The latest stone thrown at the 200-billion-dollar-a-year cell phone industry came from a study by neurosurgeon Vini G. Khurana entitled Mobile Phone-Brain Tumour: Public Health Advisory. His meta-analysis of existing cell phone studies may not contain a lot of new information; but his rather alarming message was carried by media around the world: “there is a growing body of statistically significant evidence for a relationship between the overall length of use of a mobile phone and the delayed occurrence of a brain tumor on the same side of the head as the ‘preferred side’ for mobile phone usage.” He claimed a 2-4 fold increased risk following 10 years of regular use.
The cell phone industry mobilized its behemoth defense machine calling the study a select view of existing literature. This meant that his conclusions were not in line with all the studies the industry has been funding around the world called INTERPHONE. Indeed, a casual look through Pub Med and you will see study after study refuting a link between cell phone use and brain tumors. The cell phone industry has excelled at using “scientists for hire” to quell public concern. They have taken a page from Big Pharma’s playbook and have learned well from the troubles of previous health catastrophes like international PCB exposure at the hands of Monsanto, Bayer, GE, and Westinghouse.
David vs. Goliath
It is always interesting to watch a handful of people take on an empire. The empire has enough money to buy votes in the governments of countries around the world, fund studies that reach conclusions it likes, suppress the publishing of information it doesn’t like (professional blackmail), parade a legion of “experts” before any court when a legal challenge is mounted, and create enough mystery about any potential problem in the minds of consumers that the net result is that nothing much is ever done.
Such strategies also hijack the public health system and use it as a shield. In essence, governments are on the take from industry and the economics of the questionable industry are woven into multiple other economic benefits. In the U.S. other examples of this involve placing fluoride in water, using nerve gas chemicals as pesticides, and poisoning the water supple with perchlorate (playing the national security card to prevent clean up). I bring up these examples because all three are proven to be neurotoxic, all significantly adversely affect the health of Americans today, and all are condoned and allowed by our government. There are always a few Davids throwing stones at these Goliaths, without much luck.
Dr. Khurana is not alone in his view. Last summer a relatively small group of concerned scientists calling themselves the Bioinitiative Working Group published a 600 page document after reviewing over 2000 existing studies and came to similar conclusions about the potential risks of cell phones. Even Swedish scientists, in a country with widespread deployment of advanced cell phone technology, have a handful of scientists that have been warning about brain tumors since 2000, with their most recent study published in 2006.
The small voices raising concern are offset by a massively funded machine. Dr. Khurana’s public relations work has the cell phone industry on the defensive, proving once again that the court of public opinion trumps all aces.
Why Warnings Are Falling on Deaf Ears
Brain tumors don’t develop overnight, excess exposure to radio frequency radiation may take 10 – 20 years before the full scope of the problem is known. The cell phone industry is just now entering the front end of that time period. If there is a problem, by the time governments take effective action to ensure cell phones are safer the damage to an entire generation will already be done.
The potential problem to our children and current young adults is staggering, since they have grown up attached to cell phones. Any damage cell phones cause will be worse in children, as their brains are still developing.
Nobody questions the fact that cell phone radiation is entering the brain of the user. The debate is on how problematic the radiation is.
There are two factors that are actually quite alarming about this whole issue.
1) If cell phones can cause brain tumors they would have to, on a lesser scale of damage, cause numerous other disruptions in brain function ranging from cognitive dysfunction to behavioral issues like ADHD, to potentially violent behavior.
2) Our government is doing nothing to proactively evaluate and ensure the safety of our citizens, not evening proving or forcing the industry to prove at what level of cell phone exposure are there no changes in brain cells that correlate to risk.
The cell phone industry will have to have people lining up for brain cancer treatment before they even admit there is a potential problem. By that time they hope to have stalled long enough to have safer phones. And then they will use lawyers to create doubt that any such tumors were caused by cell phones in the first place – blaming multiple other stressors in modern society as the likely problem. This strategy will minimize liability, spread it out over many years, and most likely make it disappear. The only thing that prevents the cell phone industry from escaping unscathed is if enough consumers demand safer phones now.
Smoking Guns Exist
As a health professional, I look at fundamental science as the main predictor of whether a problem will exist or not as the result of the use of anything. I predicted estrogen replacement therapy (horse urine extract) was not safe for 15 years before the medical community finally counted all the deaths. Just as I currently predict that the use of statin drugs to lower cholesterol and bisphosphonate drugs for bones are major health scams not only wasting billions but seriously compromising the health of those taking these pills as currently prescribed.
It is not hard to make such predictions correctly when fundamental science allows for no other possible outcome. Vested interests never want to hear about the obvious. They simply want to continue to make money, regardless of the damage, until they are stopped. And when they own the decision makers within governments, it takes a long time to stop them.
I will now go on record with the prediction that the dangers of cell phones are real and should not be ignored. After an extensive review of the cell phone literature I came upon the smoking gun; an article published January 22, 2007 in Neuroscience Letters entitled “Exposure to cell phone radiation up-regulates apoptosis genes in primary cultures of neurons and astrocytes.”
While brain tumors are not always produced in animal models of cell phone radiation exposure, there is little question that free radical damage in the brain is occurring along with alterations in DNA. The researchers sought to identify precise gene-related pathways that would explain why such damage occurs – and their findings are a dagger in the argument that cell phone radiation is harmless.
In their experiments they exposed cultures of neurons (nerve transmitting brain cells) and glial cells (astrocytes that are the main brain structure cells and regulators of overall brain function) to cell phone radiation. Using advanced gene arrays they measured the results.
They documented distinct disruption in how mitochondria (energy producing systems) with brain cells function. Essentially, genes that turn on cell suicide were upregulated – meaning that brain cells will now try to kill themselves. Cells only want to commit suicide when they think the stress they are being exposed to is too great to handle, usually as a result of DNA damage that is not repairable. If suicide fails, then mutations in the defunct cell can lead to cancer.
Additionally, there was an upregulation of NF-kappaB pathways – the key inflammatory gene switch that not only causes massive free radical damage, but when chronically upregulated locks into the “on position” and readily fuels cancer growth. If you would like to understand more about how Nf-kappaB causes problems then read my article on How to Prevent Vaccine Injury.
This study offers clear gene pathways by which brain cells are inflamed, killed, and/or turned to cancer.
The authors, who were obviously “placed in handcuffs” just to get their study published, concluded “Cell phone emissions thus have the potential to cause dysfunction or death through activation of specific intracellular cell death signaling pathways.” Dysfunction at least means chronic inflammation with free radical damage. And it also means that such dysfunction follows commonly understood gene activation problems associated with cancer.
Cell phone companies can say anything they want, but they cannot refute that cell phone radiation enters the brain of the user at levels consistent with the above study, and that the above study shows precise gene-alterations that cause brain cell death as well as activation of known genetic pathways involved in cancer.
Cell phones carry risk for micro brain injury with each use, a problem that is magnified by heavy use over a number of years. Damage to children will be higher than damage to adults, though damage at any age is a problem. This means cell phones are a risk for cognitive dysfunction, learning issues, and behavior problems in anyone. After exposure of 10 years or more there is enough fundamental science already known to be very concerned about an increased risk for brain tumors. Immediate steps should be taken by all cell phone users, especially children, to reduce cell phone exposure and to protect their brains from damage.