A government-funded study says radiation from mobile phones can change the way brains process sugar.
Is that a big deal? The scientists aren't sure, according to media giant CNN Health's report. But our story has some scary tidbits.
Like this quote, from Dr. Nora Volkow, the Journal of the American Medical Association study's lead author and a neuroscientist at the National Institutes of Health:
"The human brain is sensitive to the electromagnetic radiation emitted by cell phones, but for the brain to be impacted the cell phone has to be close to the antenna. So keep your brain away from the antenna."
In layman's terms: It's better to be safe than sorry, she says.
Despite years of research, there's still no conclusive proof cell phone radiation causes cancer and other health problems in the brain. Studies, some of them funded by the wireless industry, have produced contradictory findings. But the nearly ubiquitous devices haven't been proven 100% safe either. So, for the sake of argument, let's say you are worried about this and you do want to "keep your brain away from the antenna."
How do you actually do that?
Here are a few options, taken from an earlier CNN tip sheet and influenced by another from the Environmental Working Group, an advocacy organization:
In the age of "can you hear me now," this won't be easy. One workaround , however, is to send text messages instead of calling. Not only will this keep the phone in your hand and away from your brain, it may help you connect with that pint-sized niece of yours who has given up "verbaling" completely.
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission sets a radiation threshold that all cell phones sold here must fall below. Industry groups say this level is plenty strict, maybe even too strict. But others say consumers should be informed about how much radiation their phones emit and, if they want, they should be able to purchase a lower-radiation phone.
San Francisco last year started requiring cell phone manufacturers to advertise radiation levels in stores. If you don't happen to live in the Bay Area, however, don't fret. The Environmental Working Group and CNET News both have posted online lists of cell phones and their radiation levels.
General rule of thumb: The smarter the phone, the more radiation.
This one is easy to forget. Say you don't have headphones with a built-in microphone and you don't want to buy a geeky Bluetooth headset. The obvious solution: Just use your mobile phone's speakerphone feature.
Bonus tip: This probably works better when you're alone than when you're sharing your conversation with the entire room.
Take this as literally as possible. It's not just how long you're on the phone, but how much time you spend talking in a phone conversation that actually contributes to the amount of radiation your phone emits, according to the Environmental Working Group.
Maybe it's a good time to work on some listening skills.
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