- Researchers analyzed the relationship between phone radiation and growth of memory performance.
- They found that regular use of mobile phones can damage memory in young people.
- Teenagers who hold their mobiles to their right ear were particularly affected.
In the last couple of decades, information and communication technologies have developed a lot, which has caused a significant increase in exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMFs) in our daily lives.
Although, the health effects of these radiations are still not well understood, neurologists believe that the brain is heavily exposed when you use a mobile phone close to your head. It mostly affects teenagers’ memory.
To prove this on a large scale, researchers at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute carried out a test, in which they analyzed the link between radiation coming from mobile phones and memory performance in adolescents.
The test follows up a 2015 report with twice the number of participants and recent advances/knowledge of RF-EMF. This time, the aim is to get better results using new dose estimation and study population.
Researchers discovered that cumulative RF-EMFs exposure to brain from wireless communication device leaves a significant negative impact on the growth of figural memory performance in teenagers, especially if they use phones for more than one year. This conformed the previous results published in 2015.
Teenagers likely have higher cumulative lifetime exposure to RF-EMF, and developing brain of up to 15 years of age could be more susceptible to these radiations. At this age, memory functions are quite crucial because information retrieval, proper encoding and processing are essential for learning.
Researchers analyzed the association between phone radiation and growth of memory performance of nearly 700 teenagers over the course of 1 year. They were all aged between 12 to 17 years, and recruited from 7th, 8th and 9th school grades in rural and urban areas of Switzerland.
The right brain hemisphere contains the majority of the figural memory, and its relationship with RF-EMF is mostly built in teenagers who use phones on the right side of the head. This indicates that indeed radiation consumed by the brain is responsible for the observed behaviors.
Other uses of wireless communication device, such as playing games, browsing websites or sending text messages cause only slight radiation exposure to the brain, and thus do not largely affect the memory performance or growth of memory.
Although the study is done with a large number of candidates, it doesn’t provide any solid evidence. The results could have been altered by puberty, which affects the candidate’s cognitive and behavioral state, as well as his/her pattern of using mobile phone.
Minimizing The Risk Of Radiation Exposure
The type of research is a relatively new area of scientific study. Researchers are not sure how relevant their results are in the long-term. However, they suggested that potential harms to the brain could be avoided/minimized by using loudspeaker or headphone while making or receiving a call, especially when quality of network is low and the device is working at maximum power.
In future studies, scientists will try to determine whether RF-EMF affects sleep-facilitated learning process through altered sleep brain activity.