Researchers at Yale University have determined that the use of a mobile phone, or cell phone, during pregnancy can have behavioural effects on their children. Brain development of the fetus is directly affected by the use of mobile phones and can lead to hyperactivity as the children grow.
This is the first experimental evidence that fetal exposure to radiofrequency radiation from cellular telephones does in fact affect adult behavior,” Dr Hugh S Taylor – professor and chief of the Diving of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences
Pregnant mice were exposed to radiation from a muted and silenced phone which was suspended above their cage. The phone was in an active call throughout the entirety of the experiment. A control group was setup using a phone suspended above their cage but it was deactivated.
When the mice were born and had ascended to adulthood, their brain patterns were tested and they were subjected to psychological and behavioural testing. The findings were that mice who were exposed to radiation whilst in the womb were more prone to hyperactivity and had a reduced memory capacity.
This change in brain patterns was attributed to changes in neuronal development in the prefrontal cortex during embryonic development. The results are interesting because ADHD (Attention Defecit Hyperactive Disorder) is characterized by the same developmental changes in the prefrontal cortex and also by hyperactivity and the inability to pay full attention to the task at hand.
“We have shown that behavioral problems in mice that resemble ADHD are caused by cell phone exposure in the womb…the rise in behavioral disorders in human children may be in part due to fetal cellular telephone irradiation exposure.” Taylor
Further research is of course needed in humans to ascertain just how much radiation is “safe,” whether or not the fetus is exposed to radiation from the distance of normal usage (most people take calls holding their phone up to their ear). Exposing a mouse’s entire body to radiation whilst pregnant is not quite the same as someone using a cell phone and having the radiation attenuated by the air and their body tissue before it can reach the fetus.
Further research is also being carried out using a standard electromagnetic field to assess the risks to human development from technology in general and to define a level of safe exposure.
Other researchers have commented that it is not that simple to extrapolate the data from mice directly to humans. Eric Taylor, a child psychiatrist from King’s College, London, believes that we cannot directly compare the memory capacity of a mouse directly to a human as different species react differently.
Another opinion is offered by Katya Rubia from the Instute of Psychiatry who referred to the conclusions drawn by the research as “alarmist and unjustified”.
It is quite evident that further research is needed, the preliminary findings suggest that there may be a link but until a study is completed in human beings and takes all factors into account, it may not be justifiable to stop women using mobile phones whilst pregnant.