A big new study should help put parents’ minds at ease about one aspect of their kids’ cellphone use. Based on data for 998 children and adolescents ages 7 to 19, 352 of whom had been diagnosed with brain cancer, research published this afternoon in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found no link between cellphone use and brain cancer risk.
Swiss researchers drew data from population registries in Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Switzerland for the years 2004 to 2008. Similar percentages (75 and 72) of children with and without brain tumors reported having used a cellphone 20 or more times. The study also looked at the location of tumors and found no increase in tumors in the portion of the head closest to where a cellphone typically would be held.
Though they wrote that the situation bears further scrutiny, as cellphone use among children continues to increase, the researchers conclude that “the absence of an exposure-response relationship either in terms of the amount of mobile phone use or by localization of the brain tumor argues against a causal association.”
An accompanying editorial points out that brain tumor incidence among children and teens (and among the population as a whole) has remained steady over the past 20 years, even as cellphone use has risen dramatically since the 1980s.