Lloyd Morgan's Column
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Brief commentary on the latest Interphone Study (Lahkola et al, 2007)
The latest Interphone study has just been published . It reports on the findings of the risk of glioma (brain cancer) in 5
northern European countries from cellphone use.
This Interphone study shows, once again, a risk of a brain tumor on the same
side of the head as where the cellphone was used. This study confirms a Swedish
study, independent of cellphone industry funding, by Lennart Hardell and his
This is the fifth of eight Interphone studies to show a risk of brain tumors
from cellphone use. The Interphone studies all use a common protocol
(procedure) that is, in the opinion of this author, designed to not find either
any risk or to substantially water down any risk of brain tumors from cellphone
use. For example, the Interphone protocol defines a regular user as a person who
has used a cellphone once a week for 6 months or more. Further, the diagnosis
years included in this Interphone study, September 2000 and February 2004,
guarantees that very few long-term cellphone users will be included in the
study. Indeed, is this study only 43 (2.8%) with brain cancers on the same side
of the head as the cellphone use were found out of the total of 1,522 glioma
brain cancer cases.
To illustrate how this definition of "regular users" and the exclusion of
long-term users affect the study, consider a study of smokers and the risk of
lung cancer where a regular smoker is someone who has smoked a cigarette for
once a week for 6 months or more with only 2.8% smoking for 10 or more years.
Would such a study find a risk of lung cancer?
Because the Interphone studies, using a dubious protocol, are substantially
funded by the cellphone industry these findings are even more alarming.
Yes, the industry funding does not go directly to the research teams. The
funding of the Interphone studies is given to a European cancer organization,
the International Union Against Cancer (UICC) who chooses the research teams.
This study was published in the International Journal of Cancer, a publication
of the UICC.
The researchers are bound to use a dubious protocol. They also understand
that their funds came from the cellphone industry. This creates an inherent
conflict of interest best describe by the old adage, "Don't bite the hand that
The bottom line is that this study, regardless of the facts that its abstract
proclaims, "We found no evidence of increased risk of glioma related to regular
mobile phone use," it was designed to find nothing (i.e., no harm), and it was
funded by the cellphone industry, actually provides evidence confirming once
gain that exposure to cellphone radiation is dangerous to our health.
- Lahkola et al (2007), Mobile phone use and risk of glioma in 5 North
European countries. Int J Cancer. 2007 Jan 17; [Epub ahead of print]