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Publisher's Letter

Mobile phone users have increased risk of brain damage

By Leo Simpson

As time goes on, there is more and more evidence that mobile phones do cause brain damage. In fact, the evidence of risk seems quite clear with people who are heavy users of mobile phones. For example, a recent Swedish study indicated a four-fold increase in the incidence of a benign brain tumour in people who had used a mobile phone for more than 10 years. And in Britain, another recent report has linked heavy use to non-malignant ear and brain tumours and concluded that most scientists had underestimated the risks.

Meanwhile, scientists at Melbourne’s Swinburne University of Technology have found that radiation from mobile phone usage does affect brain function and may impair your ability to make snap decisions, such as when driving a car.

Apparently, these effects are small but they are good enough for me and confirm a long-held suspicion of mine that mobile phones present a big risk to anyone who uses them a lot. In fact, it seems to me that many mobile phone users already exhibit evidence of brain damage; either that or they were morons to begin with. Yes I know that it is a prejudiced view but if you are forced to listen to the utterly banal mobile phone conversations that occur in banks, supermarkets and everywhere else, it places a serious question mark over the intelligence of the users.

An even more serious question over mobile phone use concerns the high incidence of road accidents among young drivers. Apparently it is quite common for young drivers (and even not-so-young) to do text messaging while they are on the move! How utterly idiotic! It is bad enough that mobile phones are so widely used while driving, even if more people are now using them hands-free but to be attempting to read a small LCD screen and then thumb in text replies just beggars the imagination. Is this not evidence that these mobile phone users are utter nincompoops?

Of course, you cannot legislate against idiotic behaviour but I find it truly amazing that many people are apparently so unthinking that they place themselves and other road users in serious jeopardy by drinking, taking drugs and now, by text messaging while driving. Maybe the brain damage caused by mobile phones is even more widespread than we thought!

Seriously, mobile phones do present a risk of brain tumours and no-one should discount it because the tumours may be "benign". That is a misnomer if ever there was one because an undetected benign brain tumour can kill just effectively as a malignant tumour. Consider also that whenever there is a report about possible brain damage from mobile phones, there is often a number of dissenting views which state that the tests have "yet to be replicated" or that there was some problem with the methodology or some other criticism. The same techniques were used to howl down reports about cigarettes and lung cancer.

So how much evidence do you need? There is even evidence that mobile phone transmissions affect your brain function while you sleep! The message has to be: keep your mobile phone use to a sensible level. They are a wonderful convenience and vital in an emergency but when not needed, they should be switched off.

Leo Simpson

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