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Studies Find Harm From Cellular and Wi-Fi Signals 474

Posted by kdawson
from the perennial-question dept.
Over the years we've discussed the possible health risks of cellphone and other microwave radiation: studies from Israel and Sweden indicating a link between cellphone use and cancer, one from England exonerating cell towers as a cause of "microwave radiation sensitivity," and a recent 30-year Swedish study that found no link to cancer. The question won't go away though. Reader Artifice_Eternity writes "I've always tended to dismiss claims of toxicity from cell phone and Wi-Fi signals as reflecting ignorance about microwave radiation. However, this GQ article cites American and European studies going back decades that have found some level of biological harm caused by these signals. Why haven't they gained more attention? Quoting: 'Industry-funded studies seem to reflect the result of corporate strong-arming. Lai reviewed 350 studies and found that about half showed bioeffects from EM radiation emitted by cell phones. But when he took into consideration the funding sources for those 350 studies, the results changed dramatically. Only 25 percent of the studies paid for by the industry showed effects, compared with 75 percent of those studies that were independently funded.'"
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Studies Find Harm From Cellular and Wi-Fi Signals

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  • by Ethanol-fueled (1125189) * on Saturday February 06, 2010 @07:11PM (#31048656) Homepage Journal
    ...Beacuse nobody calls me :(
  • GQ? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Orp (6583) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @07:14PM (#31048668) Homepage

    I know I always go to Gentleman's Quarterly for my journal articles regarding the dangers of electromagnetic radiation exposure.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by amiga3D (567632)
      Well it's my bet that none of their advertisers are at risk in this report. Hence they run no risk by reporting it.
    • by creimer (824291)
      I only read GQ on the web when I have my laptop on my lap.
    • ... than an anonymous neurosurgeon?

      Did I miss something?

      I couldn't find one reference to a study published in a peer-reviewed journal in the last 10 years that claimed to rule out association.

  • by sznupi (719324) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @07:17PM (#31048696) Homepage

    Or "in part funded by opponents of radiation"?

    • by electrostatic (1185487) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @07:31PM (#31048794)
      The energy of a carbon bond is a few electron volts. IOW, that much energy is needed to cause a chemical change in the molecule.
      The energy of a 2GHz cell-phone photon is about 0.00001 eV. Cell-phone photons cannot cause a chemical change.

      Here's the QM version in more detail http://www.who.int/peh-emf/meetings/archive/valberg_bsw.pdf [who.int]:
      "A repeatable, explicit, and predictive mechanism capable of producing biologically significant responses (modulation dependent or not) from low-level RF fields has not been found." You can accept quantum mechanics as a valid standard, or you can base your understanding upon who provided the funding.
      • by izomiac (815208) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @08:26PM (#31049184) Homepage
        Protein folding relies heavily on very lower energy Van der Waals interactions, ionic interactions, and even the hydration shell. Theoretically, the perfect type of low energy radiation could denature tumor suppressant proteins in a nucleated keratinocyte and generate a squamous cell carcinoma.

        That said, possible doesn't mean practical. The probability of 2 GHz being that perfect frequency, of denaturing a single type of tumor suppressant protein causing unchecked DNA replication, and that replication introducing a cancerous change is negligibly low. Plus, researchers would've sounded the alarm ages ago if a common/well studied cancer like SCC increased in incidence in a specific area of the body. Deeper tissue wouldn't get as much radiation exposure, and a non-skin cancer on the thigh is kinda rare (blood vessel, muscle, bone, and fat cancers have prevalences of ~.1% - 1%).
        • by joocemann (1273720) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @11:05PM (#31049932)

          Protein folding relies heavily on very lower energy Van der Waals interactions, ionic interactions, and even the hydration shell. Theoretically, the perfect type of low energy radiation could denature tumor suppressant proteins in a nucleated keratinocyte and generate a squamous cell carcinoma.

