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India Currents gave me a voice in days I was very lost. Having my articles selected for publishing was very validating – Shailaja Dixit, Executive Director, Narika, Fremont

It is indeed true that mobile phones are conquering the world rather more than the global recession.


Everybody nowadays seems to be interested in the model numbers of their phone, and whether they own the latest gadget. But what about the side effects of the cellular phone usage, including effects on the brain?

You have probably heard about studies showing that prolonged exposure to mobile phones may cause cancer, but have you heard that the same exposure may actually reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease?

Well, yes, a new study has proved that mobile phones may prevent Alzheimer’s disease. The research was conducted on mice by a group of neuroscientists, electrical engineers, and neurologists from the University of South Florida. The mice with Alzheimer’s got rid of the disease and mice without the disease boosted their memory among other things, after they got exposured to cell phone radiation. The research was done at Alzheimer’s Disease Research Centre and published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Most of the mice in the study were genetically developing beta-amyloid plaques that cause Alzheimer’s and memory disorders as they age. The scientists found out that these harmful beta-amyloid plaques in the older mice’s brains were erased easily when they were exposed to the electromagnetic waves generated by the cell phones.

On the other hand, the radiation also prevented the building up of these harmful plaques in the brain of the younger mice. In fact, they boosted their memory above normal levels. The radiation given to the normal mice increased the blood flow and energy metabolism in their brain by promoting the activities inside.

Gary Arendash, one of the lead scientists, says, “We were surprised to find that cell phone exposure, begun in early adulthood, protects the memory of mice otherwise destined to develop Alzheimer’s symptoms.”
He and some of his colleagues had placed cages of mice around a centrally located antenna that created cell phone radiation. They had exposed the animals one hour at a time twice a day for a period of seven to nine months.

According to the study, these findings may be applicable to humans. The researchers suggest that it may take years to see the same results in humans, rather than the seven to nine months for mice.

Certainly, this is a controversial study. There are health hazards that come from electromagnetic radiation, and study results vary. Cell phone users who used the device for more than 10 years have been found at higher risk for brain cancer compared to the general population, some studies have found. But no association was found among those who have used the communication tool for less than 10 years, according to other studies. And the recent study has shown that, along with preventing Alzheimer’s, mobile phone exposure may also prevent Parkinson’s Diseases.

From the available evidence, it would appear that the number of cases of Alzheimer’s Disease in Asia—particularly in South India, Mumbai, and the northern state of Haryana—are reportedly very low in those at 65 years or older. This may be because the occurrence of  the gene, Apolipoprotein EÎ4, which is a known risk factor in Alzheimer’s Disease, is lower in the Indian population than elsewhere.

Thus, it is indeed good news for all cell phone users. Now they can talk daily preventing any damage to their brain cells but that too in limits, because more exposure can lead to a brain cancer as well.

Parul Sanghi is a freelance writer as well as a preschool teacher.