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Swedish Study Finds Cell Phone Cancer Risk 282

Posted by Zonk
from the i-call-my-tumor-tummy dept.
dtjohnson writes "A new Swedish study has found that heavy users of cell phones had a 240 percent increase in brain tumors on the side of their head that the phone was used on. The study defined 'heavy' use as more than 2,000 total hours, or approximately one hour of use per workday for 10 years. An earlier British study was previously discussed here that didn't find an increased risk, although that study covered fewer subjects and only followed one type of brain tumor for a shorter period of time. Or course, the biggest epidemiological study of all is the one we are all participating in whenever we use our cell phone. The results from that study won't be available for a while."
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Swedish Study Finds Cell Phone Cancer Risk

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  • News? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by eMartin (210973) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @03:42AM (#15044610)
    Um... Didn't we know this like 20 years ago?
    • Re:News? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by MoonFog (586818) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @03:46AM (#15044615)
      Don't know if you're joking or not, but even in the summary it is mentioned the British article which goes against this, so no, we didn't "know" this 20 years ago. Hell, we still don't KNOW that it causes tumours either. What's significant about this study is the timespan of it.
    • Read the Study (Score:4, Insightful)

      by raydulany (892228) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @12:52PM (#15045959) Journal
      If you read the study (and know anything about experimental design) you will see that the "results" aren't nearly so impressive as they claim. The short of it: they looked at a bunch of people who already had brain cancer, and then determined how many of them used a cell phone (roughly) an hour per day. I don't know about you, but most people I know use cell phones that often on average, and so it comes as no suprise to me that approx. 85% of the people in the study had high cell phone use. What this shows is ALMOST NOTHING because it doesn't compare what the rate of high cell phone use is among the general population. All it proves is that in a group of people who had brain cancer a lot of them used cell phones. In case it seems like I'm talking circularly, think of this analogous example: if I took a group of people with brain cancer and surveyed them we would probably find that a very high percentage of them (1) drink coffee every day (2) watch television every day (3) breath air every day, but you wouldn't immediately say "OMG, [Coffee, TV, Breathing] causes brain cancer!" Anyone who believed this story without at least reading a description of the study should stop breathing now so that they don't get cancer.
      • Re:Read the Study (Score:3, Interesting)

        by budgenator (254554) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @01:52PM (#15046180) Journal
        wrong answer, 85 out of 905 CA patients were high users; that's 9.4 %, much less than the amount what you're ridiculing the study for being alarmist over.

        One thing I'd be curious about is because the study reported that people who use cell phone have a 240% greater chance of their tumor being located on the side of the brain that they hold their cells on, what percentage of right-handed people have malignant tumors on the left-side of their brains (left brian controls right body) and left-handers with maligincies in the right side of the brain.
  • Assumptions (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MichaelSmith (789609) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @03:47AM (#15044619) Homepage Journal
    Kjell Mild, who led the study, said the figures meant that heavy users of mobile phones, for instance of who make mobile phone calls for 2,000 hours or more in their life, had a 240 percent increased risk for a malignant tumor on the side of the head the phone is used.
    "The way to get the risk down is to use hands-free," he told Reuters.

    How does he know that? Did his study make that conclusion? The article doesn't say anything about use of hands free kits beyond that statement.

    I think Mr Mild is making assumptions about the reason for the apparent 240% increase, and factors which he thinks may be important.

  • by xamomike (831092) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @03:49AM (#15044623) Homepage
    There's got to be some long term damage to putting a radio transmitter which radiates electromagnetic energy right beside your head. I do mean *long term* damage, the only people that really have to worry are yappy pre-pubescent teenage girls, and we have too many of them anyways.
    • Re:suprised? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Guppy06 (410832) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @04:06AM (#15044673)
      "There's got to be some long term damage to putting a radio transmitter which radiates electromagnetic energy right beside your head."

      Why? As has been repeated ad nauseam whenever this debate comes about, the frequencies used by cell phones are non-activating. If holding a tiny, low-power transmitter next to your head causes cancer, then people who work at TV and FM stations should be dropping like flies.

