Mobile phone radiation could be detected by the human brain.
Re: Use of mobile phones and risk of brain tumours: update of Danish
cohort study. Frei, et al. 343:doi:10.1136/bmj.d6387
In their introduction, Frei et al.  state: "So far, the mechanism
of potential non-thermal interaction between radio frequency
electromagnetic fields (EMFs) and living systems is unknown." This
statement does not concur with scientific knowledge.
Mobile phones typically have three types of EMF emissions associated
with them: in the GSM system a 900 MHz radio frequency, a 217 Hz pulsing
signal and an extremely low frequency magnetic field (ELF MF) associated
with the battery . The ELF component has so far been ignored in all
epidemiological studies of mobile phone exposure and cancer. During phone
use, this ELF component exposures the whole brain to MFs ranging from a
few to tens of micro-tesla, above the intensity of power frequency ELF-MFs
that have been repeatedly associated with increased risk of brain tumours
in adults [3,4].
Animals across a wide range of species detect small changes in the
Earth's magnetic field, which is exploited for navigation. Homing pigeons
and newts are estimated to have a limiting magnetic detection sensitivity
of 0.01 micro-tesla and magnetic compass sensitivity below 0.2 degrees
. Two types of magneto-receptor are widely discussed [6, 7], one based
on structures of magnetite particles, the other on a chemical compass
exploiting the radical pair mechanism, RPM in which low intensity MFs
alter the quantum spin state of the unpaired electrons in a free radical
pair. Both mechanisms are relevant to the interaction of mobile phone EMFs
Thus, the human brain contains magnetite particles , some up to
600 nm in size, capable at body temperature of transducing both low
intensity ELF MFs and microwave EMFs [9, 10].
The RPM forms part of basic spin chemistry  in which low
intensity MFs can increase the lifetime of free radical pairs by singlet-
to-triplet, S-T, interconversion of their quantum spin states. The
increased lifetime of free radicals allows increased availability to cause
biological damage, for example to DNA. The energy levels involved are some
ten million times below thermal energy, the action being of the nature of
a quantum mechanical switch.
There is compelling evidence that the avian magnetic compass utilises
the RPM acting in the eye on cryptochromes protein molecules , best
known for their function in controlling circadian rhythms. The magnetic
compass can be disrupted by radio frequency fields. In the American
cockroach disruption was seen by 1.2 MHz fields at 0.018 micro-telsa ,
well below current ICNIRP public exposure guidelines . There is
evidence that human cryptochromes are magneto-sensitive  and that ELF
MFs disrupt circadian rhythms in man .
IARC has recently classifieds radio frequency EMFs as a 2B possible
carcinogen, based on the main body of case-control epidemiology and
accumulated exposure to mobile phone radiation and increased risk of brain
tumours in heavy users . Research into the possible health effects of
mobile phones should now concentrate on designing epidemiological studies
with more relevant exposure metrics and at investigating further the
mechanistic pathways by which exposure may increase the risk of brain
tumours and other adverse health outcomes. Meanwhile, precaution against
undue exposure is warranted and should be encouraged.
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Competing interests: No competing interests