Intended for healthcare professionals


Brains and mobile phones

BMJ 2006; 332 doi: (Published 13 April 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:864

Where were the media?

The media, of course, took little notice of a paper that failed to
find evidence of a health risk of mobile phones. The Daily Mail is
especially fond of health scare stories, but searching their website on
"mobile phones" and "cancer" turned up no new stories, just the old ones,
mostly suggesting the phones are a risk to health. I note that e-letters
to Hepworth and co-workers' study point out that the mobile phone industry
helped fund the study. What does anyone expect? To me, it was implausible
that mobile phones could cause brain tumours, as it was that power lines
could cause cancer. For anyone other than the phone companies to fund such
studies would seem to me a waste of money. We spend inordinate amounts on
research into risks of little account, while ignoring things that
undoubtedly harm our health. This makes it not just a shame, but a
dereliction of duty, that the media ignore evidence when it fails to make
a good first page splash.

Yesterday, I passed a van driver who was holding a cigarette in one
hand while he spoke into a mobile phone in the other. The risks of the
real world make it irrelevant that mobile phones do not cause gliomas.

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

20 April 2006
Neville W Goodman
Consultant Anaesthetist
Southmead Hospital, Bristol, BS10 5NB