Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Fwd: Daily Dose - Don't pick up the phone

phone health?

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: WC Douglass <>
Date: Wed, Jun 17, 2009 at 8:21 AM
Subject: Daily Dose - Don't pick up the phone

Daily Dose

Cell phone dangers continue to add up

Dear Friend,

Let me let you in on a little secret. Forget cigarettes and secondhand smoke. If you want to know what will cause of the death of our society, look no further than that little piece of technology you think you can't live without: your cell phone.

I'm not even talking about the death of social etiquette -- though more than a few cell phone users could use a class in how to act appropriately in public. (Maybe I'll write a book on the subject.)

No, I'm talking about the very real danger of propping a microwave-generating piece of hardware less than an inch from your brain for hours on end, day in and day out. Plenty of neurosurgeons have gone on the record saying that they never place their cell phones directly to their ears.

And when you look at the case against them, it's no wonder! Consider this...
  • In 2005, European researchers linked a decade of cell phone use to as much as a four-percent increase in the likelihood of developing permanent, brain-damaging tumors of the auditory nerve.

  • A 2002 Finnish study linked the type of radiation emitted by cell phones to adverse effects on brain tissue.

  • Research on British males theorizes that cell phone use could be the cause of Britain's precipitous decline in male fertility.
Some doctors even speculate Sen. Ted Kennedy's brain tumor may have been caused by excessive cell phone use. And that's just been after 10 years or so. Imagine the threat our kids and grandkids will be facing 15, 20, and 50 years from now. It's chilling.

Of course, the warnings are falling on deaf ears -- or at least on ears that are covered up by a little piece of tumor-causing technology. More likely, people don't want to hear about the dangers because they think they can't live without their precious cell phones.

The media isn't helping matters, either. Instead of making these very real, very life- threatening dangers front-page news, this is the headline you're more likely to see: "Cell phone elbow: New sign of the times."

Yes, you read that right. The major cell phone danger plastering headlines is that it could be a pain in your elbow. Well, news like this is just a pain in my you-know-what.

Is it a legitimate condition? I'm sure it is. If you do any action repetitively enough, you're going to wear down the muscles, ligaments or tendons involved.

But if there's any silver lining to this cellular cloud, it's this: Maybe -- just maybe -- in an effort to avoid "cell phone elbow," people will be less likely to hold these "cancer boxes" up to their ears.

The easiest option is to use the speakerphone option on your cell phone. You could also get a Bluetooth earpiece or a wired headset with a ferrite bead. Of course, the best option of all is just to not use a cell phone to begin with.

When life imitates art

While cell phone use continues to grow in popularity, an old habit that was once a teen rite of passage is on the decline: smoking. One study says this could be because there are less people shown smoking in today's movies.

The lead author of the study, Dr. James Sargent, a pediatrics professor at Dartmouth, says that "reducing smoking in the movies probably helped to reduce rates of smoking in kids."

Talk about wishful thinking.

Dr. Sargent fails to take into account that there's not just less smoking in movies. There's less smoking in day-to-day life in general. Kids of earlier generations grew up with their parents and grandparents and many of the adults in their lives smoking -- not just on screen. Smoking wasn't necessarily seen as glamorous. It was merely a fact of adult behavior.

That is, until every doctor under the sun started to demonize it.

Thankfully, the researchers themselves acknowledge that the study cannot prove a direct correlation between the drop in smokers portrayed in movies and the drop in teen smoking. Then again, if the research is right, maybe we need to lobby for movies to show fewer people using cell phones.

Calling on you to hang up your cell phone,

William Campbell Douglass II, M.D.


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