This Brain Health Risk of Cell Phones May Have Been Proven in a New Study

Data shows that improved communication could be detrimental to your health.

Cell phones have become a daily necessity for most of us, from a luxury item to something we can't live without. Whether you use your phone to stay in touch with loved ones, to stay connected on social media, or for your job, these devices have become an integral part of life. That's why you may be reluctant to learn about a recent study that just linked cell phones to a scary and all-too-common cognitive disorder. Read on to find out how your iPhone or Android could be putting your brain health at risk.

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This isn't the first time the danger of cell phones has been questioned.

Man talking on cell phone

Considering the rapid changes in communication over the past several decades—particularly through the introduction of wireless cell phones—ample research has been aimed at understanding whether these devices could be harmful to our health, particularly when it comes to brain cancer. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), both cell phones and cordless phones emit radiofrequency radiation (RF), but experts are unsure whether this will cause health problems years down the line. For the time being, RG has been classified as a "possible human carcinogen" by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

Now, a study has investigated cell phone use and another prevalent brain condition, suggesting these devices could potentially do more harm than good.

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A new study linked cell phones to a neurodegenerative disease.

A senior man holding his ear suffering from hearing impairment or loss

Those of us who are tied to our phones may not be happy to learn about this new data, which suggests that cell phone use could be tied to the development of Alzheimer's disease, the most common form of dementia. As reported by NeoScope, the February study was published in Current Alzheimer Risk, asserting that wireless communication, in general, might be a point of concern.

This is tied back to calcium buildup in the brain.

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Scientists and researchers have long suspected that calcium buildup can lead to changes in the brain, according to a press release outlining the study. And when it comes to Alzheimer's disease, researchers are concerned that "excessive intracellular calcium" is a root cause of the condition.

The recent study suggests that pulsed electronically generated electromagnetic fields (EMFs), which are used for wireless communication, could be leading to this calcium buildup. EMFs emit electric and magnetic forces that activate something called voltage-gated calcium channels (VGCCs) in our bodies, negatively affecting the brain by causing this quick buildup.

According to the study's author, Martin L. Pall, PhD, Professor Emeritus of biochemistry and basic medical science at Washington State University, these changes to intracellular calcium levels by EMFs have been observed in animal models.

"EMFs act via peak electric and time-varying magnetic forces at a nanosecond time scale," Pall said in the press release. "Such peaks are vastly increased with each increase in pulse modulation produced by smarter cell phones, smart meters, smart cities, and radar in self-driving vehicles. Any of these may produce the ultimate nightmare—extremely early-onset Alzheimer's disease."

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Pall pointed to other studies he says support his findings.

The girl uses a new cell phone with a triple camera.

According to the press release outlining Pall's research, previous studies have linked increased VGCC activity with increased incidents of Alzheimer's disease, and 12 additional studies have shown those with occupational EMF exposures also have a higher incidence of Alzheimer's. While the condition normally has a latency period—the time between developing the disease and showing symptoms—of 25 years, EMFs have been found to shorten this.

Pall also noted that over the past 20 years, the age of onset for Alzheimer's has decreased, which he believe coincides with increases in wireless communication EMF exposures. He expressed particular concern about "digital dementia," which he says could affect young people exposed to cell phone or Wi-Fi radiation for extended periods each day. To support this, Pall pointed to studies from 2008, 2013, and 2016 that found "massive neurodegeneration" when exposing young rats to EMF pulses.

Additional research is needed to confirm this health risk of cell phones.

man on cell phone with telecommunication tower in the background
foto500 / Shutterstock

Before you swear off your smartphone forever, be aware that more research is required to fully understand how wireless communication affects our brains. Neither the CDC nor the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) currently recommends discontinuing cell phone use.

Pall has called for additional research, specifically investigating MRIs of young people who exhibit signs of digital dementia, assessments of EMF exposure for people with early-onset Alzheimer's (between the ages of 30 and 40), and investigation into signs of Alzheimer's for those who have lived near small cell antennae for over a year.

"Findings from each of these studies should be shared with the general public so that everyone can take the steps necessary to reduce the incidence of early-onset Alzheimer's disease," Pall said in the press release.

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Abby Reinhard
Abby Reinhard is an Associate Editor at Best Life, covering daily news and keeping readers up to date on national parks, scientific studies, and the best pet advice. Read more
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