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Mobile phone radiation wrecks your sleep

by SF
Tags: mobile, phone, radiation, sleep, wrecks
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SF
#1
Jan21-08, 05:22 AM
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Radiation from mobile phones delays and reduces sleep, and causes headaches and confusion, according to a new study.

http://news.independent.co.uk/sci_te...cle3353768.ece

Can this be trusted?
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Evo
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Jan21-08, 11:16 AM
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The first problem is that they didn't actually use cell phones in the test. More tests actually using the devices and with more controls and with more subjects are needed since as the article stated, other tests have contradicted their results.

The scientists studied 35 men and 36 women aged between 18 and 45 <snip>About half of the people studied believed themselves to be "electrosensitive", reporting symptoms such as headaches and impaired cognitive function from mobile phone use.
Wouldn't you say that this would really skew the results as half of the participants know that they are being tested so will display hightened anxiety that would cause sleep problems?

The article doesn't say what percentage of the people with "sleep problems" were in the group that thinks they have problems. Also, what testing was done on these people prior to this "test" to determine what their normal sleep patterns are? They seem to be leaping to a conclusion without eliminating other factors.

I did find that
the researchers said 38 of the 71 participants showed symptoms of mobile phone radiation.
Well, that's just about half.

http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599...-29277,00.html
Moonbear
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Jan21-08, 07:49 PM
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Quote Quote by Evo View Post
The first problem is that they didn't actually use cell phones in the test.
That would have likely confounded the results...you wouldn't then know if it was the radiation or the activity of talking on the phone.
More tests actually using the devices and with more controls and with more subjects are needed since as the article stated, other tests have contradicted their results.
From the description in the news story, it sounded properly controlled. I don't see anything in the article contradicting the results. This study specifically tested sleep patterns, while the so-called "contradictory" results the mobile companies are referring to only addressed whether the participants could tell when the signal was turned on.

Wouldn't you say that this would really skew the results as half of the participants know that they are being tested so will display hightened anxiety that would cause sleep problems?
That's not what it said. In the study, the so-called "electrosensitive" participants couldn't tell if or when they were exposed, so that means they 1) weren't really that sensitive, and 2) were just as blinded to treatment as all the other participants. As long as these participants claiming to be "electrosensitive" were balanced across treatment and control, this isn't really an issue anyway. It does refute that they are getting headaches, and other reported symptoms from the phones OTHER than the sleep disturbance.

The article doesn't say what percentage of the people with "sleep problems" were in the group that thinks they have problems. Also, what testing was done on these people prior to this "test" to determine what their normal sleep patterns are? They seem to be leaping to a conclusion without eliminating other factors.
There's no reason from this article to think they didn't already consider that. Someone doing a sleep study would know to screen for known sleep disorders; these studies were done at institutions that have strong scientific reputations.

I did find that Well, that's just about half.

http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599...-29277,00.html
If half the treatment group responded differently from the sham group, that's a pretty big effect. It does suggest that not everyone is equally susceptible, but something to consider. I'd be more curious about the differences in the sensory systems of the responders and non-responders in this case. Why are half the people responding to these frequencies, thus actually able to detect them, while the other half aren't. Are there any other characteristics that can be sorted among these responders and non-responders?

It's interesting. When I started reading the article, I was thinking that just talking on the phone, any phone, prior to bed would be sufficient stimulation to keep one awake a bit longer, but they are just testing the radiofrequency exposure rather than actually talking, so that rules out that possibility.

On the other hand, is it a sufficient enough effect for people to want to change their behavior even if replicated? Perhaps it's really only something for someone with sleep difficulties to consider, but then, how long before bedtime should one stop talking on the phone? This only tested the effect of exposure right at the time when one would be going to sleep. Would an exposure an hour, two hours, four hours before bed have the same effect, or would you be able to tell someone with a sleep disorder to limit cell phone usage to more than say 2 hours before bedtime?

TVP45
#4
Jan23-08, 10:34 AM
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Mobile phone radiation wrecks your sleep

Quote Quote by SF View Post
Radiation from mobile phones delays and reduces sleep, and causes headaches and confusion, according to a new study.

http://news.independent.co.uk/sci_te...cle3353768.ece

Can this be trusted?
There are a couple of questions you should always ask about these reports:

(1) Who funded the research? Why?
(2) What are the credentials of the researchers and what else have they produced? What is the citation record of the researchers?
(3) How were the subjects selected? Was the sample size adequate? Was it representative?
(4) Were there adequate controls? Was this double-blind?
(5) Who published the report? Do they have an agenda? Is the writer objective?

