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Mobiles on the brain

BMJ 1999; 318 doi: (Published 29 May 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;318:1495
  1. Robin Grant, consultant neurologist
  1. Department of Clinical Neurosciences, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh

    “The Mobile Mystery,” Panorama, BBC1, Monday 24 May, 10 05 pm

    Media attention has once again focused on alleged links between use of mobile phones and an increased risk of brain tumours. Panorama used two case histories to illustrate the possible damaging effects of these proliferating “essentials.” One patient developed “band-like” headache, mood swings, and memory problems, and the other patient developed a brain tumour.

    Also, two as yet unpublished studies from Sweden and the United States were reported to support the alleged link between mobile phone use and brain tumours. Details were sketchy about both studies. In the first, Dr Lennart Hardell from the Orebro Medical Centre in Sweden reported a retrospective analysis of 200 patients who had developed brain tumours. The patients were asked about their use of mobile phones. Panorama suggested that Dr Hardell had found almost 2.5 times the expected rate of brain tumours in phone users. In fact, he stated that there was no significant increase in tumours overall but that there seemed to have been a 2.5-fold increase in numbers of brain tumours in certain areas of the brain. These areas were related to the side of the head where the antenna of the mobile phone was located during …

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