Activity rises near phones pressed to ears, study finds
Power-talkers with cell phones glued to their ears may be getting more than conversation. A 50-minute call boosts activity in brain regions near the ear where a phone is located, a brain-scanning study published February 22 in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows.
“This is the first paper that really shows there are changes in the brain,” says bioengineer Henry Lai of the University of Washington in Seattle, who coauthored an editorial published in the same issue of JAMA. Talking on a cell phone pressed to the ear, he says, “is not really safe.”
In the study, researchers measured the brain activity of 47 participants who had pairs of Samsung cell phones strapped to their heads, one on each side. The phone on the left ear was turned off, while the one on the right received a 50-minute recorded message. This phone was kept muted so that the subject didn’t know which phone was on, and also to prevent stimu