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Study suggests mobile phone use during pregnancy may cause ADHD in offspring

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March 19, 2012

A study suggest mobile phone use by pregnant mothers can affect fetuses (Image: Shuttersto...

A study suggest mobile phone use by pregnant mothers can affect fetuses (Image: Shutterstock)

While there have been – and continue to be – numerous studies examining the effects of radiation from mobile phones on users, Yale School of Medicine researchers have looked at the possible effects on fetuses of mobile phone use by pregnant mothers. According to the study, mobile phone radiation exposure in the womb can affect the brain development of offspring and potentially lead to behavioral disorders such as hyperactivity.

A team led by Dr. Hugh S. Taylor, professor and chief of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences at Yale, exposed pregnant mice to mobile phone radiation by positioning a muted mobile phone placed on an active phone call above their cage for the duration of the trial. The same conditions but with a deactivated phone were replicated for a control group.

A battery of tests measuring the electrical activity of the brains of adult mice that were exposed to radiation as fetuses showed that they tended to be more hyperactive and had reduced memory capacity when compared to the control group.

Although the definition of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is based on behavior and is not classified as a neurological disease, magnetic resonance imaging of the prefrontal cortex in sufferers has shown a development lag in this area of the brain. This led Taylor to attribute the behavioral changes in the mice to an effect of mobile phone radiation on the development of neurons in the prefrontal cortex during pregnancy.

“This is the first experimental evidence that fetal exposure to radiofrequency radiation from cellular telephones does in fact affect adult behavior,” Taylor told Yale News. “We have shown that behavioral problems in mice that resemble ADHD are caused by cell phone exposure in the womb. The rise in behavioral disorders in human children may be in part due to fetal cellular telephone irradiation exposure.”

Although Taylor admits that further research in humans into the mechanisms behind the findings is needed to identify safe exposure limits during pregnancy, he says that limiting exposure of the fetus to mobile phone radiation seems advisable.

“Cell phones were used in this study to mimic potential human exposure but future research will instead use standard electromagnetic field generators to more precisely define the level of exposure,” said first author of the study Tamir Aldad, who added that mice pregnancies last only 19 days and that mice are born with less-developed brains than human babies.

The team’s study appears in Nature’s Scientific Report.

Source: Yale News

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag.   All articles by Darren Quick
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10 Comments

!!NEWSFLASH!!

Study finds that living causes death!

Rt1583
19th March, 2012 @ 07:50 pm PDT

I'd also ask how close the phone was to the fetus and how long the phone calls were for. A pregnant woman would normally hold a phone to her head which would be a fair distance from the fetus and the phone call would last on average only a couple of minutes, surely?

As stated in the article there is also the trouble that a mouse fetus doesn't spend 9 months developing so even small interferences can have a large affect.

I'd be more worried about what the phone is doing to mum who is already hopped up on hormones...

Scion
19th March, 2012 @ 08:15 pm PDT

I am tired of the "may cause" and "could be".

To me the extrapolation and conjecture from up the duff MICE with mobile transmitters next to them, vs a preggo woman with the fetus in her huge belly AND 2 feet of flesh, fat and bone between the phone and it....

Sure........

I love etherial "could be" links.

Mr Stiffy
19th March, 2012 @ 08:33 pm PDT

For all those above.... remember in the 80s when smoking might cause cancer? But hey, there was no real evidence for years... And there was a LOT of money involved.

I personally like these findings and take it as it is: an experiment in mice. When they find the safe EM levels they can calculate how much could be safe in humans.

My biggest concern is not using a hand held phone, but living next to a fixed antenna, which emmits with much more power than the phone, and communicates with many of them at once.

cachurro
20th March, 2012 @ 06:05 am PDT

The recommendation that expectant mothers avoid exposure to cell phone radiation is a prudent one. The cost of convenience is small (like avoiding alcohol). The potential reward is huge in not having to raise a poorly functioning child for decades.

With cell phone use so common today, it also has implications for a whole dysfunctional generation or two before we really understand the true risks. I would rather take my clues form observing others (human or animal), rather than having to make every mistake myself to learn a lesson.

Let a few mice be the guinea pigs rather than the whole of humanity.

see3d
20th March, 2012 @ 10:42 am PDT

Can someone please send studies like this by the physics department. Anyone with an elementary understanding of light (which radio waves are) will know that the energy contained in them is millions of times less than the energy our own bodies give off. And it's all the same stuff, just different frequencies! Please, people. Correlation studies like this should seriously acknowledge this kind of stuff. Otherwise it's just fear mongering.

