25 March 2011
Posted in Science Park
Did you know that talking on a cell phone for a prolonged period might actually increase brain activity? Cell phones emit energy in the form of electromagnetic radiation and scientists are on a mission to figure out what effects this can have on the brain.
According to Science News, a recent experiment took place where 47 participants had two cell phones strapped against each ear. The phone on the left ear was turned off and the phone on the right ear played a 50-minute message, but was set to silent. Their goal was to study brain activity from the phone itself, not brain activity from listening and engaging in conversation. Scientist used a PET (positron emission tomography) Scan to study the brain activity. The test allows us to see what is going on inside of the body using injections of radioactive material to measure chemical reactions in the brain and creating three-dimensional pictures.
The results of the PET scan showed that the left side of the brain had no changes from the experiment. Conversely, the right side of the brain was using large amounts of glucose, almost as much as a person talking. Glucose is a sugar that provides fuel to the brain. These results allow scientists to conclude that brain cells are active even when the participants hearing nothing. The activity was most likely set-off by the radiation from the cell phone.
The experiment arose from the question “Are there any health risks involve with cell phone usage?” There is still considerable debate, but scientists who believe there are give a few suggestions to be on the safe side:
- Do not talk for long periods of time with a cell phone pressed against your head.
- Keep your conversations short and sweet or use speakerphone.