          That said, possible doesn't mean practical. The probability of 2 GHz being that perfect frequency, of denaturing a single type of tumor suppressant protein causing unchecked DNA replication, and that replication introducing a cancerous change is negligibly low. Plus, researchers would've sounded the alarm ages ago if a common/well studied cancer like SCC increased in incidence in a specific area of the body. Deeper tissue wouldn't get as much radiation exposure, and a non-skin cancer on the thigh is kinda rare (blood vessel, muscle, bone, and fat cancers have prevalences of ~.1% - 1%).

          That is an interesting theory. But in support of your skepticism as to the likeliness of it being reality, I'll bring up a couple other related molecular/protein facts for readers:

          -The denaturation of tumor-suppressor proteins would have to occur not on one or several, but a large number of those within the cell to degrade the suppression signal enough to disable it; and since the 'damage' is only temporal, the denaturation would have to occur continuously and also to its daughter cells as well so as to maintain the tumor growth. Genetic damage (as previously shown to be physically impossible) to the suppressor genes is the only way to truly disable the gene in the cell and its progeny.

          -Chaperonin-60 (HSP60/GroESL) is present in sufficient quantity to maintain proper folding of denatured proteins in the cell and so I would suggest that not only would the rate of denaturation have to be large enough to encumber proper suppression signaling, but it would also have to overcome the repair activity of HSP60. (Maybe the radiation also denatures the chaperonin, but that's just getting so improbable its hard to even consider talking about).

          -I don't want to assume too much here, but testing cell phone strength EM radiation on protein folding is not too difficult to have been done by now. I really want to assume it has been done and the results were null... I don't want to search the pubs tonight...

          -So, assuming that the EM radiation *can* affect protein folding, and assuming the hypothetical fact that it would have to happen to many proteins --- if this were the case, we would likely see the effects of denatured proteins in other observable areas. Nearly everything going on in the cell and in the body is controlled, communicated, and mediated by proteins. Many proteins are active in real time and encumbering their function by denaturation (by any means, including the hypothetical) should have some form of physiological or psychologically observable changes. Lets take insulin for an example, but lets also assume that thousands of proteins are just as relevant. With insulin, loss of function results in lowered glucose uptake into the cells and so the blood retains glucose. If EM waves were denaturing insulin in any real way, blood glucose levels should be observable and diabetic-like symptoms might likely arise. This is not the case... I'm not sure how many readers are aware of the complexity of proteins and their complex functions in the body, but there are basically thousands of examples that could be imagined wherein a significant denaturing of proteins would result in some observable outcome.

          -Humans (and other life forms) came into existence and evolved in the presence of all kinds of EM radiation from the sun, the big bang, etc. If EM radiation's ability to denature proteins was significant to persistence of life on earth, life would have evolved in ways that were not susceptible to that radiation.
          --------

          Humans are notorious for not knowing the cause of something, imagining a cause, and then sharing and believing that supposed 'cause' as fact. I won't outright deny the possibility that cell phone EM radiation may cause damage to our bodies, but with what we know it is very very highly unlikely.

          -

          -

          • by Hurricane78 (562437) <deleted&slashdot,org> on Sunday February 07, 2010 @12:43AM (#31050396)

            I have a great PROTIP for everyone out there discussing this topic:

            • As long as you still eat the complete trash you call “food”, with all its extreme quantities of sugar, saturated fats, denatured proteins (!!!) and lacking natural micronutrient combinations...
            • As long as you still breathe car and industry exhaust fumes every day...
            • As long as you still wear clothes and touch furniture with tons of chemicals in them...
            • As long as you still clean your house and your body with tons of unnecessary chemicals...
            • As long as you still sit in sunlight lacking most of the protecting ozone layer...

            ...I suggest you keep your mouth shut and first solve those problems, before trying to look at such comparably insignificant things. :)

            Hmm... Interesting how this is a really good analogy to the “terrorist ‘threat’”, compared to e.g. car accidents, and bad things the own government does...

      • The energy of a carbon bond is a few electron volts. IOW, that much energy is needed to cause a chemical change in the molecule. The energy of a 2GHz cell-phone photon is about 0.00001 eV. Cell-phone photons cannot cause a chemical change.

        Where do you get the idea from that the only thing that can cause cancer is changes in chemical bonds?

