Cell Phones Do Cause Increased Brain Wave Activity in Some People

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Scientists speculate that the cause for the difference could be either physiological or psychological. iStockPhoto

For every person who embraces new advances in technology whole-heartedly, there is probably one who is suspicious be it microwaves, of Facebook or cell phones. Now, research is showing that both camps may be right: while cell phones do not affect brain waves of everyone, some people may be more susceptible to brain wave changes caused by cell phones than others.

Previous studies had concluded that cell phones do not impact brain waves at all, or only a little. But this recent study has concluded that for some people, cell phones impact brain waves a lot, and that the averaging out of data has led to erroneous conclusions for some people. In addition, cell phones can impact brain waves while people are awake or asleep. However, Rodney Croft and his colleagues at the University of Wollongong in Australia say also that these differences in brain waves do not seem to have any health effects.

The research involved 20 participants who had been used in previous trials on the subject. During two consecutive nights, the volunteers were exposed to cell phones for 30 minutes, positioned over the right temporal region in a cradle. (The right temporal lobe is located just over the ear.) On one night, the cell phone was on, and on the other, the cell phone was off, though participants were not aware of when it was on or off. Researchers found that exposure to cell phones increased brain waves recorded by the EEG in all individuals, but the difference was more pronounced in certain groups of people. They also found that the brain wave differences did not seem to impact the quality of sleep.

Scientists wonder now about the source of the differences. They speculate that the cause could be either physiological or psychological.

Researchers have long cautioned against users keeping their phones by their heads while sleeping. For many people, however, it is a hard habit to break. Many people, particularly young people, use their cell phones as alarm clocks. Since scientists do not know yet who is more susceptible in changes of brain wave activity without the use of an EEG machine, it is a habit that many of us should break.

The study was published in Bioelectromagnetics.

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