There are further questions to be asked when the experiment is repeated by others.
Evo
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Jan25-08, 03:39 PM
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Quote Quote by Moonbear View Post
That would have likely confounded the results...you wouldn't then know if it was the radiation or the activity of talking on the phone.
My point is that not all cell phones emit the same radiation or use the same frequencies. Non-cellular cordless phone go from 900MHz to 5.8 GHz, which are WAY HIGHER.

That's not what it said. In the study, the so-called "electrosensitive" participants couldn't tell if or when they were exposed, so that means they 1) weren't really that sensitive, and 2) were just as blinded to treatment as all the other participants. As long as these participants claiming to be "electrosensitive" were balanced across treatment and control, this isn't really an issue anyway. It does refute that they are getting headaches, and other reported symptoms from the phones OTHER than the sleep disturbance.
I didn't see anything that said what percentage of the people that thought they were sensitive had sleep delays and what percent didn't. Just because they said they couldn't tell if they were receiving signals, doesn't mean they didn't exhibit symptoms. The article is really lacking any statistics.

If half the treatment group responded differently from the sham group, that's a pretty big effect.
But the article doesn't say.
bassplayer142
#6
Jan26-08, 12:10 AM
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Aren't we bombarded by radiation from radio towers of near the same power. This so called test facility would have to have insulated walls to where cell phones didn't recieve any signal and get service. You need to block out everything. Secondly there could be some kind of placebo effect going on if the people in the test knew the phone was there and they believed it.
SF
#7
Jan26-08, 03:28 AM
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Also, it has been shown that there's NO such thing as "electrosensitivity": http://www.engadgetmobile.com/2007/0...-phone-towers/

...so the people who describe themselves as "electrosensitive" are just acting psychotic.

The presence of these self described "electrosensitives" makes the study analogous to a study trying to determine the existence of ghosts when half of their subjects are "ghost hunters", or trying to determine the existence of psychic powers when half of their subjects are "uri geller".
russ_watters
#8
Jan26-08, 09:37 AM
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The link in the OP is dead now, but a properly designed study should even be able to defeat such people. There is a famous "touch therapy" study done by a teenage girl as a school science project (and published in the NEJM with the help of her mother) that showed no effect, though everyone involved in the study was "psychic".
Moonbear
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Jan27-08, 11:41 AM
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Quote Quote by Evo View Post
My point is that not all cell phones emit the same radiation or use the same frequencies. Non-cellular cordless phone go from 900MHz to 5.8 GHz, which are WAY HIGHER.
So what? They weren't measuring the effects of non-cellular cordless phones, just cellular phones. Higher frequency doesn't necessarily mean anything if the responses are only occurring within a narrow range (see the studies cited below).

Quote Quote by Evo
I didn't see anything that said what percentage of the people that thought they were sensitive had sleep delays and what percent didn't. Just because they said they couldn't tell if they were receiving signals, doesn't mean they didn't exhibit symptoms. The article is really lacking any statistics.
Because it wasn't an actual research article that was posted, it was a news story about an article. Have you ever seen a news story report statistics?

This is from the Karolinska group reported in the news stories.
Hillert L, Akerstedt T, Lowden A, Wiholm C, Kuster N, Ebert S, Boutry C, Moffat SD, Berg M, Arnetz BB. The effects of 884 MHz GSM wireless communication signals on headache and other symptoms: An experimental provocation study.
Bioelectromagnetics. 2007 Nov 28 [Epub ahead of print]