      All we know at this point (assuming the study's methodolgy holds water) is that there is a correlation between cell phone use and brain tumors. It could mean that cell phones cause brain tumors, it could mean that people prone to brain tumors talk on the phone a lot.

      And even if it is eventually shown that cell phones cause brain tumors, that still doesn't necessarily mean it is the radio transciever aspect of the phone that is the culprit. It very well may be exposure to toxic chemicals used in the displays or the batteries, for example, much the same way toxic pesticides used around electrical pylons had people thinking high-voltage lines caused cancer.
      • Re:suprised? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by rbarreira (836272) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @04:30AM (#15044724) Homepage
        And how would you explain that the tumors were more likely to be located on the side of the head closest to where the user would put the phone?
        • Re:suprised? (Score:2, Insightful)

          by mabinogi (74033) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @04:54AM (#15044765) Homepage
          And how would you explain that the tumors were more likely to be located on the side of the head closest to where the user would put the phone?

          "It very well may be exposure to toxic chemicals used in the displays or the batteries..."


          That's how.
        • Re:suprised? (Score:3, Insightful)

          by AK Marc (707885) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @12:40PM (#15045916)
          And how would you explain that the tumors were more likely to be located on the side of the head closest to where the user would put the phone?

          Well, if it is unrelated, that would be easy to prove. What side of the brain are most tumors found? Or is it equal on both? What side of the head do most people hold the cell phone on? I know I use phones mainly with my right-hand/ear, so preferences do exist. If there is an unrelated propensity for right-brain tumors and right-hand cell usage, then the causation implied with the correlation is flawed. There is rarely a "cause" found for things in these types of scientific studies, just correlations explored.

          And, of course, the study wasn't double-blind. I didn't RTFA, but if they found people that were diagnosed with cancer, then asked them questions, it would be human nature to assume the answer and change their answer to match the expected answer. No, this isn't lying, it's an actual subconscious alteration of perceptions, like the placebo effect. Tell someone they have cancer in their left hemisphere and ask them if they usually use the cell phone on that side, and they will be more likely to answer that they do. So, the only way to fix that problem is to lie to the patient about their disease (usually unethical) in order to remove that bias. Since that's impractical, these studies will forever be flawed. Or, we could study 1,000,000 people for 20 years and get a reasonably accurate answer to the question.
      • Re:suprised? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anne Thwacks (531696) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @05:04AM (#15044788)
        people who work at TV and FM stations should be dropping like flies.

        Except that they don't go nea the antenna (or they would be cooked), and thee is such a thing as the invese squae law.

        Howeve, if the study coves 20 yeas, then it coves the time when cellphones put out a steady 4 watts. Now they can pehaps peak at that, but now they use adaptive power levels, the average power level while transmitting is generally below 100mW, and often below 4mW.However, the power from a domestic light bulb in that band is? and the SUn's radiation is massively greeater

        In simple terms,

        a)if it covers 20 years, its not relevant to today's phones.

        b)FM radio is not relevant at all

        c)If today's phones are a risk, then they are less of a risk than having incandescent light bulbs in your home, or being exposed to sunlight and that does not appear to kill anyone.

        • Re:suprised? (Score:3, Insightful)

          by RedWizzard (192002) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @06:22AM (#15044937)
          However, the power from a domestic light bulb in that band is? and the SUn's radiation is massively greeater
          Can you provide some references for the claims you're making here (that incandescent light bulbs and the sun both output significant amounts of radiation on the same frequencies as cell phones)? It's seems unlikely - neither cause obvious interferrence with cell phones, which I'd expect if the power levels are remotely similar.
        • by Surt (22457) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @12:56PM (#15045977) Homepage Journal
          I would say a lot of skin cancer researchers would be surprised by your claim that being exposed to sunlight doesn't kill anyone.
  • Not really (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NitsujTPU (19263) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @03:50AM (#15044625)
    Or course, the biggest epidemiological study of all is the one we are all participating in whenever we use our cell phone. The results from that study won't be available for a while.