        In fact, anything that alters regulatory mechanisms within the cell might cause cancer. A lot of the structure and function of cells are determined by electrical fields,

  • by ZuchinniOne (1617763) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @07:18PM (#31048704)

    Although it can be fair to argue about whether or not the industry studies are biased, I think it goes the other way too.

    There are A LOT of people out there who are 'convinced' that cell phones and wi-fi cause cancer. And it doesn't matter how many studies you show them that it doesn't, they just won't believe you.

    And if you consider that many of these so-called 'independent' studies are in fact paid for by fringe anti-science groups, then perhaps their results are aren't as unbiased as they would have you believe.

    • by sackvillian (1476885) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @07:26PM (#31048770)

      And if you consider that many of these so-called 'independent' studies are in fact paid for by fringe anti-science groups, then perhaps their results are aren't as unbiased as they would have you believe.

      That seems strange - I'm having trouble imaging what an anti-science directed study would consist of. And how unbiased would they have you believe their study is, if it's anti-science by definition? It seems like they would want to show off their own maximizing of bias if it's really anti-science.

      • by Zen Hash (1619759) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @07:42PM (#31048872)

        And if you consider that many of these so-called 'independent' studies are in fact paid for by fringe anti-science groups, then perhaps their results are aren't as unbiased as they would have you believe.

        That seems strange - I'm having trouble imaging what an anti-science directed study would consist of. And how unbiased would they have you believe their study is, if it's anti-science by definition? It seems like they would want to show off their own maximizing of bias if it's really anti-science.

        Check with the people behind these sites for some excellent examples:
        http://www.creationstudies.org/ [creationstudies.org]
        http://www.creationbiology.org/ [creationbiology.org]
        http://www.icr.org/ [icr.org]
        http://theflatearthsociety.org/ [theflatearthsociety.org]

        • Should be +5 Sad.

          As a side note, of the above links, The Flat Earth Society is merely satire and most people on the forums are actually very intelligent.
      • by peragrin (659227)

        you have never argued with a deeply religious person have you?

        It is like arguing with idiots on the internet. doesn't matter if your right it is all some one else's fault.

        My personal favorite time was arguing with someone shortly after 9/11 that the f-22 and yF-23 were in fact real planes that were built and under development, and no amount of articles, logic, or truth would make them believe it. They kept saying they were alien designed.

        • by TapeCutter (624760) * on Saturday February 06, 2010 @09:49PM (#31049634) Journal
          "If you could reason with religious people there wouldn't be any religious people" - Hugh Laurie.
    • by gad_zuki! (70830) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @10:22PM (#31049756)

      >There are A LOT of people out there who are 'convinced' that cell phones and wi-fi cause cancer.

      In fact there are lots of people who claim to show symptoms (dizziness, depression, anxiety, pain, etc) when exposed to wifi or cell radio. The kicker is that they only claim this when they know they are being exposed to wifi/cell, not when they are actually exposed.

      I really think the next version of the DSM should have an entry for 'radio phobia.' These poor people are simply mentally ill and need help from professionals. They dont need bullshit studies validating their illness.

  • Biased Reports? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by amiga3D (567632) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @07:19PM (#31048712)
    Surely not. People skewing tests in accordance with funding would never happen.
    • I wonder if replies such as this are an automatic reply, and if a study really confirms that cellular and WiFi signals increase the chances of cancer, without skewing the tests, would the responses on Slashdot be the same? I was about to make one like your before looking at the article, and then I thought, whoa, what if the studies were correctly executed? While I'm absolutely unconvinced that there is a link between cancer rates and microwave signals in cell phones and other wireless networks, but if a stu

  • Confirmation bias. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gandhi_2 (1108023)

    The /. demographic sees it as fact that studies funded by the oil industry regarding environmental effects are to be dismissed out-of-hand.

    This same demographic sees it as fact that studies funded by the tech industry regarding biological effects are to be accepted out-of-hand.

    We like our echo chambers just like everyone else.

