New study shows connection between brain activity and cell phone use

Baltimore - It's an issue any cell phone addict has probably considered. Is having that phone tied to your ear doing any harm to your body? Researchers have tried to answer that question for years and a new study provides some eye opening results. ABC2 News Joce Sterman is dialed in with details on what that study says about the link between your phone and your brain.

When it comes to cell phones, some call them a distraction while others consider them a life line. Baltimore's Meghan Young says, "I wouldn't say I'm addicted. I do more texting than calls." But whether they're attached to our hands or our heads, it seems we can't cut the cord on our cell phones. And some wonder whether it's truly an unhealthy relationship. Paul Tomick tells us, "I've heard those rumors for the last 10 years and haven't had any side effects so I'd assume it's still safe."

But new research is raising some doctor's antennae with questions about the impact of holding the line. Doctor Reginald Davis, the Chief of Neurosurgery at GBMC says scientists saw some effects during a recent study. They looked at brain scans of patients in two ways; while they were connected to a muted call and while they were phone free. Davis explains, "Lo and behold it was discovered that with the cell phone on, the area closest to the antennae actually showed an increase in metabolic activity."

So what does that mean for you? Scientists say essentially the study points out that using a cell phone causes some change in your brain activity. But when it comes to making the call on what those changes mean, that's where what seems like a clear signal begins to get scratchy. Davis says, "We can't say whether it's bad, whether it's harmful, whether's it's good, whether we're just exercising the brain cells. But we can say there's activity."

And that's considered by many to be a first for researchers, although much more study is needed to figure out if you can stay dialed in without risking your health. In the meantime, Davis says you should go hands-free with your cell phone when you can and use it in moderation, just in case. He tells ABC2, "I'm reassured that cell phones are probably still safe, but I still say prudence should be the order of the day."

He's encouraging you to dial back your usage, for safety's sake; although some say it's just another call for concern that will eventually get dropped. Shirley Weiner says she'll add the study's findings to her list, "Every day there's something new to worry about."

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