    Not really. The metering is lousy. The control group is corrupted. Heck, the technology is changing, so the signals are different. As a study, the world at large makes a lousy experiment for this.
  • by Lord Ender (156273) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @03:52AM (#15044630) Homepage
    This article is poor (I would say unethical) coverage of a scientific study.

    For example, to say something is associate with a 240% increase in risk can be technically accurate, but horribly misleading to most readers. If one in a billion people get a disease, a 240% increase makes your chance of getting it 2.4/1000000000. That is absolutely nothing to worry about.

    Also, with this studay, they found out people who had tumors, then asked them if they used cell phones. The subjects probably had no doubt as to why this question was being asked, therefore this was not really a double blind experiment.

    Has anyone ever been able to give a rat cancer by blasting it with amplified cellphone-type radiation? That would convince me of the possibility of cell phone risk much more than digging backward through statistical inormation does.
    • by xamomike (831092) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @04:01AM (#15044658) Homepage
      "Has anyone ever been able to give a rat cancer by blasting it with amplified cellphone-type radiation?" can't say I've ever blasted rats with cellphone radiation, but you should see what a microwave does to them!
    • by idlake (850372) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @04:03AM (#15044664)
      For example, to say something is associate with a 240% increase in risk can be technically accurate, but horribly misleading to most readers.

      I think the problem there is with "most readers", not with an accurate statement of the risk increase. Furthermore, the absolute numbers are stated in the article, and knowing the population of Sweden, it's easy to compute the absolute risk.

      Has anyone ever been able to give a rat cancer by blasting it with amplified cellphone-type radiation? That would convince me of the possibility of cell phone risk much more than digging backward through statistical inormation does.

      In addition to heating, microwaves appear to induce measurable changes in cells in tissue culture.

      Doing the direct experiment would be a massive undertaking: if it takes 10 million human brains irradiated over 20 years to induce an extra 50 tumors, you'd need a lot of rats for a measurable effect. And you can't just up the radiation dose because then you cook the brains.
      • by ceoyoyo (59147) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @04:06AM (#15044676)
        If the incidence is so low that you can't do a study to demonstrate it properly then we've got FAR more important things to worry about. I bet your increased risk of getting hit by a bus because you're talking on your stupid phone instead of paying attention is more significant.
        • by Citizen of Earth (569446) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @01:29PM (#15046088)
          I bet your increased risk of getting hit by a bus because you're talking on your stupid phone instead of paying attention is more significant.

          The people who died in this way were unavailable to participate in the study.
    • by ceoyoyo (59147) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @04:04AM (#15044666)
      Another problem with a lot of these studies is that they use the other side of the brain as a control. You're supposed to get tumors more often on the side of your head you use the phone on. How consistent are people always using it on the same side?

      Not to mention I suspect the people who used cell phones extensively twenty years ago are probably a very special group... probably with all kinds of interesting common factors.
    • by Illserve (56215) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @08:04AM (#15045132)
      This study is possibly even worse than that.

      There is going to be a huge selection bias in personality types that use cell phones heavily. For example, these people are probably overworked, stressed or just type-a people, in which case their immune system isn't running at quite the same level as non cell users (chronic stress causes hormonal reductions in the immune system as well as a whole range of other changes). This alone would account for increased cancer.

      I wonder if these people also had increases of cancer in the rest of their body?
    • by Geste (527302) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @01:03PM (#15045997)
      "This article is poor (I would say unethical) coverage of a scientific study. [snip...] Also, with this studay, they found out people who had tumors, then asked them if they used cell phones. The subjects probably had no doubt as to why this question was being asked, therefore this was not really a double blind experiment."

      I will not argue that the CNet article represents this study very well, but if you are going to complain so casually about coverage of this study -- even calling it unethical -- it would help if some of your supporting arguments and complaints weren't so lousy.

      You seem to have no notion of the differences between a retrospective case-contol study (which is what the researchers conducted) and a prospective clinical trial (where you could reasonably employ double-blind methods).

      If you look past CNet and find the original article in the International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health you will see that the study included over 2000 control subjects.

