Intended for healthcare professionals


Brains and mobile phones

BMJ 2006; 332 doi: (Published 13 April 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:864
  1. Michael Maier, senior clinical lecturer (
  1. Division of Neuroscience and Mental Health, Charing Cross Campus, Imperial College, London W6 8RP

    The biggest risk to health from mobile phones is using them while driving

    There are more than 50 million mobile phones in the United Kingdom, and more than 1 billion worldwide. Mobile phones allow people to communicate with flexibility and ease. In addition, having a personal and mobile means of communication has helped to save lives through quicker notification of accidents, trauma, and other dangers.1 But concerns about the safety of mobile phones have been raised.

    In 2000 the UK Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones (IEGMP) published the Stewart report.2 The report recommended a programme of research and a precautionary approach to the use of mobile phones, especially use by children. As a result of the recommendations a research programme was launched in 2001 with a budget of £7.36m (€10.5m; $13m), jointly funded by government and industry. Two papers in this week's BMJ come out of this initiative.3 4

    Hepworth and colleagues (p 883) conducted a population based case-control study of …

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