Intended for healthcare professionals


Mobile phone use and risk of glioma in adults: Study has many flaws

BMJ 2006; 332 doi: (Published 27 April 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:1035
  1. L Lloyd Morgan, retired electronic engineer (bilovksy{at}
  1. 2022 Francisco Street, Berkeley, CA 94709, USA

    EDITOR—In years past Hepworth et al's study would never have been published because a low participation rate would have been cause for rejection.1 With 51% of cases and 45% of the controls participating there is little reason to believe any of the reported results. There are additional flaws:

    • Controls were more affluent controls than cases

    • Non-participating controls were more likely than participating controls not to use cellphones2

    • The reference group was never/non-regular cellphone users. Because this reference did not exclude the users of cordless phones, the reference group cannot be described as unexposed

    • Regular cellphone use is defined as cellphone use for at least once a week for six months or more. Regular cellphone use is set to such a minimal standard that few could imagine a finding of risk.

    In spite of these flaws, the study reported a 60% increased risk of glioma for regular cellphone use of ≥ 10 years of ipsilateral use.

    Interphone studies receive cellphone industry funds isolated from a study. This same conflict of interest issue can be seen in the US government's Food and Drug Administration (FDA) where pharmaceutical companies pay fees for drug approval isolated from specific research projects. It is quite apparent that the FDA has come to see the pharmaceutical industry as their customer, not the American public.3, 4, 5

    If this were a study of the risk of lung cancer from smoking would there be a likelihood of finding a risk of lung cancer from smokers who had smoked at least once a week for six months or more? And, would there be a finding of risk if, as is the case in this study for cellphone use, the lifetime years of smoking for 10 years or more included only 3.9% of the smokers in the study?


    • Competing interests None declared.


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