Loss of Memory Link to Mobile Phones

Daily Mail (London), March 1, 1999 | Go to article overview

Loss of Memory Link to Mobile Phones


Byline: LUCIE MORRIS

MOBILE phones have been linked to memory loss in worrying new research.

Scientists say tests on humans showed the phones disrupted a part of the brain which controls memory and learning.

Researchers at Bristol Royal Infirmary attached transmitters to the heads of 36 volunteers. Half received microwaves identical to those produced by most mobiles for half-hour periods. All were

asked to perform simple psychological tests to measure brain function and memory and those who had not been subjected to the radiation performed better.

And last night, one leading British scientist said he had also begun to suffer the effects of radiation and has now curbed his own use of mobiles.

Colin Blakemore, an adviser to the National Radiological Protection Board, which regulates the [pounds sterling]5billion mobile phone industry in Britain, now uses his phone for only two minutes at a time and for just ten minutes a day.

The professor of physiology at Oxford University says using the phone over longer periods may have a more permanent and damaging effect. By limiting his use, Dr Blakemore said he had stopped experiencing the 'lack of awareness' he felt when making longer calls. There is evidence, he said, of an adverse effect on 'cognitive function, memory and attention'.

'It is a transient effect,' he added.

'I have had the feeling that there has been a gap in experience while I have been on the phone and have not been aware of other things going on.'

He believes the radiation affects the way certain message-carrying chemicals move within the brain and inside individual nerve cells.

Because many of these chemicals have electric charges, their behaviour can be influenced by radiation, preventing nerve cells from functioning normally.

The cells involved in short-term memory storage are near the right ear, as are those in the brain stem which are involved in the regulation of blood pressure.

He added that the potential for memory loss had serious implications for drivers, who were warned last week that they run a high accident risk up to ten minutes after finishing a call. …

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