    Now cue the nerds screaming about RF radiation is harmless, and always has been, and always will be:

    • by wizardforce (1005805) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @09:07PM (#31049434) Journal

      Maybe it is because there's quite a few actual scientists in the relevant fields posting on Slashdot. Or maybe it's the fact that you expect people to make decisions solely on whom created the stufy rather than 1) evidence 2) rational explanation of the results. CO2 is a known greenhouse gas and is the major causal agent behind the climate change we're seeing right now. Microwaves OTOH are not capable of breaking molecular bonds found in cells.
       
      --A biochemist

    • by broken_chaos (1188549) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @09:42PM (#31049592)

      RF radiation, at the extremely low levels of energy that wifi and cell signals use, is harmless to humans, always has been, and always will be.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TapeCutter (624760) *
      "The /. demographic sees it as fact that studies funded by the oil industry regarding environmental effects are to be dismissed out-of-hand.
      This same demographic sees it as fact that studies funded by the tech industry regarding biological effects are to be accepted out-of-hand."


      So what, I see little difference between greenpeace, the heartland institue and the discovery institute, I do not dissmisses then "out of hand" I dismiss them because they are all anti-science. They are all capable of getting t
  • by MillionthMonkey (240664) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @07:21PM (#31048728)
    ...because I have a hands-free phone setup in my car. I just mow over other people when they cross the street and some bitch is breaking up with me over the phone.
  • And what restaurant's head waiter is going to tell you the daily special is bad?
  • and keep your cellphone away from your balls. Let everyone else find out if it causes brain cancer.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      Bluetooth is just another version of wifi.

      The bluetooth frequencies range from 2.402GHz to 2.480GHz
      Just the power output is different.

      • Yes from my understanding bluetooth and wifi are harmless, the main reasonable health debate revolves around cellphone radiation risk.

        • The fact that the receiver is in your house (if not even on your person) might well indicate an effect on the required power output from the transmitter.
  • Matters not (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ancient_Hacker (751168) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @07:23PM (#31048750)

    It matters not one whit how many studies show result X. What matters is what is shown by peer-reviewed studies done under controlled circumstances and having a significant sample size.

    For example 100 studies done shoddily using sample sizes of 3, 4, and 6 subjects do not outweigh one ten-year study across 1,000 subjects.

    Now just on general principles, if one watt of radio energy was harmful, you'd think that people like RF welders, tower steeplejacks, plasma researchers, and radar disk repairers wolsd be covered in suppurating pustules. But they're not. Even people whose heads are hit by 100 watts of much stronger photons (sunbathers, cowboys), they do just fine.

    So I suggest you use GQ to check up on the latest fashions, maybe not so much on the best science.

    • Re:Matters not (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ArsonSmith (13997) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @07:29PM (#31048784) Journal

      "For example 100 studies done shoddily using sample sizes of 3, 4, and 6 subjects do not outweigh one ten-year study across 1,000 subjects."

      Depends. If one of those 100 shoddy studies gets me the $50M research grant and the ten-year study does not then the shoddy study wins.

    • Re:Matters not (Score:4, Informative)

      by NicknamesAreStupid (1040118) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @07:36PM (#31048820)
      People around RF welders have serious shielding, and most plastics welding is automated. There have been 'accidents' such as seared skin, blindness, and neurological disorders among those who worked around these welders. Of course, we haven't heard much about them. Then again, we had not heard about brain injuries to football players for over 100 years.
    • I mostly agree with you but be careful before using sunbathing as an example. UV light can over a very long period of time increase the risk of skin cancer. The reason is that UV light is capable of breaking molecular bonds while the microwave bands used in a multitude of applications are far far too low in energy to do anything of the sort.

  • by Orp (6583) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @07:34PM (#31048812) Homepage

    The article mentions "modulations" over and over again as if they are some sort of evil force messing with your head.

    Roughly speaking, modulations are changes in the energy at the sidebands of the carrier where the information is carried. Old cell phones were pure frequency modulation, the digital ones use a different scheme. But from you're brain's perspective, it shouldn't mean more than a slight change in the total energy being radiate at 2.4 GHz or whatever. The idea that your brain is affected by "modulations" seems extremely specious.

    The fact that you're warming up your brain slightly when you hold the cell phone to your ear for a long time might have some sort of long term effect, I dunno, but I'm not too afraid of modulations.

