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From Jordan's Desk: Brain ZAP!

Radiation is in the news these days with Japan’s nuclear crisis, TSA full-body x-ray scans and CT scans, but did you know that cell phones have made headlines for their low-level radiation that can affect the brain?

The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) says that holding an activated cell phone up to your head for about 50 minutes changes the brain’s metabolism. You don’t even have to be talking on your phone, either. You could just be checking your voicemail. Nora Volkow, M.D., lead researcher of the study team, said, “This study is important because it documents that the human brain is sensitive to the electromagnetic radiation emitted by cell phones. Even though these are weak signals, the human brain is activated by them.”

The truth is that the body is highly sensitive to even slight radiation exposure—including non-ionizing radiation from cell phones and cordless phones. Here’s what happens: non-ionizing radiation emits frequencies that are picked up by the body, become intermingled with body function and misdirect cellular communication—resulting in a biochemical stress response.

In fact, Austrian research indicates that exposure to mobile phone base stations—in amounts lower than current guidelines allow—“may influence psychological stress markers,” including the stress hormone cortisol and other significant immune elements. Additionally, the European Journal of Oncology reports a double-blind peer-reviewed study in which subjects were exposed to radiation from a digital cordless phone for 3-minute intervals. Results indicate a link between cordless phones—which transmit signals similar to WiFi networks—and heart palpitations and other autonomic nervous system anomalies. The study says that even low-level electromagnetic fields (EMFs) from electrical wiring, electrical gadgets and wireless devices are linked to elevated LDL (bad) cholesterol, aches, pains, depression and anxiety.

Low-level radiation from cell phones, cordless phones, microwaves and wireless devices can have other consequences. They’re linked to formation of free radicals that damage DNA and can lead to mutations that cause cancer. The Swedish National Institute for Working Life discovered that among over 900 people diagnosed with brain tumors, those who used their cells phones most often—and for the longest amount of time—had a 240 percent greater risk for malignant brain tumors. 

In her book Zapped, Anna Louise Gittleman, MS, CNS, PhD, looks at the effects of exposure to EMFs, since we’re surrounded by electronic pollution 24/7—due to our culture’s immersion in wireless WiFi internet, smart phones, laptops, electronic games and cordless devices. These modern conveniences come at a cost, though. Dr. Gittleman says our exposure to electronic pollution is 100 million times greater than what our grandparents encountered.

Gittleman offers advice on how to trim the electronic pollution in your life, including repositioning appliances and electronics in the home to minimize exposure to EMFs; to remove WiFi and cordless phone chargers from the bedrooms; to not cradle your laptop in your lap—especially if you’re pregnant; to keep cell phone calls short and switch sides frequently if you must talk on your cell phone, to keep your cell phone out of your pocket—and to not use your cell phone as an alarm clock.

It might not be a bad idea to use your cell phone’s speaker phone or to communicate via text messages whenever possible, too. After all, who wants to have brain zap?


This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.

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