Findings from prior studies of possible health and physiological effects from mobile phone use have been inconsistent. Exposure periods in provocation studies have been rather short and personal characteristics of the participants poorly defined. We studied the effect of radiofrequency field (RF) on self-reported symptoms and detection of fields after a prolonged exposure time and with a well defined study group including subjects reporting symptoms attributed to mobile phone use. The design was a double blind, cross-over provocation study testing a 3-h long GSM handset exposure versus sham. The study group was 71 subjects age 18-45, including 38 subjects reporting headache or vertigo in relation to mobile phone use (symptom group) and 33 non-symptomatic subjects. Symptoms were scored on a 7-point Likert scale before, after 1(1/2) and 2(3/4) h of exposure. Subjects reported their belief of actual exposure status. The results showed that headache was more commonly reported after RF exposure than sham, mainly due to an increase in the non-symptom group. Neither group could detect RF exposure better than by chance. A belief that the RF exposure had been active was associated with skin symptoms. The higher prevalence of headache in the non-symptom group towards the end of RF exposure justifies further investigation of possible physiological correlates. The current study indicates a need to better characterize study participants in mobile phone exposure studies and differences between symptom and non-symptom groups. Bioelectromagnetics, 2007. (c) 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1...ubmed_RVDocSum

Based on that article, it was actually the group that didn't think they were sensitive to RF exposure who exhibited more symptoms. They just didn't know it was related to the exposure.

In this next study, they narrow down the frequency ranges that are affecting sleep to specifically the frequencies used for the "talk" mode.

Hung CS, Anderson C, Horne JA, McEvoy P. Mobile phone 'talk-mode' signal delays EEG-determined sleep onset. Neurosci Lett. 2007 Jun 21;421(1):82-6.

Mobile phones signals are pulse-modulated microwaves, and EEG studies suggest that the extremely low-frequency (ELF) pulse modulation has sleep effects. However, 'talk', 'listen' and 'standby' modes differ in the ELF (2, 8, and 217Hz) spectral components and specific absorption rates, but no sleep study has differentiated these modes. We used a GSM900 mobile phone controlled by a base-station simulator and a test SIM card to simulate these three specific modes, transmitted at 12.5% (23dBm) of maximum power. At weekly intervals, 10 healthy young adults, sleep restricted to 6h, were randomly and single-blind exposed to one of: talk, listen, standby and sham (nil signal) modes, for 30 min, at 13:30 h, whilst lying in a sound-proof, lit bedroom, with a thermally insulated silent phone beside the right ear. Bipolar EEGs were recorded continuously, and subjective ratings of sleepiness obtained every 3 min (before, during and after exposure). After exposure the phone and base-station were switched off, the bedroom darkened, and a 90 min sleep opportunity followed. We report on sleep onset using: (i) visually scored latency to onset of stage 2 sleep, (ii) EEG power spectral analysis. There was no condition effect for subjective sleepiness. Post-exposure, sleep latency after talk mode was markedly and significantly delayed beyond listen and sham modes. This condition effect over time was also quite evident in 1-4Hz EEG frontal power, which is a frequency range particularly sensitive to sleep onset. It is possible that 2, 8, 217Hz modulation may differentially affect sleep onset.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1...ubmed_RVDocSum

Wood AW, Loughran SP, Stough C. Does evening exposure to mobile phone radiation affect subsequent melatonin production? Int J Radiat Biol. 2006 Feb;82(2):69-76.

PURPOSE: To test whether exposure to the emissions from a digital mobile phone handset prior to sleep alters the secretion of melatonin. MATERIALS AND METHODS: In a double-blind cross-over design, 55 adult volunteers were both actively exposed or sham-exposed (in random order on successive Sunday nights) to mobile phone emissions for 30 min (0.25 W average power). Urine collection occurred immediately prior to retiring to bed and on rising the next morning. Melatonin output was estimated from principal metabolite concentrations (6-sulphatoxymelatonin (aMT6s) via radioimmunoassay), urine volumes and creatinine concentrations. RESULTS: Total melatonin metabolite output (concentration x urine volume) was unchanged between the two exposure conditions (active 14.1+/-1.1 microg; sham 14.6+/-1.3 microg). The pre- and post-bedtime outputs considered separately were also not significantly different, although the pre-bedtime value was less for active versus sham exposure. When melatonin metabolite output was estimated from the ratio of aMT6s to creatinine concentrations, the pre-bedtime value was significantly less (p = 0.037) for active compared to sham. Examination of individual responses is suggestive of a small group of 'responders'. CONCLUSIONS: Total nighttime melatonin output is unchanged by mobile phone handset emissions, but there could be an effect on melatonin onset time.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1...ubmed_RVDocSum

The sum total of the studies available indicates that there is a frequency range used by mobile phones that can affect the initiation of sleep, specifically, the frequency used by cell phones in the "talk" mode, and there may be a subset of people more sensitive to this than others. The duration of exposure may also be important. It doesn't look like there's much evidence that it disrupts the rest of your sleep once you get to sleep. These are controlled studies, where participants get both sham and cell phone radiation frequency exposures and are unaware of which treatment they get during each exposure, and are done by reputable groups.

