Archives for the category: Health Issues and SMS Alerts
June 7, 2011
Tara Parker-Pope in the Health section of The New York Times answers some common questions about cellphones and health, after cellphone safety was reignited once again last week when a panel of the WHO declared that it was “possible” the phones could cause cancer.
Bottom line, as always, the votes aren't in on exposure to children.
Despite the reassuring data from scientists, it’s important to remember that all of the humans studied so far began using cellphones as adults. With an entire generation having now been exposed to cellphones since childhood, nobody knows the health effect of a lifetime of exposure.
Read full article.
June 1, 2011
Exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields from handsets is greater than that from mobile-phone towers and base stations, Robert Baan, the senior scientist in charge of the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s report on the subject, said on a conference call with reporters yesterday. The fields are “possibly” carcinogenic, the same category as diesel fuel, chloroform and working as a firefighter, according to the IARC, based in Lyon, France, which classifies cancer risks based on research it conducts and coordinates.
Press Release: Radiofrequency electromagnetic fields are possibly carcinogenic: WHO has classified radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans, based on an increased risk for glioma, a malignant type of brain cancer, associated with wireless phone use.
Cell phones used by patients and their visitors were twice as likely to contain potentially dangerous bacteria as those of healthcare workers (HCWs), according to a study published in the June issue of the American Journal of Infection Control, by a team of researchers from the Department of Medical Microbiology at Inonu University in Malatya. Infection Control Today.
Interesting, a previous study by another Turkish university reported by News.com in March 2009, showed similar results.
The types of bacteria that were found on the patients’ MPs and their resistance patterns were very worrisome," state the authors. "Some investigators have reported that MPs of medical personnel may be a potential source of bacterial pathogens in the hospital setting. Our findings suggest that mobile phones of patients, patients’ companions and visitors represent higher risk for nosocomial pathogen colonization than those of HCWs. Specific infection control measures may be required for this threat.
Read full article.
Related to Cleaning Devices:
May 24, 2011
Steady exposure to the electromagnetic radiation given off by cellphones during use may disrupt fetal development, disturb memory and weaken the barrier that protects the brain from environmental toxins, says a welter of new research being presented this week in Istanbul, Turkey. The Los Angeles Times reports.
... The Istanbul meeting, convened by the Environmental Health Trust and Gazi University, comes a day before the International Agency for Research on Cancer -- an agency of the World Health Organization -- is to meet to decide whether research has demonstrated that radio frequency electromagnetic fields emitted by mobile phones are potentially cancer-causing.
Read full article.
May 19, 2011
Feels like 2005 again. Yet another new study claims mobiles phones have a negative impact on men's fertility.
Men who have been diagnosed with poor sperm quality and who are trying to have children should limit their cell phone use. Researchers have found that while cell phone use appears to increase the level of testosterone circulating in the body, it may also lead to low sperm quality and a decrease in fertility.
Also: Clothing manufacturers take no chances:
-- Smart pants for Cell-Phone users - Singapore-based garment manufacturer Crocodile International, will be launching smart pants or "Radiguard' specialty trousers" for cell-phone buffs.
-- Not-so-hot pants keep cell phones cool - Levi Strauss announced the launch of a new Dockers' model with anti-radiation-lined pockets.
May 15, 2011
Compared to asbestos, a ban on mobile phones and wireless networks in schools is proposed by European leaders
A Council of Europe committee examined evidence that the technologies have "potentially harmful" effects on humans, and concluded that immediate action was required to protect children, reports The Telegraph.
In a report, the committee said it was crucial to avoid repeating the mistakes made when public health officials were slow to recognise the dangers of asbestos, tobacco smoking and lead in petrol.
Read full article. Council of Europe full report:The potential dangers of electromagnetic fields and their effect on the environment
May 12, 2011
According to the Daily Mail via Gizmodo, researchers placed mobile phones in bee hives under controlled conditions and monitored the results. They found the phone signals confused the bees who begin to fly erratically before dying suddenly.
Dr Favre, a teacher who previously worked as a biologist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, said: 'This study shows that the presence of an active mobile phone disturbs bees - and has a dramatic effect.
