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Cellphones Handhelds Science

Cell Phone Use Tied To Changes In Brain Activity 191

Posted by timothy
from the hi-tara dept.
Takichi writes "The New York Times is reporting on research linking cell phone use and increased metabolism, with high statistical significance, in the areas of the brain close to the antenna. The study was led by Dr. Nora D. Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and is published (abstract) in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The impact, good or bad, of the increased stimulation is speculative, but this research shows there is a direct relationship between cell phone signals and the brain that warrants further study."
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Cell Phone Use Tied To Changes In Brain Activity

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  • by w_dragon (1802458) on Wednesday February 23, 2011 @09:19AM (#35289202)
    Too lazy to RTFA, did they move the antenna away from the speaker, or is it possible that the sound waves or even the brain interpreting the sound from the ear, is responsible for the increase?,
  • by polyp2000 (444682) on Wednesday February 23, 2011 @09:33AM (#35289298) Homepage Journal

    I've lost count of the time I've looked at my mobile seconds before it is about to ring.
    This is completely unscientific, but I am convinced my brain has "learned" to recognise the
    electromagnetic interference caused by the phone just before its about to ring or receive a message.

  • by the_raptor (652941) on Wednesday February 23, 2011 @09:36AM (#35289336)

    This study involved computer based analysis using PET scan data*. Similar studies have often been shown to have overstated or no real statistical significance**. With only 47 participants this study has, in my eyes, about the same validity as the average undergrad study.

    Unfortunately tomorrow it will be in all the newspapers to prove that cell phones cause cancer (ironically this study was done with ionising radiation, whose cancer causing effects are well known).

    * I am a pysch student and these studies are the ban of my existence. They mostly have the same validity for studying human behaviour as the old method of making shit up based on observation. However they seem much more "sciency" to funding committees.

    ** http://www.sciencenews.org/view/feature/id/57091/title/Odds_Are,_Its_Wrong [sciencenews.org]

  • by gTsiros (205624) on Wednesday February 23, 2011 @10:58AM (#35290126)

    and do you count the times where you look at your cellphone without it ringing later on?

  • by dcollins (135727) on Wednesday February 23, 2011 @03:00PM (#35292528) Homepage

    "This study involved computer based analysis using PET scan data*. Similar studies have often been shown to have overstated or no real statistical significance**. With only 47 participants this study has, in my eyes, about the same validity as the average undergrad study."

    I don't think any of those things mean what you seem to think they mean. *

    (1) On PET scan data not having "validity" -- skeptical. Citation needed.
    (2) On the linked article of science paper statistical shortfalls -- there are some good cautionary points in that article. The article does not say that similar studies have been shown to have "no real statistical significance" (in fact, just the opposite). I challenge you to point out specific statistical pitfalls (from your linked article) of which this abstract runs afoul? Because I don't see any.
    (3) 47 participants is perfectly reasonable, since the accepted number for a t-test as done in the study is considered to be 30 or more (hence generating an approximately-normal sampling distribution of sample mean results, per the Central Limit Theorem, assuming no outliers found in the obtained data). The strength of the evidence obtained is reflected in the calculation of P = 0.004 (which is super, super low, i.e., enormously significantly significant), not by your hand waving about what should count "in your eyes".

    * I'm a lecturer in college statistics.

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