Alonzo Riley
20th March, 2012 @ 11:42 am PDT

There has been evidence for years now that prolonged exposure to high voltage power lines and florescent lights (like sleeping above one that is always on) link to increased rates of cancer. Of course we also know very well that daily meat consumption causes health and environmental problem. I don't think we should dismiss this study off hand, but I will pick my battles on stronger evidence for now.

I wonder, though, if WiFi also has this effect. If not, then it is easy enough to set my phone to VoIP mode, and if so I would think that it would be more pressing than cell phone use.

Charles Bosse
20th March, 2012 @ 12:24 pm PDT

I agree with MR Stiffy, any kind of radiation we are eventually exposed to have it's effects, whether is cancer, ADHD or Alzheimer. There are so many antennas being placed everywhere, increasing coverage but at the same time increasing radiation it's really concerning. So after researching on cell phone radiation for a while I came across Pong Research radiation protection cases, which seems to be the only FCC certified to reduce Specific Absorption Rates about 90%, reducing a lot the possibilities to get any of this rumored side effects of using cell phones a lot.

Steven_Zent
29th March, 2012 @ 12:51 am PDT

I so agree with Mr Stiffy. Now, that we are in the world of limitless "possibilities" let me introduce yet another possibility. Actually, this is more grounded in physics than any other hypothetical scenarios.

Let me take to a logical conclusion this setup. We know that brains speed up during crises. We also know that the brain works faster when the body's equilibrium (balance) is challenged. It has been demonstrated that certain balance activities influence the brain and make it perform faster, as though the subject took the stimulant. We also know that unless we use certain capabilities from early age, later in life they might become hard to acquire, like language, for example. It certainly applies to muscles and joints, if we don't use them, we lose them. The same is true about our balancing skills. Our physical environment changed and now require less balancing skills to move about, then say 30 years ago. If our physical environment requires of us less balancing skills, it by extension makes the brain work overall slower during the idle speed than before. When the idle rpm is overall slower, it becomes difficult to keep focused and pay attention for long periods of time. That's your ADD/ADHD. As you can see, it is possible, as I just demonstrated, to turn a medical problem into the physics problem. If I am right in my assumptions, then we can logically conclude that physical problems need to be resolved via physics, not chemistry. Are you with me so far? So, what exactly changed in our physical world that reduced the demands for higher alertness of balance? First, the footwear. We used to wear leather-bottom shoes. Now babies who can't even walk yet are wearing sneakers. They grow up wearing sneakers as their primary footwear. They go to school wearing sneakers. Sneakers, by design, have excellent traction and stability on the ground; much better than that of leather-bottom shoes. We also have a policy in school which prohibits kids to run inside the school and on the playground. Kids now can only run during their PE class. This is essentially the only place where kids can now run at their full speed. We also have anti-slip tapes covering the steps of the stairs. All the ground have been covered in asphalt and made flat and smooth. All these elements collectively contribute to improved safety, reduction of falls. By chasing the desire to improve school safety, we neglected to account what this improved safety will bring along with it, the reduction of use of challenging balance skills. That's how the brain got slower, and that's how we now have more and more cases with ADD/ADHD. Everyone is up in arms about rising rate of stimulant use and nobody even notices that we are treating physical problem with chemistry. Is it possible? I ask you to do what you can to influence a study where one group of kids will be wearing sneakers to school and everywhere; while the other group of kids will be wearing leather-bottom shoes to school and everywhere. And then let's see who is full of it, me, an engineer, or the fully accredited medical doctors...

Alexander Nestoiter
21st May, 2012 @ 05:47 pm PDT

Studies conducted by numerous scientific teams in several nations have raised troubling questions about possible associations between heavy cell phone use and serious health dangers. That's why I investigated ways to cell phone radiation protection . I read about Pong Research cases, Pong technology is custom-designed for each mobile device and works to redirect radiation away from your head and body. I hesitated about it, anyway, I bought a case Pong because is the only technology proven in FCC-certified laboratories to reduce the exposure to mobile device radiation by up to 95% below the FCC limit without compromising the device’s ability to communicate.

http://www.gizmag.com/pong-iphone-case-cuts-mobile-radiation/12888/

Claudia Sainz
5th February, 2013 @ 03:23 pm PST
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