-- Are mobile phones wiping out our bees (2007)
Image from Impact Lab
May 6, 2011
The city's first-of-its-kind mandate - requiring that retailers display the radiation levels alongside each phone for sale - has been placed on indefinite hold, and a watered-down version is likely to be passed in its place. The San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The CTIA, a trade group representing cell phone companies, sued the city over the law, saying that all phones marketed in the United States are considered safe by the FCC. The association also warned that the city could have to pick up the trade group's legal fees if the city lost.
Read full article.
May 1, 2011
The Haitian Red Cross has launched a prevention campaign against malaria in throughout the country, with the sending of SMS to more than 3.5 million people. The messages include information such as how the malaria is transmitted, how to recognize symptoms, treatment options and the simple steps for prevention.
[via Haiti Libre]
April 29, 2011
Cell phone signals’ effect on biological tissue surfaced again today via a Los Alamos researcher Bill Bruno who says the microwaves emitted by cell phones can interact with human tissues in an entirely new way that has yet to be taken into account. PopsSci reports.
... This doesn’t mean that microwave photons are necessarily scrambling your neurons, but it does add another wrinkle to the debate and is cause for concern and further evaluation.
April 22, 2011
Pre-term births can result in dangerous deliveries for mothers and life-long medical problems for children. Currently, one in ten babies are born prematurely, but a new project called SMART Diaphragm is working to change this through an early detection system. MobileActive.org reports.
SMART Diaphragm is an early warning system for high-risk pregnancies. Pregnant women insert a sensor-enabled diaphragm that monitors decreasing collagen levels in the woman's cervix - an indicator of impending pre-term labor. The results are wirelessly transmitted via bluetooth-enabled phones to a cloud data storage system.
Read full article.
April 18, 2011
Tanzania has announced the nationwide roll-out of a unique malaria treatment access initiative. Africa Science News reports.
The “SMS for Life” pilot launched in 2009 ran across three districts in Tanzania, ensuring access to essential malaria treatments for 888,000 people. 99% of health facilities involved avoided stock-outs of the artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT), one of the main anti-malarial medicines.
Read full article.
April 15, 2011
On Jan. 21, 1993, the television talk-show host Larry King featured an unexpected guest on his program. A young man from Florida, David Reynard, who had filed a tort claim against the cellphone manufacturer NEC and the carrier GTE Mobilnet, claiming that radiation from their phones caused or accelerated the growth of a brain tumor in his wife. The New York Times reports.
According to USA Today in 1999, Reynard and his lawyer didn't have much of what you might call evidence, which is why they didn't get very far in the courts. But the issue has hung around as a media fascination. Television shows and news reports can, in a matter of moments, leave a lasting impression.
April 5, 2011
A group of college students at the University of Central Florida have figured out how to turn smart phones into virtual microscopes that can detect malaria from a digital snapshot of a patient’s blood sample. UCF Today reports.
Instead of placing a blood sample under a microscope in a lab, a doctor or nurse working in remote parts of Africa would simply snap a picture of the sample with a cell phone camera. Then an image analysis algorithm – devised as a phone app that Gibeau created – calculates and detects where the malaria clusters are based on blood cells’ location and staining.
Read full article.
A physician at New York Presbyterian Hospital found that sending text messages to predominantly Spanish-speaking, urban, low-income parents increased the chances those parents would bring their children in to receive a flu vaccine.
April 4, 2011
Cell phone radiation safety advocate and FCC regulatory watchdog Cynthia Franklin has announced the launch of a consumer information website. Called "Lab Rat 4 SAR", the site provides facts and commentary about the outdated federal policies and unfettered industry practices regarding cell phone radiation (SAR).
Read full press release.
April 3, 2011
Africa is poor in landlines and hospital beds but rich in cellphones, which is why mobile health - mHealth - offers opportunities for providing care at a low cost, say experts. The AP reports.
In west Africa, 2,200 doctors in Ghana and all of Liberia's 143 doctors have signed on to anti-poverty group Africa Aid's MDNet network, allowing then to call or text other physicians for free. In Ghana, a national directory helps find the number to call.
