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Last Updated: Monday, 11 April, 2005, 23:55 GMT 00:55 UK
Mobile phones 'safe for brains'
Girl using a mobile phone
Children in particular should limit their mobile use
Using a mobile phone does not increase the risk of developing a brain tumour, the latest research suggests.

The Danish study, which appears in the journal Neurology, involved more than 1,000 people.

But the authors say long-term data is still needed because the technology has not been around long enough to know for sure if mobiles cause any ill health.

They recommended people use hands-free kits to cut the amount of radiation entering the brain.

We advise all people who use a mobile phone to use a hands free set. It reduces exposure
Study author Dr Christoffer Johansen

UK experts have recommended children should also limit the amount of time they spend using mobiles as a precautionary measure.

The UK government commissioned an independent group, led by Sir William Stewart, to look into the safety of mobile phones in the late 1990s.

Its latest review of the evidence also suggests mobile phones do not harm health.

The debate over the safety of mobile phones continues because it is still not absolutely resolved whether or not the electromagnetic radiation emitted from mobile phone handsets is harmful to humans.

There have been claims that it could affect the body's cells, brain or immune system and increase the risk of developing a range of diseases including cancer.

Limit use

A Swedish study published in 2002 claimed to have found a link between analogue mobile phones and brain tumours, but experts have questioned the validity of the findings because of the way the research was carried out.

The latest study by Dr Christoffer Johansen and colleagues of the Danish Cancer Registry is part of a pan-European study, the Interphone study, that is being conducted to gather more evidence on mobile phone safety.

The researchers questioned 427 with brain tumours and 822 people without brain tumours about how often they had been using mobile phones.

They also looked at the phone bills of some of the participants to check that what they were reporting was correct.

The people with the brain tumours had not been using their mobile phones for longer time durations or more frequently than the people without brain tumours.

But Dr Johansen said: "We won't be able to make any firm conclusions until we can confirm these results with studies with more long-term and heavy cell phone users.

"In our study, few people reported regular cell phone use for 10 years or more. So we still do not know the full story.

"We advise all people who use a mobile phone to use a hands free set. It reduces exposure."

Dr Michael Clark of the Health Protection Agency said: "This is a significant result showing no increase in cancer risk in Denmark.

"The Interphone study involves similar investigations in 13 countries, which are all eventually going to be analysed together. This will tell us more about whether the use of mobile telephone handsets is associated with a cancer risk or not."

Mike Dolan, executive director of the Mobile Operators Association said individual studies should be seen in the light of the total research effort.

He said a further 12 studies were expected to report over the next year to 18 months.

The World Health Organization agency International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) will then do a combined analysis, he said.

Q&A: Mobile phone safety
11 Jan 05 |  Health

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