Increased risk for a type of benign brain tumor-associated with mobile phones.
WASHINGTON-A study published in the June issue of the journal Neuroepidemilogy found an increased risk for acoustic neuroma-a type of benign brain tumor-associated with analog mobile phones. The research was conducted by Lennart Hardell of the Department of Oncology at Obrebro University in Sweden, in collaboration with Michael Carlberg and Kjell Hansson Mild. The researchers said the tumor risk was highest for the 15-year-plus latency period, but they cautioned that particular result is based on low numbers, and therefore, must be interpreted with caution. The risk of acoustic neuroma for digital cell-phone subscribers increased significantly only in the five- to 10-year latency period and the biological relevance of the finding is unclear, according to the study. The risk for another type of tumor-known as meningioma-in patients diagnosed between 2000 and 2003 was significantly increased only in the temporal area of the brain and only with increased latency for analog and digital phone use. Hardell was the plaintiff's star expert witness in an $800 million cell phone-brain cancer suit dismissed by a federal court in 2002. The judge ruled scientific evidence linking cell phones to cancer was not strong enough to warrant sending the case to trial. The Hardell-led research group, for their part, said a pattern is beginning to emerge. "This is the third case control study showing a link between significantly increased risk for acoustic neuroma and cellular telephone use," researchers stated. "Regarding meningioma, a somewhat increased risk was found, although the association was not as clear as for acoustic neuroma." Government health officials in the United States and in other countries say research to date does not show an association between cell phones and cancer, but they have called for continued research to address conflicting findings in the scientific literature. Meantime, a handful of health-related suits against wireless firms and industry trade groups are pending in federal and state courts.