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Lloyd Morgan's Cellphone Research Column

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My name is Lloyd Morgan. I am an electronic engineer by training, a Director of the Central Brain Tumor Registry of the United States (see www.cbtrus.org) a member of the international science group, the Bioelectromagnetics Society (see www.bioelectromagnetics.org) and a volunteer with the National Brain Tumour Foundation (see www.braintumor.org). Since 1995 I have devoted myself to the study of electromagnetic fields and health problems. With such a focus in mind I have attended, and sometimes presented at, multiple science meetings each year including, among others, those of the Bioelectromagnetics Society, the Neuro-Oncology Society, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine and the Brain Tumor Epidemiology Consortium.

All statements are mine and mine alone and do not represent positions or opinions of either the Central Brain Tumor Registry of the United States or the Bioelectromagnetics Society or any other organization.

Cellphone Research Column: Recent Entries RSS XML Feed

Eye Cancer in Germany from Cellphone Use

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Post Date/Time: 12/02/2009 12:34:11

The recently published study by Andreas Stang and team is an amazing turn about from his previous paper. The previous paper reported a strong risk (OR = 3.0) of eye cancer (uveal melanoma) from "radiofrequency-transmitting devices" and from "probable/certain exposure to mobile phones". The current paper is a repudiation of the previous paper. "Risk of uveal melanoma was not associated with regular mobile phone use (OR = 0.7). Yet we see an immediate problem in this sentence. This sentence should have read, "Statistically significant protection from uveal melanoma was associated with regular mobile phone use (OR = 0.7, 95% CI = 0.5 to 1.0 vs population control subjects)," because this is what was found, a statistically significant protective effect! How could this be? First the authors criticize their previous study because it had "incomplete exposure assessment." Let's examine the implicitly complete exposure assessment to determine if it is even a reasonable exposure assessment...

A Comparison Between Two Interphone Studies - Risk of Parotid Gland Tumors from Cellphone Use

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Post Date/Time: 21/03/2008 10:48:00

The Interphone Study is a 13-country case-control study on the risk of brain and parotid gland tumors as a result of cellphone use. In order to roll-up the results from all 13 countries, each of the individual country studies are required to use the Interphone Protocol. To date (March 2008) there have been two Interphone studies on the risk of parotid gland tumors (a salivary gland near the ear) from cellphone use. The two studies, using the same Interphone Protocol, reported diametrically different results. How could this be? The quick answer is that one study had far more tumors (cases) than the other. The longer answer is that one study restricted their study design to the highest levels of exposure, while the other study made no such effort.

Commentary, Second Japanese Interphone Study

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Post Date/Time: 18/02/2008 17:09:00

While this study made two improvements, the existing flaws, particularly the short latency time, made it nearly impossible to find a risk. Because the study did find risks, it should result in a world-wide set of public health actions to substantially reduce the absorbed cellphone radiation. For example, the consistent use of a wired headset and not allowing children to use cellphones. The 5.84-fold glioma risk found for > 1,000 hours (2 cases) of use it confirms the Hardell team's findings of a 1.3-fold risk, for < 1,000 hours (355 cases), a 1.8-fold risk for 1,001 to 2,000 hour (26 cases), and a 3.7-fold risk for > 2,000 hours (21 cases). However, this study found a much higher risk than the Hardell study. Suggesting, because the > 1,000 hours was > 1,000 hours at the highest value for mean maxSAR, that higher SAR values create higher risk. Bottom line: in spite of the BBC's headline "Mobiles 'not brain cancer risk'", the risk of brain tumors from cellphone use exists.

Interphone Studies to Date, An Examination of Poor Study Design, Resulting in an Underestimation of the Risk of Brain Tumors

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Post Date/Time: 08/01/2008 12:34:00

With five flaws, each independently underestimating the risk of tumors, it is no wonder why the Interphone studies report a large number of results suggesting cellphone use protects the user from having a brain tumor. The Interphone Study has substantial funding from the deep pockets of the cellphone industry. The additional cost to resolve these flaws could have been accomplished if the industry provided more money. In addition if the participating countries had anticipated the potential cost of a pandemic of tumors, the cost effectiveness of contributing substantially more funds, would have been obvious. Lastly, relying on the cellphone industry funding is equivalent to having the fox guard the hen house. The cellphone industry will state that there is a "firewall" between their funds and the research teams who do the study. While it is true that the cellphone industry provides the funds to another organization (UICC) which then decides on the teams that will do each study, the researcher are aware that most of their funds are coming from the cellphone industry. While I do not doubt the integrity of the researchers, I also believe there in an inheren conflict-of-interest best described by the saying, "Don't bite the and that feeds you." The fundamental problem is not conflict-of-interest. The fundamental problem is the Interphone Protocol. While I have no evidence, it would appear that the cellphone industry influenced the Protocol, if not actively participating in its creation. The end result is the Protocol is designed to not find any risk. That it has found a risk is sobering. Tragically, the window of time to do a large, well-designed case-control study is closed. Case-control studies require exposed and unexposed subjects. It is no longer possible to find unexposed subjects.

