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Wearing Your Cell Phone Could Weaken Bones

Phone on Belt
Phone on Belt

October 23, 2009 By

According to a study in the September issue of The Journal of Craniofacial Surgery (which I admit I don't read), wearing a cell phone on your belt may lead to decreased bone density in an area of the pelvis that is commonly used for bone grafts.

At least that is what is claimed in a news release issued today from Wolters Kluwer Health. The study by Dr. Tolga Atay and his colleagues at Suleyman Demirel University, Isparta, Turkey, discovered that with long-term exposure, electromagnetic fields from cell phones could weaken the bone. This, they said, could potentially affecting the outcomes of surgical procedures using bone grafts.

The researchers measured bone density at the upper rims of the pelvis (iliac wings) in 150 men who were cell phone users and carried their phones on their belts. The measurements were performed using a technique called dual x-ray absorptiometry -- the same test used to measure bone density in patients with osteoporosis and other bone diseases.

Bone density was compared on the side where the men wore their phones (the right side in 122 men and the left side in 28) versus the opposite side. The men carried their phones for an average of 15 hours per day, and had used cell phones for an average of 6 years.

The results showed a slight reduction in iliac wing bone density on the side where the men carried their phones. The difference was not statistically significant, they noted, and did not approach the reductions seen in osteoporosis. However, the researchers cautioned that the men were relatively young -- average 32 years -- and that further bone weakening may occur with longer follow-up.

The researchers also emphasize that their findings are preliminary. And coming generations of mobile technology may lead to the development of new cell phones with lower exposure to electromagnetic fields. Meanwhile, Dr. Atay and colleagues conclude, "It would be better to keep mobile phones as far as possible from our body during our daily lives."

Photo by Tantek Çelik. CC Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic


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