    • by wizardforce (1005805) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @07:55PM (#31048950) Journal

      If any warming caused by holding a cell phone near your head caused sufficient warming to actually cause damage in the long term, then exercise of any sort would kill you dead a lot quicker than a cell phone could possibly be responsible for. A two or three degree Fahrenheit increase in body temperature is completely normal during exercise and even this is larger than a cell phone is capable of doing.

    • I think if that warming was a problem then living where it gets to be 95 degrees outside in the shade for 6 months out of the year would have had more of an effect by now. As it stands the biggest one is a desensitization to seeing grown men riding the bus to work in animal suits.

  • by Vellmont (569020) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @07:42PM (#31048876)

    The GQ article with a cell phone next to a pack of cigarettes couldn't be more misleading. We hear about "such and such % increased risk of this", "such and such % increased risk of that". But these numbers are meaningless in assessing behavior changes unless you know the baseline risk.

    So here's some numbers. The article starts off with cigarettes, so what's the risk of lung cancer between smokers and non-smokers?

    Well, according to wikipedia [wikipedia.org], For Men it's 1.3% for non-smokers, and 17% for smokers. Wow!

    Let's compare that to Brain cancer (all types). According to the National Cancer institute [cancer.gov] it's .6% for everyone. The Swedish study from 2006 found a 240% increase. So that's 1.44% risk.

    So it seems quite obvious to me that even the most alarming study only showed a small increased health risk from cell phone use, and others have shown none. Compare that to smoking, which has been consistent in showing risk over the years, and an ENORMOUS risk. Oh, and for smoking that's JUST the lung cancer risk. We all should know about the other increased health risks associated with it.

    • Well, according to wikipedia [wikipedia.org], For Men it's 1.3% for non-smokers, and 17% for smokers. Wow!

      Wow, yeah! I don't think I ever remember seeing that number, I just assumed from all the hype that it was "small but measurable" and didn't see the benefits to bother starting smoking. But I definitely think that if there had been posters around school with just that number (or a big tar-colored six-sided die), a lot of my peers would also have not bothered starting.

  • by viking80 (697716) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @07:42PM (#31048878) Journal

    There is a huge difference between a cellphone and WiFi. First, a cellphone can transmit up to 5 Watts. I can actually hear noise induced in my computer speakers every 10 minutes if the cellphone is nearby when it does it automatic call-home.

    WiFi is typically limited to 20mW.

    Also, a cellphone is pressed against your head, while Wifi is usually 1 m away. With area of sphere = 4PiR^2, the Wifi will have an energy flux of 1mWm^-2, and a cellphone will have 40Wm^-2 or 30,000x that. You could use bluetooth to reduce your cellphone exposure

    BTW, a microwave is allowed to leak 1Wm^2.

    Bottom line, 1 hour of cellphone exposure = a lifetime with WiFi.

    • There is a huge difference between a cellphone and WiFi. First, a cellphone can transmit up to 5 Watts. I can actually hear noise induced in my computer speakers every 10 minutes if the cellphone is nearby when it does it automatic call-home.

      Interestingly enough, I have noticed that on 3G this feedback has completely stopped. Unfortunately, I suspect that's no indicator of decreased power usage - only a change in frequency.

    • by Icepick_ (25751) <icepick&netfamine,,com> on Saturday February 06, 2010 @09:26PM (#31049534) Homepage

      FWIW, I'm a GSM RF Engineer. Two issues with your post:

      In the US, phones are limited to 1 W max for 1900 MHz (aka PCS) transmission, and 2 W for 850 MHz.

      The interference you hear on your speakers isn't due to the amount of power being transmited, but it's actually caused by the modulation of the signals being transmitted. That modulation occurs at 217 Hz....which is audible.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ShawnDoc (572959)
      Where do you live that WiFi is limited to 20mW? In the US the limitation is 4W (EIRP) (PTP links are different). In most of Europe it is limited to 100mW. The typical home WiFi router is usually in the 80-100mW EIRP range.
  • by Shannon Love (705240) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @07:51PM (#31048932) Homepage

    (1) Based on the standard rules of statistical acceptance, a study only has to reach requires a 95% confidence level. That means that 1 in every 20 identical studies will produce a false positive merely by chance. When you have an area of study in which thousands of studies have been done over decades you end up with hundreds of studies reporting positive results just by chance.

