Cell phones affects fetal neurodevelopment in mice

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  • #1
Pythagorean
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Neurobehavioral disorders are increasingly prevalent in children, however their etiology is not well understood. An association between prenatal cellular telephone use and hyperactivity in children has been postulated, yet the direct effects of radiofrequency radiation exposure on neurodevelopment remain unknown. Here we used a mouse model to demonstrate that in-utero radiofrequency exposure from cellular telephones does affect adult behavior. Mice exposed in-utero were hyperactive and had impaired memory as determined using the object recognition, light/dark box and step-down assays. Whole cell patch clamp recordings of miniature excitatory postsynaptic currents (mEPSCs) revealed that these behavioral changes were due to altered neuronal developmental programming. Exposed mice had dose-responsive impaired glutamatergic synaptic transmission onto layer V pyramidal neurons of the prefrontal cortex. We present the first experimental evidence of neuropathology due to in-utero cellular telephone radiation. Further experiments are needed in humans or non-human primates to determine the risk of exposure during pregnancy.
Tamir S. Aldad, Geliang Gan, Xiao-Bing Gao, Hugh S. Taylor. Fetal Radiofrequency Radiation Exposure From 800-1900 Mhz-Rated Cellular Telephones Affects Neurodevelopment and Behavior in Mice. Scientific Reports, 2012; 2 DOI: 10.1038/srep00312

Thoughts on implications for humans?
 

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  • #3
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Do you have a link to the report?
 
  • #4
russ_watters
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How much wattage did they use and how close was it to the fetuses?
 
  • #5
Ryan_m_b
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How much wattage did they use and how close was it to the fetuses?
1.6W/kg at a distance varying between ~5 and ~25cm for a continuous period of 17 days.

A full free copy of the article is available here:
http://www.nature.com/srep/2012/120315/srep00312/full/srep00312.html

I've only skimmed through (on lunch break atm) but there are a lot of insignificant results, strangely the admit that there is no significant difference between the control and experimental group in their hyperactivity test but later they claim that overall cell phone exposure increased hyperactivity in a statistically significant manner. They do however outline many of the studies limitations at the end which is good to see. I'd be very interested to see this research continued by other groups to see if there is anything in it.
 
  • #6
Pythagorean
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It's a very skinny paper with a lot of insinuation in the introduction about ADHD, but when it gets down to it, the only real obvious trend is that with days of exposure, mEPSC frequency is reduced (figures 2 and 3). So it's like there's some kind of synaptic depression taking place, which does have implications for neurodedevelopment at the cellular level. But to try to tie it to ADHD at the organism level seems like a bit of a reach to me.

Note, they do actually show more hyperactivity in the experimental mice, according to their test which measures "transitions". Not sure if that really relates to hyperactivity or not (I can see, intuitively, how someone might come to that conclusion, but I don't know about the science behind it).
 
  • #7
russ_watters
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Lets suppose for a sec that the statistical association in humans is real. Can anyone think of a non-emr cause that might exist for humans but not lab mice?
 
  • #8
Pythagorean
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What statistical association in humans; was this something mentioned in the paper?
 
  • #9
russ_watters
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It is postulated as a reason for doing the study.
 
  • #10
Pythagorean
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What would be the significance of a non-emr cause for humans and not mice? Wouldn't it be enough to talk about a non-emr cause for both? There's a lot of genetic and chemical contributions to ADHD that could effect both mice and men without referencing emr.

Though, I do remember one particular study claiming that it's difficult to go to sleep after using mobile devices (but I think this also applies to watching TV and using your computer; there was no mechanism proposed, so it could just be a matter of stimulation before bed).
 
  • #11
Ryan_m_b
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Though, I do remember one particular study claiming that it's difficult to go to sleep after using mobile devices (but I think this also applies to watching TV and using your computer; there was no mechanism proposed, so it could just be a matter of stimulation before bed).
IIRC that's more to do with sensory stimulus than anything else.
 
  • #12
Dotini
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"Neurobehavioral disorders are increasingly prevalent in children"

Does everyone agree with this much?

Respectfully submitted,
Steve
 
  • #13
Drakkith
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"Neurobehavioral disorders are increasingly prevalent in children"

Does everyone agree with this much?