      It is possible to design lousy studies of any type. There are also reasons to be cautious in interepreting the results of retrospective studies, but particularly in the case of low-incidence disease, they are often the only way to start looking at risk factors -- give policy makers at least something to start working with. So, until you come up with 3 billion dollars and an ethical design for a perfect double-blind cell phone study, I would encourage you to be a bit more forgiving.

      I will now retire to consider what a placebo cell phone would look like.

    • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @01:12PM (#15046032) Homepage
      There are lies, damned lies, and statistics

      Mark Twain

    • by volpe (58112) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @02:05PM (#15046224)
      For example, to say something is associate with a 240% increase in risk can be technically accurate, but horribly misleading to most readers. If one in a billion people get a disease, a 240% increase makes your chance of getting it 2.4/1000000000. That is absolutely nothing to worry about.

      Actually, that would be 3.4 per billion.
  • by mocm (141920) * on Sunday April 02, 2006 @03:54AM (#15044637) Homepage
    A 240% increase sounds huge, but they never tell you what the original risk is. There is a difference between doubling a 10% risk or a 0.00001% risk.
  • by Rooked_One (591287) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @03:54AM (#15044639) Journal
    when all the shitty drivers that have pissed me off so much get tumors... no, i'll just feel bad for them - yet again. =/
  • by Techojoe (704378) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @03:59AM (#15044653)
    While it has been suspected for some time that cell phones may cause tumors there has been considerable debate over the subject. Telcos and phone makers taking the anti health risk stance for obvious reasons.The phone companies have put large sums of money into reaserch to tell them and us that the phones themselves are harmless. It looks now as if an independant? researcher has added to the body of evidence that there is in fact a real risk. To temper that however it appears you have to be a pretty heavy user to be at risk. Interestingly the mobil phone towers them selves seem to escape the scruting that the handsets have been subjected to.
    • by evilviper (135110) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @04:33AM (#15044728) Journal
      The phone companies have put large sums of money into reaserch to tell them and us that the phones themselves are harmless.

      No, "the phone companies" are spread across both ends of the issue. The telcos without cell-phone interests would much rather show cell phones to be dangerous.

      Neither fact should, in any way, lead anyone to jump to the opposite conclusion.

      It looks now as if an independant? researcher has added to the body of evidence that there is in fact a real risk.

      No. Correlation != Causation.

      You can find study after study that quite simply reaches an incorrect conclusion. You have to have a study that controls all variables to reach any kind of useful conclusion, otherwise, it's just barely above the level of old wives' tales.

      In this case, it could very, very easily be the case that people who spend the most time on the cellphone have some other traits in common, such as genetics, longer-than-average exposure to the sun, riskier behaviors, less healthy diets, etc., which are the ACTUAL contributing factors, and cellphone usage happens to be completely irrelevant.

      Truthfully, the claim that cellphones cause cancer is about at the same level as flying saucers, and exceptional evidence (with NO possible alternative interpretions) is needed to show there is an actual link. Because, after 100 years of megawatt electrical lines and high power transmissions all around us, nobody has thus far found any solid evidence of any harmful effects, so it's very difficult to believe low-power devices, such as cell-phones are having vastly more effect than the rest of the constant, 24 hour electrical bombardment. These same scare stories were popular with microwaves for many years, with no real scientific basis, until they finally went away, presumably with the nutjobs switching their attention to crop circles and cell phones.

      Interestingly the mobil phone towers them selves seem to escape the scruting that the handsets have been subjected to.

      Well, if you would have read the first dammed sentence of the article, you would have seen the mention of cell towers. Where, then, you get the idea they are escaping scrutiny, is beyond me.

      However, there is very good reason people aren't remotely as concerned with cell towers. They send out a tiny fraction as much power as other communications, such as TV and radio broadcasts. You'll have a hard time scamming otherwise rational people into believing one lower-power tower is more dangerous than a higher-power transmission tower. But, apparently there's been enough luck with cellphones, since they're so near your face, that otherwise rational people are willing to listen, just like they did for Y2K, UFOs, The Bermuda Triangle, The Lost City of Atlantis, etc.
  • by nfarrell (127850) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @04:21AM (#15044708)
    I don't know why it's not linked to any any of the articles, but here's the scientific paper. If we're going to critique it, we might as well do it right:

    http://www.arbetslivsinstitutet.se/pdf/060331MildH ardell_Article.pdf [arbetslivsinstitutet.se]
    • by Illserve (56215) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @11:28AM (#15045660)
      The proper control group is patients with cancer in other parts of their body, not healthy controls.