    (2) Statistical meta analysis of studies is largely nonsense unless your talking about a field in which nearly identical studies are done over and over again. Usually, when these meta studies hit the media you find they they equally weight to every study regardless of presumed rigor of the studies. In this case, the gold standard is the Swedish study that followed tens of thousands of people over decades. How to you compare that to a study that just data mined a few hundred medical records?

    (3) Exposure to all types of radio range radiation has increased by literally millions of times since WWII. We know spend something close to 3% of our entire energy budget generating radio signals. Yet, in the last 50+ years, cancers rates have not increased and indeed most likely have fallen (especially when you exclude cigarette smoking.

    (4) A a sociological matter, just because a study is not linked to an industry does not mean that the researchers or the people funding them are some how impartial or operating from nobel motives. A lot of people outside of industry have both inherent biases as well as professional and monetary incentive to distort science. Academic today tilt strongly to the left side of the political spectrum and many believe in the post modernist concept that every one has a moral obligation to use whatever power they have, such as that held by respected scientist, to advance their political beliefs. They are inherently hostile to the economically productive. Politicians have incentives to create crises to protect voters from. Trial lawyers stand to make hundreds of millions on law suits and they fund "studies" to contaminate the jury pool. Even competing industries can use studies to undermine competitors.

    We should remember that science has its reputation because it produces the same answer regardless of the individual motives of the people who create it. When someone begins the question the motives of researchers, they are making an implicit statement that they have no science to back their position up and that they must instead fall back to human factors. If you have solid science, then you don't need to smear people's motives and call their integrity into question.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Yes, I agree with you. Unfortunately it is the sort of crap that gets published on Slashdot.

      Rat organs affected by GMO - check.
      Vermont Nuquelar plant going to kill us all - check.
      Cell phone radiation causes cancer - yup.

      I am waiting now for a vaccine causes autism article to balance out the Lancet story from last week...

  • by oldsaint (736226) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @07:55PM (#31048952)
    "Studies" that are funded or sponsored or promoted by environmental organizations should be taken as expressions of religious dogma, essentially worthless to those who endeavor to understand the underlying issue. Environmental organizations, like religious organizations, perceive themselves as above criticism, and therefore not accountable for the veracity of their proclamations. Commercial organizations might be equally and oppositely dogmatic in their desire for lucre, but tend to have a higher regard for logic, even if they reject it when they can get away with it.
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @07:59PM (#31048974)

    I'm fairly sure we'll get this study used a lot in the near future.

    Like my neighbor, who recently nearly beat my door down to inform me that if I don't turn off my WiFi AP she'll call the police because she gets headaches from my radiation. Then the cellphone in her pocket rang...

  • Insulation. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by headkase (533448) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @08:05PM (#31049018)
    This brings up what would be a desirable setup: Insulate the scientists doing the studies from the sources of funding. A bit of bureaucracy is the price to pay for greater truth. Industry wanks put their money into a committee to fund studies in predetermined areas. Scientists apply to the committee and receive funds from it with no future consequences because of the results they find. The committee decides who actually gets the money not the industry lackey who decided it needed to be studied. This would greatly root out the "self-confirming" type of study while still getting studies done.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      These "studies" cut both ways. Greenpeace for example funded the preposterous Rat Organ study that was posted here last week.

      The best and most time tested answer is independent review. Which pretty much works in the long run.

  • by sillivalley (411349) <sillivalley@comcastBLUE.net minus berry> on Saturday February 06, 2010 @09:18PM (#31049488)
    (1) it's a meta-analysis, looking at other studies, not a study actually looking at links between RF exposure and disease.

    (2) it's a meta-analysis of a veritable zoo of studies. About the only things the subject studies have in common is that most of them involve humans and most involve RF! This is not a valid application of these statistical techniques!

    (3) the so-called conclusions of the meta-analysis look at opinions on factors in the subject studies which were not controlled let alone investigated and measured according to a set of standards -- opinions on funding.

