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Emerging aspects of mobile phone use

By F Samkange-Zeeb and M Blettner


The mobile phone is a modern-day invention, which has managed to reach many parts of the world enabling telecommunications across areas where it was not possible before. Although these devices have proved to be life saving in certain circumstances (e.g., after accidents) and helped improve the quality of life in some sectors, concerns continue to be raised about potential adverse health impacts associated with their use. These range from cancer and cognitive deficiencies to subjective effects, such as a feeling of warmth around the ear used, headache and fatigue. We provide an overview of the concerns raised and summarise what is known about them. We conducted a literature search in Pubmed/Medline to identify published papers on health effects of mobile phones, and an intensive search on the Internet to collect data on the global use of mobile phones. In the year 2000, there were an estimated 500 million mobile phone users worldwide. Today, there are about 3.3 billion users. The use of mobile phones among young children and adolescents is also increasing. Health-risk research has mainly focused on adults and on a single outcome, brain tumours. No significant relationship has been established between mobile phone use and the incidence or growth of brain tumours. Other research indicates emerging concerns, including hearing problems and self-reported health symptoms, such as tiredness, stress, headache, anxiety, concentration difficulties and sleep disturbances, but results remain inconclusive. Currently, there is little epidemiological evidence indicating that the use of mobile phones causes adverse health effects

Topics: Review Articles
Publisher: CoAction Publishing
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Provided by: PubMed Central

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