      That wipes out stress as a potential confound (under the reasonable assumption that people who were early adopters of cell phones were more often the type of people to have stressful jobs).

      This is bad science, and that's usually the result of the fame motivation that comes with work in high profile areas. Projects like this generate front page news no matter what the result, hence they are extremely attractive.

    • by ajna (151852) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @05:08PM (#15046820) Homepage Journal
      Thanks for the link to the study. For the record I am a 2nd year medical student, have taken (and passed!) coursework on epidemiology, and have been published as first author in a reputable journal, the point being that I am a bit more qualified than Joe Sixpack to comment on the study. Reply to this post if you want a link to my study, but be warned that it is of limited general interest (cardiology).

      First off, in response to another poster in this thread, the choice of controls is correct. In case control studies you look at groups with and without an outcome, in this study various brain tumors, and then examine whether the rate of exposure, cell or cordless usage here, differs between the two groups. Having other cancers is an entirely different outcome, and case control studies do not allow one to examine multiple outcomes by definition. A cohort study would allow for examination of multiple outcomes, but is inappropriate here since the incidence of brain tumors is so low as to make a cohort study prohibitively large and expensive.

      Second, from reading the actual study as opposed to the news summaries I believe the results to be valid. Why? The results meet many criteria for causality and are strong statistically. Read on for what I mean by this.

      The case for causality: First off there is biologic plausibility. Read the second full paragraph on page 9 of the pdf for discussion of this issue by the authors. Incidentally the assertion by other posters that these results are invalid because they show roughly similar odds ratios for analog, digital, and cordless phones is addressed and shown to be untrue in the first full paragraph on page 9 (as well as in the discussion of frequencies used in the introduction).

      Next there is a clear dose-response relationship, as the odds ratio increases with greater cumulative wireless phone usage. This also partly addresses the issue of temporal relationship, as long term cell phone usage would necessarily predate the onset of recently diagnosed tumors.

      Finally, the results seem statistically sound. By this I mean that the 95% confidence intervals do not cross 1.0, and that the relationship between exposure and outcome persists after correction for age and socioeconomic class. (Sex wasn't corrected for since the controls were already matched by the study design.)

      Does this mean that I'm going to immediately stop using my cell phone? No. However, I'm going to keep on using it because I value its convenience more than the possibility of developing brain cancer at some multiple of a low rate.
  • The article offers no details, so it's impossible to evaluate this work meaningfully. Based on the limited details provided, it would be really easy for anyone with even the least background in research or statistics to think up a zillion reasons to be skeptical. But research almost always sound simplistic and inept when it's subject to simplistic and inept reporting. This brief report reads like the confused ramblings of someone who's overheard a conversation in an elevator.

    Fortunately, a kind Slashdot reader has posted a link to the article, and that clears up a lot of the mis-reporting. I took a brief look to check two things: what they did to avoid confounding due to other potential risk factors that might be correlated with cell phone use, and what the evidence is for increased risk on the side of phone use. It seems like they didn't do much to avoid confounding. If heavy cell phone users are also heavy drug users, technophiles, work in high-stress occupations, or whatever, it seems like it could confound the overall rates. It would be a little harder to cook up a story for the ipsi/contra difference. The evidence that the tumors are more likely on the ipsilateral side seems to be numerical, not statistical (they do the stats on one side and again on the other side, but they don't compare the two directly, unless I somehow missed it). It would be nice to know how reliable that difference is, since that seems to be the strongest link between the tumor rates and cell phone use. But that's just my first impression.
  • Tagging comments (Score:2, Informative)

    by saikatguha266 (688325) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @05:01AM (#15044785) Homepage
    Please use the !word to negate a tag.

