Can you still get brain damage even if your mobile phone is switched off ?

23 January 2005

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Question

Can you still get brain damage even if your mobile phone is switched off?

Answer

Mobile phones emit microwaves, but only when they are switched on. This means it's ok to sleep with your mobile. Recently, there have been many people saying that phones are very dangerous. However, you have to keep these things in perspective: smoking is much more likely to increase your risk of cancer than using mobile phones. However, we haven't been using phones for more than 10 years, so there may be a lag period before people notice bad effects. We aren't in the position to say that phones don't cause cancer yet. That said, one group of researchers found that holding an active mobile phone against the head improved the short term memories of male, but not female, student volunteers. Although the effect was small, the researchers pointed out that seeing any effect might mean that long term exposure to microwaves from mobile phones could be bad for the brain.

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