New Study: Cell Phone Use During Pregnancy May Impact Your Child

03/24/2012

Cell phone use during pregnancy photoExposure to radiation from a cell phone may cause behavioral issues in your child by impacting their brain development. A study at Yale School of Medicine published in the journal Nature, found that cell phone use by pregnant women could impact their offspring more than we initially thought, according to Science Daily.

Researchers exposed pregnant mice to radiation from a muted and silenced cell phone placed on an active call for the length of the trial. The control group was kept under the same conditions but the phone was deactivated.

The mice were put under a battery of mental tests as adults and those exposed tended to be hyperactive and have less memory. It seemed that the cell phone radiation impacted the prefrontal cortex of the brain, the part of the brain responsible for memory and behavioral issues like ADHD. 

Radiation Defined

First off, the difference between ionizing radiation and non-ionizing radiation becomes an important point to define. Ionizing radiation is high frequency radiation which comes in the form of x-ray machines, diagnostic machines, fluoroscopy, or radiation therapy. It’s powerful enough to free an electron from its atom or molecule, producing free radicals. Your DNA is susceptible to damage through these produced free radicals.

We’re bathed in non-ionizing radiation everyday in the form of common appliances, radios, televisions, radar, high voltage power lines, certain burglar alarms, electric blankets, cell phones, tablets, and laptops. It’s low frequency with long wave lengths. High levels of non-ionizing radiation are associated with, but not scientifically proven, to cause genetic damage in healthy mothers.

Fears of such radiation are relevant and have been brought front and center through studies on cell phones and their link to cancer. Cell phones emit radiofrequency energy, a form of non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation that can be absorbed into the tissues.

But it should be noted that the mice’s exposure was extreme and researchers don’t know how such radiation impacts humans or in the amounts that it would begin to cause issues. 

Photo: Thinkstock

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Sara Novak writes about health and wellness for Discovery Health. Her work is also regularly featured in Breathe Magazine and on SereneKitchen.com. She has written extensively on food policy, food politics, and food safety.


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