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Cell phone is not responsible for the occurrence of brain tumors

tumore-cerebrale

Since the mid-1980s, a time when the cell phone spread rapidly throughout the world, there has been speculation about a possible cell phone-brain tumor relationship as a result of brain exposure to high levels of radio frequency.

Some epidemiological, case-control studies had shown a significant increase in brain tumors related to cell phone use and, in particular, glioma, while no association was found with brain meningiomas(INTERPHONE Study Group, 2010; Hardell et al, 2011) .

Precisely as a result of these studies, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified radio frequencies as possibly carcinogenic (Baan et al., 2011)

In Italy, where research is sometimes carried out in the courtrooms, the 2017 decision of the Ivrea Court of Law, which for the first time in Italy recognized a causal link between cell phone use and a brain tumor, which was otherwise benign (it was in fact a neurinoma) and not on the brain, but rather on a nerve, has remained historic.

In a very recent studio conducted in Australia by a number of Australian and New Zealand universities, coordinated by Ken Karipidis, examined the trend of brain tumor incidence in three separate time periods, in order to assess both the influence of improved diagnostic techniques in this field, but especially the relationship with the increasing use of cell phones.

The authors examined the incidence of primary brain tumors during the periods 1982-1992, 1993-2002 and 2003-2013, in subjects aged 20-59 years, taken from national cancer registries. A total of 16,825 cases of brain tumors meeting the study characteristics were identified, of which 10,083 were males and 6742 were females. These data were then compared with the incidence of cell phone use during 2003-2013.

Rates of primary brain tumors remained constant in all three periods. There was only an increase in glioblastoma in 1993-2002, compared with the previous period (1982-1992), which the authors put in reaction with the improvement in diagnosis related to the increased use of MRI.

In contrast, no increase was observed for any type of brain tumor, including glioma and glioblastoma, during 2003-2013, a period there was a significant increase in cell phone use. Notably, the authors of the article report no increase in gliomas in the temporal lobe, which is the site most exposed to cell phone use.

The conclusions of the study are that there is no demonstrable relationship between brain tumors and cell phones, let alone a particular brain location attributable to cell phones.

Bibliography

Baan R, Grosse Y, Lauby-Secretan B, et al. Carcinogenicity of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields. Lancet Oncol 2011;12:624-6

Hardell L, Carlberg M, Hansson Mild K. Pooled analysis of case control studies on malignant brain tumors and the use of mobile and cordless phones including living and deceased subjects. Int J Oncol 2011;38:1465-74).

INTERPHONE Study Group. Brain tumor risk in relation to mobile telephone use: results of the INTERPHONE international case-control study. Int J Epidemiol 2010;39:675-94.

Source

Ken Karipidis et al. Mobile phone use and incidence of brain tumor histological types, grading or anatomical location: a population-based ecological study. BMJ Open 2018;8:e024489. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2018-024489

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