Sunday August 19, 2018

Smartphone myths busted: It won’t give you brain cancer

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New Delhi: Smartphone users can take a deep breath now. All the studies claiming that the radiation emitted from cellphones can cause brain cancer while posing to be hazardous to health have turned into a myth.

According to health experts, radiations emitted from cellphones will not give you brain cancer but, yes, excessive cell phone use can lead to other health conditions, especially among children.

Some time back, the World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified mobile phone use and other radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as a possible carcinogen but with a rider that there is no research to back the claim.

The study also revealed no evidence of increasing risk with progressively increasing number of calls, longer call time, or years since beginning cellphone use.

“Mobile phones don’t cause cancer or promote the accelerated growth of existing tumors. Although there have been some concerns that radiofrequency energy from cell phones held closely to the head may affect the brain and other tissues, but to date, there is no evidence from studies of cells, animals, or humans that radiofrequency energy can cause cancer,” explained Dr Indu Bansal Aggarwal, senior consultant (oncology) at Paras Hospitals.

Radiofrequency energy emanating from cellphones is a form of electromagnetic radiation that is non-ionizing.

No study or research about cancer has proved that non-ionising radiation causes cancer. If someone speaks on a mobile phone for a long time, it generates heat.

“The only known biological effect of radiofrequency energy is heating. Radiofrequency exposure from cellphone use does cause heating; however, it is not sufficient to measurably increase body temperature,” added Dr S Hukku, director (radiation oncology) at the BLK Super Specialty Hospital in the capital.

But when it comes to the excessive use of cellphones, there are health conditions that can affect people.

According to a report by networking giant Cisco, the number of mobile users in India is projected to grow 4.4 percent to 990.2 million by 2020 – covering about 71 percent of the country’s population.

Smartphone addiction can reduce melatonin hormone levels, which may lead to neuro-degenerative diseases later in life. Melatonin is a hormone secreted by the pineal gland in the brain which helps regulate other hormones and maintains the body’s circadian rhythm.

“Impaired concentration, eye problems, increased stress and chronic pain, negative effect on emotions, heart disorders, decreased sperm count and decreased hearing are some major health issues arising out of the excessive use of cell phone,” Aggarwal said.

As for children, scientists have discovered that a mere two-minutes phone call can alter the electoral activity of their brain for up to an hour.

“The disturbed brain activity could impair children’s learning ability and lead to other behavioral problems,” Aggarwal told reporters.

To avoid this, keep phone calls short, use air tube headset for calls, avoid using a cellphone in an enclosed metal space such as an elevator and do not keep the mobile phone close to the body when switched on.

“Do not place your smartphone under a pillow and avoid calls when the signal strength is low to reduce the impact of cell phone radiation on health,” Hukku suggested.

Above all, spend some time with your family where the smartphone is not an invitee! (Somrita Ghosh, IANS)

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Smartphone Screens Filthier Than A Washroom: Study

"Our phones are never far from our sides; we take them everywhere with us. Therefore, it's inevitable that they'll pick up a few germs along the way,"

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Smartphone screens are the filthiest part filled with germs which may lead to skin problems and other health issues. Flickr

If you think toilet seats are the dirtiest ones swarming with germs, look at your smartphone. A research has revealed that smartphone screens have three times more germs than a toilet seat.

More than a third of people (35 per cent) have never cleaned their smartphones with wipes, a cleaning fluid or a similar product, according to the study done by Insurance2Go, a gadget insurance provider based in Portsmouth, England.

“The average smartphone screen has been found to be more than three times dirtier than a toilet seat,” sky.com reported on Saturday, citing the findings.

One in 20 smartphone users was found to clean their phones less than every six months, said the study.

For the study, researchers swabbed three smartphones — an iPhone 6, a Samsung Galaxy 8 and a Google Pixel — to test for aerobic bacteria, yeast and mould.

The findings showed that all areas of the phones “harbour at least some quantity of each type of substance”.

Phone screen, smartphone
Smartphone screens are the filthiest part filled with germs which may lead to skin problems and other health issues. IANS

The screens were the filthiest part of the smartphones, filled with germs which may lead to skin problems and other health issues.

The screens of the three handsets had a combined total of 254.9 colony-forming units per cm2. This means there was an average of 84.9 units on each screen.

“In contrast, a toilet and flush was found to have just 24 units, while an office keyboard and mouse was found to have just five,” the report said.

The back of the smartphones had an average of 30 units, the lock button had an average of 23.8 units, and the home button had an average of 10.6 units.

More than a third of the respondents admitted having not cleaned their phones for long.

“Our phones are never far from our sides; we take them everywhere with us. Therefore, it’s inevitable that they’ll pick up a few germs along the way,” Gary Beeston, sales and marketing manager at Insurance2go, was quoted as saying.

Also Read: Now say No to Germs While Using Public Toilets

A fifth of British adults now spend more time online each week than the average time spent at work, said a recent study from the UK’s communication regulator Ofcom.

Two in five adults (40 per cent) first look at their phone within five minutes of waking up, rising to 65 per cent of those aged under 35, while 37 per cent of adults check their phones five minutes before lights out, again rising to 60 per cent of under-35s. (IANS)