Cellphone Industry's Propaganda: Cellphones Cannot Possibly Cause Brain Tumors

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Post Date/Time: 04/01/2008 09:28:00

Studies, independent of cellphone industry funding, with 10 or more years of exposure time have consistently found higher risks of brain tumors than the Interphone studies have. Why higher risks? It is because the Interphone study protocol has at least 6 flaws, each of which results in an underestimation of brain tumor risk. Yet, in spite of the 6 design flaws that underestimate the risk of brain tumors, the Interphone studies still find a risk of brain tumors. Perhaps if these flaws did not exist they would find the same elevated risks as the industry independent studies have found? Or, could it be that the Interphone protocol was designed to not find any risk?

Brief commentary on the latest Interphone Study (Lahkola et al, 2007)

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Post Date/Time: 02/02/2007 12:42:00

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 is now the fifth of eight Interphone studies to show a risk of brain tumors from cellphone use, and confirms a Swedish study, independent of cellphone industry funding, by Lennart Hardell and his team.

Industry-Funded versus Independently-Funded Cellphone Research: A Scatter Plot Comparison of Outcomes

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Post Date/Time: 18/08/2006 10:22:00

Why does the public continue to be lulled into complacency regarding cellphone use? Perhaps, the dominance of the cellphone industry in the field of cellphone research has something to do with pretense of "no harm" regarding cellphone use.

The Latest Study on the Risk of Brain Cancer From Wireless Phone Use

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Post Date/Time: 17/08/2006 16:28:00

This commentary is about the latest Hardell et al. scientific study on the risk of brain cancer from wireless phone use. It is the 13th in a series of papers published by this team [1-12]. Although every one of these studies has shown a risk of brain tumors from wireless phone use (cell as well as cordless), the findings in this study are the most alarming yet.

Commentary on the Final Report of the RMIT Cancer Cases

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Post Date/Time: 16/08/2006 09:47:00

The report remarks that since there was only a single malignant tumour, "the presence of a single case only of a primary malignant brain tumour within the population on these floor levels does not enable an accurate epidemiological analysis." This statement was made in the context that no "benign" brain tumour data is collected in Victoria. The report also states that a pituitary tumour is not a brain tumour stating that the World Health Organization (WHO) classifies such a tumour as "an endocrine tumour and not a brain tumour."<br /><br /> There was neither an attempt to examine the incidence rate of "benign" brain tumour beyond Victoria nor was their statement correct about WHO's classification of pituitary tumours. Pituitary tumors are classified by WHO and here in the United States as a brain tumour.

Commentary on a Study of the Risk of Brain Tumors from Cellular and Cordless Phone Use

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Post Date/Time: 29/03/2006 13:22:00

This study combined the results of two previously published papers. The total number of brain tumor cases participating in the study was 1,429. The total number of controls was 2162 matched to the cases by age, sex, SEI (Social Economic Index, a measure of wealth), year of diagnosis and region within Sweden. Cases were diagnosed between 1997 and 2003. The percentage of the Swedish population that used cellphones during this period was around 30% in 1997 and grew to over 95.5% by 2003. The study's main finding was the risk of acoustic neuroma, but also reported a risk of the meningioma.

Commentary - Cellular Phones, Cordless Phones, and the Risks of Glioma and Meningioma (Interphone Study Group, Germany)

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Post Date/Time: 07/02/2006 12:00:00

This study, similar to all Interphone studies published to date, has several serious problems. For one, its core findings report no risk for glioma or for meningioma from "regular" cellphone use ("regular" use is defined as at least one incoming or outgoing call per week for 6 months or more). Yet, it reports a 2.2-fold risk of glioma after more than 10 years of cellphone use with a 94% confidence that this risk is not due to chance. Also, it found a 1.96-fold risk of high-grade glioma for women from "regular" cellphone use with a 98% confidence. Given the specific problems of the study - all of which would underestimate the risk of a brain tumor - these findings are ominous.

Commentary - Mobile phone use and risk of glioma in adults: case-control study

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Post Date/Time: 25/01/2006 12:00:00

In years past, this paper would never have been published because such a low participation rate of cases and controls would have, by itself, been a cause for rejection. With only 51% of glioma victims (30% had died by the time they were contacted) and 45% of the controls (29% refused to participate) participating, combined with more affluent controls than cases, there is little reason to believe any of the reported results.

Cellphones and Human Health

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Post Date/Time: 15/08/2005 12:23:45

It is our contention, based solely on our reading of the scientific literature to date, that human exposure to cellphones poses a major health threat. Yet, everywhere we hear sanguine reports of cellphone use. (One of the latest was a cheery story on CBS TV's Good Morning show, April 1st, 2005, regaling, without a mention of potential harm, the "wonderful" new cellphone products being developed by several corporations for 8-11 year olds!) What is to be made of these differing views? The central thesis of this discussion is that the divergent views on the health effects of cellphone exposure lie not in "the truth" of the scientific findings but rather in the pre-existing interpretive "booby traps" unique to studies involving brain tumors, and indeed unique to studies of cellphone use, especially at this stage of cellphone exposure. To therefore make sense of what can sometimes be seen as dueling studies and conflicting claims, this discussion will try to provide a working understanding of the interpretive "booby traps" which lay in wait. This examination will then be followed by a reinterpretation of the scientific literature in hopes of providing a fresh look-and a more accurate picture of what may befall us with near-universal exposure to ellphones in our future.