    And somehow I don't think this paper was subject to peer review, although I'm not familiar with their review process...
  • by Antaeus Feldspar (118374) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @10:40PM (#31049816) Homepage

    I was going to RTFA but it's densely packed in an unfriendly typeface and when I opened it up, I immediately saw warning signs of conspiracy-mongering (Hey, this guy publishes an "investigative newsletter" called Microwave News! And he has a doctorate in environmental policy from MIT! That means if he says that the science is 100% solid about cell phones causing harm, he must be right, because God knows no one who got a doctorate at MIT ever got convinced of some cockamamie theory and started "investigative newsletters" to pursue some non-existent threat!) and research fail ("The "hearing," however, didn't happen via normal sound waves perceived through the ear. It occurred somewhere in the brain itself, as EM waves interacted with the brain's cells, which generate tiny electrical fields." First of all, any time someone mentions the Frey effect, 80% of the time you're about to hear schizophrenic ranting about government mind control transmissions. Second of all, the author seems to have made up the theory that the Frey effect happens because of EM waves interacting with brain cells; it seems quite inconsistent with Frey's own findings that there were some individuals who could not hear sounds around the frequency of 5Kc who also could not hear the "rf sounds". If the Frey effect bypassed the ear and directly stimulated the brain, why would anyone who had a brain be unable to detect this stimulus? Why would the people who were unable to detect this stimulus also be those with known deficiencies in their ears? Coincidence?)

    Anyways, I suspected that what I would find in the article was a situation similar to the Myung meta-review of cell-phone/cancer studies [sciencebasedmedicine.org], where the author declared that even though the overall review of the chosen studies had failed to establish any sort of convincing evidence that cell phones caused cancer, a "sub-group" of "high-quality" studies established a "significant positive association". What the meta-review may have failed to call attention to, however, was that seven out of the eight "high-quality" studies were all done by the same researchers, a group led by Dr. Lennart Hardell, and that Hardell is frequently retained as an expert witness in lawsuits against cell-phone companies. I wouldn't be surprised if at least 75% of the "independently funded" studies in the GQ article are also by researchers who profit handsomely from testifying in similar lawsuits. People talk about how they can't trust any studies done by "industry", but they're naive to think that litigation itself is not an industry.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Fantastic Lad (198284)

      This guy's post was modded "Insightful"?

      Are you kidding me? He spent his entire post justifying (poorly) why he didn't read the article.

      And yes, I happen to know what I am talking about because I've put in the effort of reading tons of stuff, much of which I find disagreeable in the extreme. (At the moment, I'm working up the balls to dive into Ayn Rand's, "The Fountainhead".) -Why do I do this to myself? Because while reading and listening to people's arguments, I regularly find that despite the tone o

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Your own response really casts doubt on your claims.

        You claim that even when you read things you disagree with, you generally find "a nugget or two of useful information I didn't know about previously and from which I can benefit either directly or through researching further", and proceed to go into a long comical diatribe based on the implicit assumption this one brief "interaction" of ours entirely sums up our entire beings. Oh, yes, I'm sure you know everything about my information processing habits ba

  • funding realities (Score:5, Interesting)

    by stimpleton (732392) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @11:16PM (#31049990)
    My initial time at undergrad university thru to Masters was in German Literature back in the day. Then computers came along and I was hooked by this magical technology(PDP-11 days).

    Over the coming years I worked thru a Comp Sci degree, Post Grad work, and more in GIS(info in Geographic Info Systems). All the while also doing part time work back at the old dept teaching German Lit. I have been out of academia and in the industry for 15 years now.

    But the Comp Sci gave me research exposure to the Food Research Industry.

    Research, scholorships, and funding in the Arts we almost pure in their implementation. Food research and funding was rotten to the core. I have been on the recieving end of table thumping food industry ceo's. You are then told to bend over, take it, then go inform relevant parties of desired outcomes.

    Thank christ I am out of that sewer.

    In todays world I can only imagine what jewels lie in the communications gold veins and how that drives research.

"Just Say No." - Nancy Reagan "No." - Ronald Reagan

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