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Articles by Dr. Walt Larimore

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Dr. Walt Larimore

Walt Larimore, M.D. has been called “one of America’s best known family physicians.” He is a nationally-known and nationally sought after speaker and health expert. read bio

Study shows no link between increased cell phone use and brain cancer incidence

The first week of December, most news outlets reported, as did NBC Nightly News on 12/3, "There's been speculation for years that there's been a link between" cell phones and brain cancer, but "the results of a very large, very long study of just about everybody in Scandinavia found no link."

This is great news for all of us who use cell phones.

USA Today reported that, according to the study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, researchers found "no link between rising cell phone use and rates of brain cancer."

The finding is "consistent with most other studies," but Melissa Bondy, of MD Anderson Cancer Center, noted that "even if the study had found an increase in brain tumor rates," cell phones may not be "to blame," because "lots of other trends" can "help explain changes in disease rates."

The Los Angeles Times "Booster Shots" blog reported that "the study is important because it mirrors the international Interphone case-control studies which have shown no overall increase in glioma or meningioma rates."

The authors of the current study pointed out, however, that "the Interphone studies … 'leave open the possibility of a small to moderate increased risk for glioma among the heaviest users of mobile phones.'"

Their own analysis of "data on 60,000 people diagnosed with glioma and meningioma in Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden" revealed that "the incidence of brain tumors … were stable, decreased, or gradually increased, starting before cell phones became popular," HealthDay reported.

They also found "no change in incidence of brain tumors … during a period of rapid increase in cell phone usage."

The researchers argued that "if cell phones were a significant cause of brain tumors after five to 10 years of usage," the "incidence rates should show an acceleration in brain tumors relative to earlier trends," MedPage Today reported.

They speculated that "increased brain cancer rates may simply reflect an increase in diagnoses from new imaging technologies."

WebMD reported that the authors mentioned other "reasons for their finding," including that "the induction period relating cell phone use to brain tumors exceeds five to 10 years," or that "the increased risk is restricted to subgroups of brain tumors or cell phone users."

Used with permission from Dr. Walt's Blog, December 11, 2009.

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