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Cell Phones and The Brain

  1. Jun 6, 2004 #1
    http://www.popsci.com/popsci/medicine/article/0,12543,573349,00.html [Broken].

    I try to avoid using cell phones. I figure I'm exposed to enough radiation daily, and using a cell phone is unnecessary.

    How often do you we hear things we want to hear on cell phones anyways? It's usually news about work you have to finish, someone being late or other things you'd rather not hear.

    Never anything like, "Hey, congratulations, you've won $2000!".
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 20, 2017 at 9:47 PM
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 9, 2004 #2


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    Here's a link to the original article.
    http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/members/2003/6039/6039.html [Broken]

    This would have never gotten past peer-review in a neuroscience journal.
    1) Figure 1 is from two completely different levels of the brain. You can't make any comparison in patterns of staining between the two when they aren't in the same place.
    2) They perfusion fixed, then paraffin-embedded the tissue. No person in their right mind would do this nowadays. Paraffin embedding really screws up morphology and should be avoided...you can get a lot of variation just due to this process.
    3) It's hard to believe the controls could have been done at the same time as the radiation-exposed group...or there was nothing indicated of how they were shielded from exposure if in adjacent cages. The differences in the two examples shown appear to be the sort of differences you get between a good perfusion and a bad perfusion, which could happen systematically across groups unless one clarifies the groups were all perfused the same day and in random order.
    4) The small dark neurons they describe in cresyl violet stained tissue are not neurons at all, they are glial cells and are supposed to be there. They probably didn't sufficiently deparaffinize their tissue prior to staining the controls if they didn't see those cells in that tissue.
    5) They don't show any high power images of the cells to point out what they call "vacuoles" in the cells. I don't see any unusual morphology of any of the cells at all.
    6) They don't include ANY methods on how they performed their immunocytochemistry for albumin other than to name the antibody. Considering they were using 1-2 mm thick sections, I don't know how they got any antibody penetration at all! Antibodies usually don't penetrate tissue more than about 15 to 20 micrometers (1 micrometer = 1/100th of a mm). They also don't cite any staining controls. How do they know their antibody recognized albumin? How do they know it was specific?

    I think I'll just stop there.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 20, 2017 at 9:51 PM
  4. Jun 10, 2004 #3


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    :biggrin: you make a good point Moonbear
    also, if they had the real data they would've published in Nature or Science. I'm still a little surprised though, since it IS a peer-reviewed journal, part of the NIH network?
  5. Jun 10, 2004 #4


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    That's a flaw in the peer-review system. If you send an article to reviewers who are not qualified to assess it, they might be impressed. Certainly, this is the sort of study that if done properly would have been worthy of getting into Science or Nature (actually, Nature Neuroscience would have been more likely). However, the editors of those journals can sometimes overlook a good paper just because the author hasn't written a good enough cover-letter to highlight the impact of such a study. They get a lot of submissions and don't even send most out for review, just reject them without review.

    I'm also suspicious that there's a footnote that one of the figures was replaced after publication, in other words, wasn't even included for the reviewers to evaluate. I've seen authors get rejected repeatedly from multiple journals (because I've gotten their manuscript multiple times from different journals) until they finally submit to some little-known journal and it goes to reviewers unqualified to fully evaluate what they submitted and they finally get published. A flaw in the publish or perish view universities still take. Too often, numbers of publications rather than quality are used to assess faculty promotions. It's something that needs changing. But maybe I look at it that way because I'd rather take an extra year to publish something and verify the findings before I'll submit something, and if a review points out some major flaws in a study that I hadn't caught, I will not try submitting it elsewhere in the hope somebody will let it through...afterall, I'd just be embarrassed to publish something I knew was that badly flawed.
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