Respectfully submitted,
Steve
No. I agree that they are increasingly diagnosed with disorders though. Either through better understanding, or lack thereof.
Edit: However, I have no looked at much evidence on either side. So I could be wrong. And probably am.
 
  • #14
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Lets suppose for a sec that the statistical association in humans is real. Can anyone think of a non-emr cause that might exist for humans but not lab mice?
Yes, Jane M. Healy, PhD, in her book Endangered Minds, Why Children Don't Think and What We Can Do About It, makes a strong case that children's television (including PBS), by employing gimmicks to keep their attention, makes it more difficult for those children to concentrate in school. The gimmicks include bright colors, loud noises and constantly changing scenes. When a child becomes dependent upon those gimmicks to maintain his or her attention, how will he or she be able to concentrate in a school environment which is precisely the opposite?
 
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  • #15
Pythagorean
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IIRC that's more to do with sensory stimulus than anything else.
I think so, but there may be something special about particularly bright sensory stimulus to the eyes. Sunlight is definitely a circadian cue; I don't know what the spectral requirement is, but I know they can use artificial lights in diurnal regulation experiments; there's a whole bunch of cellular trafficking that occurs at the night-time transition including Post-Synaptic Density and fatty aid protein binder (see paper below) which have implications for synaptic plasticity.

The common advice I always hear from public experts is to not have TV in your room, and stay off your smartphones and laptops an hour before bed. They don't ever say anything about listening to the radio or engaging in dialogue (and stuff) with SWMBO being bad for sleep.

Gerstner JR, Bremer QZ, Vander Heyden WM, LaVaute TM, Yin JC, et al. (2008) Brain Fatty Acid Binding Protein (Fabp7) Is Diurnally Regulated in Astrocytes and Hippocampal Granule Cell Precursors in Adult Rodent Brain. PLoS ONE 3(2): e1631. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0001631
http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0001631
 
  • #16
mheslep
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1.6W/kg at a distance varying between ~5 and ~25cm for a continuous period of 17 days.

...
Yes, which doesn't make sense to me. They report 1.6W/kg as the US specific absorption rate (SAR), a measure of tissue radiation exposure, and they state they use this SAR in the trial, not cell phone emission power at distance X which is simple to measure. The absorbed power will be dependent on several factors, especially distance which they vary 4:1. I don't follow how actual absorbed power in tissue is measured aside from some kind of calorimetry on the tissue.
 
  • #17
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you are making an excellent point, mheslep. What is unbelievable is that they did not do ANY SAR measurements. They say that they used a cell phone with the SAR of 1.6. Must have been the Motorola Bravo (1.59), on top of the cage..the mice moved about freely..This does not make any sense at all, except that the referees had no understanding of electrical fields.
 
  • #18
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Hello everyone, I just registered. I have have some experience in the field of biological effects of cell phones. Our group did several experiments both with cells in culture and animal models. We did a two year experiment with rats looking at brain cancer (did not find any). To measure the SAR we did some brutal stuff..used sacrificed animals with thermal probes in the brain and then using specially designed antennas/irradiators we measure the temperature increase in specific areas of the brain. SAR was estimated as follows SAR= Cpmi, where the Cp is the heat capacity of the tissue, and mi is the slope of the temperature/time response during the exposure. Needless to say, this is not the most accurate measurement in the world (like who really knows the heat capacity of the brain tissue) but that is all we have. This is the only measurement for exposure to microwave fields in biological materials. However, it is extremely sensitive to location and distance. All the rats were immobilized during the irradiation (2 x 4hrs/day) and corrections had to be made as the rats grew. Now in the paper we are discussing, the mice were 4-20 cm from the source.. that is an incredible variation in exposure. So from this point of view, I would not have accepted this paper. Studies were blind, not double blind, and the tests for hyperactivity were very subjective and all the graphs have 3 points. Very very bad study. As we always found, most of the work in this field suffers from the fact that it is either biology done with terrible physics ,or physics with terrible biology. We were lucky because we had a good team of both
 
  • #19
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Must have been the Motorola Bravo (1.59), on top of the cage.
I don't suppose the cage was made of metal wires by any chance?
 
  • #20
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This does not make any sense at all, except that the referees had no understanding of electrical fields.
I second this.
 

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