    While off-topic from the article perspective, I think this comment has some merit given that at the time of this comment, the tags for this article include 'gay', 'straight', 'bi'.

    I suspect the 'straight' is to offset the 'gay' tag which appeared on all April 1 articles, and overflowed into April 2 articles. The system, I don't believe, knows that 'straight' is opposite of 'gay'. It does however know that '!gay' is opposite of 'gay', and will (likely) drop the tag that people vote against. Please use the '!word' tag to negate a word.

    Just an FYI.

    (don't mod me off-topic please. =] )
  • by ZeroExistenZ (721849) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @05:40AM (#15044851)

    I don't know if someone knows these flashing stickers [greenpearle.com] indicating an incoming phonecall? I've tried some, and they only work -with the phones I tried- at the back of the phone. The front (where you hold it against your head) doesn't seem to be giving off a signal strong enough to make the stickers flash.

    So I suspect there is a difference in what type of cellphone (external antenna, generation of cellphone, brand...) which increases or decreases the amount of radiation taken.

  • by paugq (443696) <<pgquiles> <at> <elpauer.org>> on Sunday April 02, 2006 @06:34AM (#15044959) Homepage
    That study is non-sensical!

    They had people with cancer and they asked whether they were using/had been using a mobile phone. What a stupid question!. Pretty much everybody in Europe has a mobile phone since 2000: children (and I mean 7 y-o children!), adults and old people (>80 y-o). Mobile telephony has a penetration rate about 90% in Europe!

    They may have asked if they were drinking *water* as well, and the conclusion of the study would have been exactly the same.
    • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @07:07AM (#15045022) Homepage Journal
      They had people with cancer and they asked whether they were using/had been using a mobile phone.

      Also they didn't survey mobile phone users who have not caught cancer, so they don't have a control. Part of the problem is that the cause of cancer is almost always unknown. They appear are not to be taking the unknowns into account.

  • by BeanThere (28381) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @07:07AM (#15045021)

    It's important to realise that the British study claiming no cancer risk was funded by a consortium made up of mobile phone operators and cellphone manufacturers.

  • Assuming development won't stop for the next 10 years, a lot will be different. Other mobile phones using new technology that mostlikely will have different effects. And mostlikely better ways to treat cancer (or even "cure" it).

    But just to be safe I'll wrap my phone in tinfoil, that should stop it right?
  • Flawed (Score:5, Insightful)

    by xtieburn (906792) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @08:40AM (#15045207)
    I read the PDF detailing the study and there are a couple of gaping holes in this whole thing.

    First off, despite multiple studies done that prove no correlation between brain tumours and mobile phones this claims to have found something. Now I guess other factors may have come in to those other studies some bias etc. However, this article details an initial study that also showed _no_ connection. It was only after they altered the questionaires and retested people that they found something. Whats more, they then did no further alteration to the questions and simply ran with the same test only on a bigger scale.

    There may be a detailed explanation of why that occured but with currently released information weve no idea how many times they were willing to alter the questions to get the answers they wanted, and no explanation of which questions were altered or why. What adds to the suspicion is the fact that the only reason the first test was thrown out was 'short latency' and 'low numbers' of people. Neither of which affect the questionaire.

    So what we have is a group of people who rely on getting a result for there funding. (No differently to the previous studies.) After they got no real results from a first test, altered it in a way that appeared to have no bearing on that initial test. They then found they got results... Doesnt really inspire any confidence in there impartial testing.

    Secondly, something others have pointed out already, asking a bunch of people with tumours when they started using mobile phones and then roughly getting rid of other factors that could have caused them based on a questionaire... Not a great method of working this out.

    Whatever you thought of the study seen on the BBC site it raised a very good point about something that would cause a bias. 'reporting from brain tumour sufferers who knew what side of the head their tumours were on.' etc. This test doesnt even begin to try clamp down on these kinds of bias. Even if this test was entirely fair, the results are far from dramatic. With excessive use it shows only a relatively small increase in cases. With a potential for people to be increasingly suspicious of there mobiles the more they use them this could easily be put down to false assumptions.

