Cellphone radiation that fetuses are exposed to in the womb may be responsible for rising rates of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and other behavioural problems in children, according to a new study.
Researchers from the Yale School of Medicine who conducted the study emphasized that the experiments were conducted on mice and that further research is needed on humans. But they nevertheless trumpeted the study’s findings as an important breakthrough.
“This is the first experimental evidence that fetal exposure to radiofrequency radiation from cellular telephones does in fact affect adult behaviour,” senior author Hugh S. Taylor, professor and chief of the division of reproductive endocrinology and infertility in the department of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences, said in a release.
Pregnant mice were exposed to radiation from a cellphone that was muted and silenced and placed above their cage. A control group of mice were placed in a separate cage, on which sat a cellphone that was deactivated.
After measuring the electrical activity of adult mice that were in the cages as fetuses and putting them through a series of behavioural and psychology tests, researchers found that mice that were exposed to radiation tended to be more hyperactive. Those mice also were found to have reduced memory capacity.
These findings led researchers to conclude that the rise in rates of ADHD and other behaviour problems in children may be a result of exposure to cellphone radiation.
“We have shown that behavioural problems in mice that resemble ADHD are caused by cellphone exposure in the womb,” Dr. Taylor said. “The rise in behavioural disorders in human children may be in part due to the fetal cellular telephone irradiation exposure.”
So, if you’re pregnant, does that mean you should throw your cellphone away?
Tamir Aldad, another author of the study, explained that the brains of mice are much less developed than human brains and that mice pregnancies last only 19 days – so more research is needed. “Cellphones were used in this study to mimic potential human exposure but further research will instead use standard electromagnetic field generators to more precisely define the level of exposure.”
Still, Dr. Taylor said the study’s findings warranted limiting the amount of cellphone radiation human fetuses are exposed to.
The study was published in the March 15 issue of Scientific Reports, a Nature publication.
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