July 25, 2007

Phone mast allergy 'in the mind'

Mobile phone masts are not responsible for the symptoms of ill health some blame them for, a major UK study says, reports the BBC.

"Dozens of people who believed the masts triggered symptoms such as anxiety, nausea and tiredness could not detect if signals were on or off in trials.

However, the Environmental Health Perspectives study stressed people were nonetheless suffering "real symptoms".

Campaign group Mast Sanity said the results were skewed as 12 people in the trials dropped out because of illness.

In the trial, many of those who blame masts for their symptoms reported greater distress when they thought the signal was on, suggesting the problem has a psychological basis.

"Belief is a very powerful thing," said Professor Elaine Fox, of the University of Essex, who led the three-year study. "If you really believe something is going to do you some harm, it will."

The study was funded by the Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research programme, a body which is itself funded by industry and government. "

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