    As far as im concerned this study is severly flawed. The other studies are also flawed, to a degree, but until someone actually has decent evidence that these things are causing damage then its not going to stop the millions of people who use them. I certainly wouldnt say mobile phones are safe but there is still little to no evidence suggesting they harm us. (and arguably more evidence to suggest that they dont.) The presure is definately on those who have to prove a link.
  • by tinkerton (199273) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @09:10AM (#15045262)
    Why are people with brain tumors always on the phone..
  • by Ancient_Hacker (751168) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @09:18AM (#15045285)
    There's lots of ways this study could be all wet:
    • Maybe cell phone users are of a particular demographic that is more prone to cancer:
    • For example, they're in a certain age group:: people under age X are less prone to brain cancer, so you automatically see a lot more of it in people with cell phones (above age XX).
    • Maybe it's tied to their economic group-- poor people are less likely to go to a doctor, so they're more likely to have a poor outcome if they do get cancer.
    • Or maybe healthy poeple say they're "too busy" to participate in a study.
    • or maybe cell-phone users are subject to more stress.
    • Or they're more likely to live in cities.
    • or more likely to not get medical checkups.
    • or any number of other diffrences.

    Just because two things happen together doesnt imply A causes B. Maybe B causes A, or B is caused by C whcich by coincidence is tied to A.

  • ...sheep's bladders may be employed to prevent earthquakes!
  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @12:34PM (#15045890) Homepage Journal
    At $0.05:minute, we're spending only $6000 on airtime that we could be spending on chemotherapy!
  • by Frodo Crockett (861942) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @12:49PM (#15045947)
    Researchers at the Swedish National Institute for Working Life said they looked at the mobile phone use of 905 people between the age of 20 and 80 who had been diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor and found a link.

    So instead of taking an honest sample of the population and waiting five, ten, or fifteen years to see who developed brain tumors, they skipped straight to the conclusion they wanted.

    "A total 85 of these 905 cases were so-called high users of mobile phones, that is they began early to use mobile and/or wireless telephones and used them a lot," the study said.

    Oh noes! A whole 9.5% of the respondants think they use their cell phones a lot! Too bad you'd probably see the same numbers if you sampled a population that had been using mobile phones for just as long but didn't have tumors. Of course, I'm sure these fuckers didn't bother with a control group. That shit's for amateurs who don't know what conclusion they want to make.
  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @12:49PM (#15045948) Homepage Journal
    Those aren't "brain tumors" - not the familiar cancerous growths. They're neural phone links our brains are growing to directly interface the phones. Rather than shielding radiation or moving phones away from our heads, we should be investing in more and faster growths. Because this development is the fastest way to move phones inside the head, where annoying ringtones and semversations don't bother bystanders.
  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @01:42PM (#15046141) Homepage Journal
    2000 hours over 10 years is 200h:y, or 33 minutes per day. That's not so heavy use among the people I know.

    But what about Bluetooth? People wear headsets inserted into their skulls, along a canal closer to the brain, against a transparent auditory nerve hole. All day long. It's a different frequency, and different power level than cellphones. There isn't 10 years of data yet. But why should we wait?

    Swedes already know the damage Bluetooth can cause in the name of bringing everyone together. Let's see the official damage tally. [utk.edu]
  • by zerofoo (262795) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @01:56PM (#15046192)
    Long term studies on this topic are pretty useless. In the past 10 years, the cell phone business has changed drastically.

    Remember bag phones and the motorola brick phone? Those suckers had a full 3-watt transmitter. Due to cell tower density, you can be sure those things were broadcasting at a full 3-watts most of the time. They also broadcast around 800-900 MHz.

    Today's phones still broadcast at around 800-900 MHz, as well as the 1800-1900 Mhz frequencies. They also use alot less power, around .6 watts, thanks to cell tower density and digital transmission.

    Even if there is a link between non-ionizing radiation and cancer, is the risk still present with modern cell phones?

    If you can prove this, there is a nobel prize waiting for you.

    -ted

You can measure a programmer's perspective by noting his attitude on the continuing viability of FORTRAN. -- Alan Perlis

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