Finnish Study Finds GSM Cell Phone Use May Suppress Glucose Metabolism in the Brain

A new study out of Finland has found the electromagnetic field emitted by GSM <"">cell phones suppresses glucose metabolism in the human brain. The study, initiated by the Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience (CCN) at the University of Turku, is published in the Journal of Cerebral Blood Circulation and Metabolism.

For the study, 13 healthy men were exposed to the GSM signal for 33 minutes. PET scans showed that glucose metabolism was suppressed in the temporoparietal and anterior temporal areas on the side of the brain that was next to the cell phone antenna. The researchers, however, cautioned that no health conclusions could be made based on their findings.

GSM stands for Global System for Mobile communications, and is the world’s most widely used cell phone technology. It is approximated that 80 percent of the world uses GSM technology when placing wireless calls, according to the GSM Association (GSMA). As we’ve reported previously, wireless carriers that utilize GSM include AT&T and T Mobile. According to Joel Moskowitz, PhD, Director, Center for Family and Community Health, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, at least one published study has found GSM phones emit about 28 times more radiation on average compared to CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access). According to Moskowitz, toxicology research suggests that GSM phones are more biologically reactive compared to CDMA phones.

This isn’t the first time research has shown that radiation from cell phones can impact brain chemistry. Earlier this year, researchers at the National Institutes of Health published a study which found that 50-minutes of cell phone use was associated with increased brain glucose metabolism (a marker of brain activity) in the region closest to the phone antenna. The study, which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), was one of the first, and the most prominent, to offer scientific evidence that cell phones affect brain metabolism.

What is not yet understood is exactly how the brain changes induced by using a cell phone might impact health over the long-term. The authors of the NIH study said at the time that their findings indicated a need to further investigate potential long-term cell phone health effects.

Most studies conducted so have failed to conclusively prove one way or the other that radiation from cell phones impact health. However, over the summer, the World Health Organization’s WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) decided to classify cell phone radiation as possibly carcinogenic to humans after reviewing hundreds of human and animal studies. Their review included the 2010 INTERPHONE study, which found that the heaviest cell phone users– experienced a 40 percent higher risk for gliomas, the most common type of brain tumor.

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