Mobile phone may interrupt sleep

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Radiation from mobile phones delays and reduces sleep, and causes headaches and confusion, according to a new study funded by handset manufacturers. The study was published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal: Progress In Electromagnetics Research Symposium (PIERS) Online.

The main health risk is less time in the deeper stages of sleep that can help the body recuperate, and regular late night mobile use by teenagers may even lead to mood and personality changes and problems like ADHD.

The research was carried out by Prof. Bengt Arnetz and colleagues of Wayne State University and Uppsala University, and Foundation IT’IS, USA, and Karolinska Institutet, Sweden. The study was funded by the Mobile Manufacturers Forum.

This was a double blind, experimental, laboratory study designed to investigate further the relationship between exposure to radio waves during mobile use and a variety of self-reported symptoms.

The volunteers were 71 men and women aged 18-45. Thirty-eight of the volunteers had symptoms that they attributed to mobile use (problems with mental thinking, stress hormones, performance and sleep).The other 33 volunteers reported no “mobile-related symptoms”. Both the symptomatic and non-symptomatic subjects reported using their mobiles daily and the amount ranged from five minutes to three hours per day.

The researchers found that, following radiofrequency exposure, the participants took an average of about six minutes longer to reach the deep stage of sleep than when they had received the sham exposure. They also spent an average eight minutes less time in the deepest “stage four” sleep.

Reports of headache were greater during radio wave exposure than during “sham” exposure in the subjects who had previously not reported mobile-related symptoms. However, in those who were symptomatic, there was no difference in the reporting of headache between the two exposures. Neither group was able to detect with accuracy whether they were being exposed to the true radio waves or to sham exposure. The journal paper did not report any results of their performance, memory, or mood tests.

The authors concluded that “radiofrequency exposure under these conditions is associated with adverse effects on sleep quality within certain sleep stages”.

Source: PIERS Online, USA

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