
Radiofrequency electromagnetic fields may have adverse effects on the development of memory performance of specific brain regions exposed during mobile phone use. These are the findings of a study involving nearly 700 adolescents in Switzerland.
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.
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.
Figural memory is mainly located in the right brain hemisphere and association with RF-EMF was more pronounced in adolescents using the mobile phone on the right side of the head.
"This may suggest that indeed RF-EMF absorbed by the brain is responsible for the observed associations." said Martin Röösli, Head of Environmental Exposures and Health at Swiss TPH.