Is your mobile phone killing you?

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Like most doctors, I subscribe to clinical education websites. These are a great way to stay in touch and see the directions that medicine is taking. However, like almost all articles in the public domain, there is a difference between proven facts and personal opinions.

The latest subject was (once again) mobile phones. The item began with, “During the last decade, there has been a dramatic global increase in wireless communication use, resulting in greater exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF). Health risk concerns center on the brain, which is the main target of RF-EMF during use of mobile or cordless phones.”

Now some “evidence” suggests the possibility of increased brain tumor risk associated with use of wireless phones, but findings to date have been mixed and inconclusive. The International Agency on Research on Cancer (IARC) at the World Health Organization concluded that RF-EMF exposure is “possibly” a human carcinogen.

Reached for a comment on the latest “study data”, L. Dade Lunsford, MD, Lars Leksell Professor of Neurosurgery, and director, Center for Image Guided Neurosurgery, University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, said that the new study provides additional “but as yet unconvincing” evidence of a potential role of cell or cordless phone technologies in the production of gliomas (brain tumors).

So the latest is brain tumors in the long list of “side effects” of the mobile phones.

Other effects were supposed to be male infertility where it was claimed: “Hours of chatting on a mobile phone are suspected to be slashing male fertility around the world, new research shows.” It went on to say that “Men who use mobile phones for more than four hours a day produce fewer and poorer quality sperm.”

This is just another assault on mobile phones which have in the past been blamed for pilots losing their way taxiing to the terminal (after all, you are expressly warned not to turn them on until the plane has stopped), and now an attack on one’s manhood. I mean this is so serious, we should never keep mobile phones on our laps, or heaven help us, slipped between your legs as you drive the car. Next time you are standing at the urinal, don’t shake it, Willy the wonder wand might fall off, if we are to believe all this “research”.

However, I too have done my research and can prove that I have identified the world’s greatest killer. In fact, my research shows that in Thailand last year, this factor was significant for 92 percent of the people who died. Yes, a staggering 92 percent of people who died last year wore shoes. What further proof is required? The statistics prove it! How do you argue against 92 percent? Shoes are the nation’s biggest killer!

Of course, this is fallacious use of the numbers. Always remember that there are lies, damned lies and statistics. Just because something happens does not mean that the cause is what you suggest it is. You are maybe measuring factors that have no relationship to the outcome. And I believe that this latest barrage against mobile phones comes in that basket.

What is not said in all these shock, horror headlines, is that these research chappies in the hallowed halls of academia need finance to keep going, and they are all in competition with each other to grab a slice of the research dollar. The more shock, horror headers they can get, the more likely they are to get further funding. It is the money train again.

Now there are groups doing genuine research into the malaises of mankind, and the influence of cholesterol on cardiac deaths is a classic example. The Framingham study kicked it all off, and it has been progressively studied since then. High cholesterol is an adverse factor as far as your cardiac condition is concerned. Believe it. And is unaltered by mobile phone use. Believe that one too.

In the health business, the only 100 percent surety is that you are going to die. Nobody has lived forever! But I am also convinced that mobile phones will not herald the end of mankind!

Beware of ‘scientific breakthroughs’ reported in the popular press. It may just be fishing for funding.