Cell Phone Exposure May Cause Bone Weakening, Study Suggests
24-Mar-2011 8:00 AM EDT
Wearing Phone on Belt Linked to Decreased Bone Mineral Density in the Hip
Newswise — Philadelphia, Pa. (March 24, 2011) – Electromagnetic radiation from cellular phones may adversely affect bone strength, suggests a study in the March Journal of Craniofacial Surgery. The journal is published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, a part of Wolters Kluwer Health.
Men who routinely wear their cell phone on their belt on the right side have reduced bone mineral content (BMC) and bone mineral density (BMD) in the right hip, according to the study by Dr. Fernando D. Sravi of National University of Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina. He writes, "The different patterns of right-left asymmetry in femoral bone mineral found in mobile cell phone users and nonusers are consistent with a nonthermal effect of electromagnetic radiofrequency waves not previously described."
Carrying Cell Phone on Belt Linked to Lower Hip Bone Density Dr. Sravi measured BMC and BMD at the left and right hip in two groups of healthy men: 24 men who did not use cell phones and 24 men who carried their cell phone in a belt pouch, on the right side, for at least one year. Measured using a test called dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry, BMC and BMD are standard markers of bone strength.
Average hip BMC and BMD measurements were not significantly different between groups. However, men who did not use cell phones had higher BMC in the right femoral neck (near the top of the thigh bone): a normal left-right difference that was absent in cell phone users. Thus men who wore their cell phones on the right side had a relative reduction in femoral neck BMC in that hip.
The cell phone users also had reduced BMD and BMC at the right trochanter—an area at the outside top of the thigh bone, close to where the phone would be worn on the belt. The difference between the left and right trochanters was significantly related to the estimated total hours spent carrying a cell phone.
There are concerns about several potential harmful effects of cellular phones. However, few studies have looked at whether electromagnetic fields emitted by cell phones could affect bone mineralization. With the rapid growth in cell phone use, any significant effect on BMD could have a substantial effect on the osteoporosis rate in the population.
Although small, the new study raises the possibility that long-term exposure to electromagnetic radiation from cell phones could adversely affect bone mineralization. Larger follow-up studies will be needed to confirm or disprove this hypothesis, according to Dr Sravi. He suggests that studies may be warranted in women, who have higher rates of osteoporosis; and children, who would have longer expected lifetime exposure to cell phones.
About The Journal of Craniofacial SurgeryUnder the leadership of Editor-in-Chief Mutaz B. Habal, MD, FRCSC, The Journal of Craniofacial Surgery (www.jcraniofacialsurgery.com) serves as a forum of communication for all those involved in craniofacial and maxillofacial surgery. Coverage ranges from practical aspects of craniofacial surgery to the basic science that underlies surgical practice. Affiliates include 14 major specialty societies around the world, including the American Association of Pediatric Plastic Surgeons, the American Academy of Pediatrics Section of Pediatric Plastic Surgery, the American Society of Craniofacial Surgeons, the American Society of Maxillofacial Surgeons, the Argentine Society of Plastic Surgery Section of Pediatric Plastic Surgery, the Asian Pacific Craniofacial Association, the Association of Military Plastic Surgeons of the U.S., the Brazilian Society of Craniofacial Surgeons, the European Society of Craniofacial Surgery, the International Society of Craniofacial Surgery, the Japanese Society of Craniofacial Surgery, the Korean Society of Craniofacial Surgery, the Thai Cleft and Craniofacial Association, and the World Craniofacial Foundation.
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