What's interesting is the cell phone manufacturers are funding these studies, and they are reporting on potentially deleterious effects of cell phone use. If they were being influenced by the funding sources, you'd think they'd be downplaying the deleterious effects. As the one study indicates, the sleep disturbances are limited to only a particular frequency range, so it's possible that cell phone manufacturers can modify the design to use a different frequency range that won't have these effects.
DaleSpam
#10
Jan27-08, 01:39 PM
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My cell phone definitely interferes with my sleep. When it is low on battery it beeps and I have to get out of bed to turn it off.

That said, unless you are talking on the phone in your sleep, most cell phones will transmit very little radiation while you sleep. They are designed that way, obviously, to improve battery life. Everyone knows that the battery will last a lot longer if you are not using the phone than if you are using it.

Even that small amount of radiation will be even further reduced if you simply don't place the phone under your pillow. I suspect that the number of people who sleep with their cell phone on or next to their head is quite small. Particularly among self-described "electrosensitives".
Evo
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Jan27-08, 04:30 PM
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Quote Quote by Moonbear View Post
Because it wasn't an actual research article that was posted, it was a news story about an article. Have you ever seen a news story report statistics?
That's what I kept saying
Quote Quote by Evo
The article is really lacking any statistics.
This is from the Karolinska group reported in the news stories.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1...ubmed_RVDocSum

Based on that article, it was actually the group that didn't think they were sensitive to RF exposure who exhibited more symptoms. They just didn't know it was related to the exposure.
Well it appears that some in the real group reported headaches, The results showed that headache was more commonly reported after RF exposure than sham, mainly due to an increase in the non-symptom group.
A belief that the RF exposure had been active was associated with skin symptoms.
Psychosomatic. I wonder how many of the non-symptom group also had reactions to the sham.

Quote Quote by Moonbear
In this next study, they narrow down the frequency ranges that are affecting sleep to specifically the frequencies used for the "talk" mode.
That's another issue, all phones used were GSM phones, only AT&T, & T Mobile use GSM in the US. Verizon uses CDMA and Sprint uses CDMA & IDEN. They also have different radio frequencies. Sprint uses CDMA in the 1200MHz range. Is it only the lower GSM signals that cause a reaction?
Moonbear
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Jan27-08, 05:46 PM
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Quote Quote by Evo View Post
That's another issue, all phones used were GSM phones, only AT&T, & T Mobile use GSM in the US. Verizon uses CDMA and Sprint uses CDMA & IDEN. They also have different radio frequencies. Sprint uses CDMA in the 1200MHz range. Is it only the lower GSM signals that cause a reaction?
It may be the case. I don't know if they've looked at all the different ranges, but it sounded to me like there was a reason to consider those lower frequency ranges as the primary culprit. Maybe that's why there are some people who think they are electrosensitive and others who don't...it could be that some are on the networks that use frequencies that cause these problems.

Quote Quote by DaleSpam
That said, unless you are talking on the phone in your sleep, most cell phones will transmit very little radiation while you sleep. They are designed that way, obviously, to improve battery life. Everyone knows that the battery will last a lot longer if you are not using the phone than if you are using it.

Even that small amount of radiation will be even further reduced if you simply don't place the phone under your pillow. I suspect that the number of people who sleep with their cell phone on or next to their head is quite small. Particularly among self-described "electrosensitives".
The reports aren't discussing having cell phones on while sleeping, but using the cell phone in the "talk" mode within an hour or so before going to sleep, and the effect that has on how long it takes for you to fall asleep.

It's not "tragic" results here. None of these studies are saying you shouldn't use a cell phone or you're going to have insomnia if you do. The take-home message I'm getting out of this is that if you're someone who is having difficulty falling asleep at night, and you talk on the phone near your bedtime, it's worth adjusting your schedule to not talk on the cellphone so close to your bedtime. Either use a landline for those calls, or don't take those calls. It's like saying don't spend a lot of time staring into a bright computer monitor or drinking a cup of coffee just before bed.


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