Read full article.
Previously:- Africa Aid's MDNet Program: A doctor-to-doctor mobile
March 24, 2011
Now cell phones are being blamed for bone weakening, according to a new study study in the March Journal of Craniofacial Surgery.
Add this to the wide variety of afflictions - such as making children fat, affecting brain activity - but not in a good way, hurting your vocal chords, harming your body cells and damaging your DNA, bringing on RSI, giving a headache or an earache, triggering the onset of Alzheimer, creating an addictive disorder, undercuting male fertility, encouraging teenage promiscious sex or leading to sexually transmitted diseases and my favorite, using a cell phone while pregnant 'can lead to behavioural problems in children' - to name just a few.
But back to this new study. According to Newswise, "men who routinely wear their cell phone on their belt on the right side have reduced bone mineral content and bone mineral density in the right hip, according to the study by Dr. Fernando D. Sravi of National University of Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina."
Actually, this is not new. A study by Turkish researchers, published in the September 2009 issue of the very same Journal of Craniofacial Surgery and reported by Health US News, suggested that "electromagnetic fields emitted by cell phones may have a harmful effect on bone density".
February 27, 2011
The future of cancer detection may be in your pocket, according to The Boston Globe.
Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital have built a $200 portable device that can hook up to a smartphone and analyze a tiny amount of tissue to determine in an hour whether a patient’s cancer is malignant and likely to spread.
Read full article. Listen to Podcast from Science Translational Medicine, a conversation with Ralph Weissleder, who talks about his miniature micro-NMR machine operated by smart phone technology that can detect cancer cells in tissue biopsies from patients in less than an hour.
February 24, 2011
Parents of new born babies in Kerala will henceforth get SMSes on their cell phones about vaccination details for babies. The MedGuru reports.
Information Kerala Mission (IKM), the flagship e-governance project of the Kerala government, has developed the system as a part of the ‘Hospital Kiosks.’
Read full article.
There’s been a lot of buzz about the JAMA study demonstrating that the radiation from cell phones activates some brain regions. But it’s unclear whether this cell-phone induced increase in brain activity is harmful or helpful. But if there aren’t harmful effects, the ability to induce brain activity could actually be a good thing. The Wall Street Journal reports.
Cell phones potentially could be used therapeutically, as a non-invasive tool to interact with brain rhythms or stimulate parts of the brain that aren’t working optimally, according to Reto Huber, a professor at the University Children’s Hospital Zurich who also has studied electromagnetic fields and cell phone use but wasn’t involved with the new JAMA study.
Read full article.
February 23, 2011
Glucose metabolism in the orbitofrontal cortex and temporal pole increased significantly when the phone was turned on and muted, compared with when it was off, Nora Volkow, MD, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and colleagues reported in the Feb. 23 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Read full article. Article in Journal of the American Medical Association: Effects of Cell Phone Radiofrequency Signal Exposure on Brain Glucose Metabolism.
February 19, 2011
Cell phones do not increase the risk of brain cancer, a new British study contends. There's been no increase in the cancers since the technology's spread in 1990s. Bloomberg Business Week reports.
An analysis of data on newly diagnosed cases of brain cancer in England between 1998 and 2007 -- when cell phone use was climbing -- revealed no statistically significant change in the incidence of brain cancers in men or women, said the University of Manchester researchers.
Read full press release.
January 24, 2011
According to Grant Newton, CEO of South African Sanlam Health, cellular network operator MTN and Sanlam have spent more than 10 years developing a series of questions that patients will answer by SMS or on the phone, which will enable doctors to diagnose 340 diseases. Times Live reports.
Patients will be required to key in "yes" or "no" answers to a series of voice prompts and then will be given a likely diagnosis and told how soon they need to see a doctor.
January 16, 2011
Cellphones have already proven to be a potent medical instrument in improving patient outcomes. USA Today reports.
Several military-run treatment trials are testing the promise of cellphones and online apps in patient care. U.S. Army Col. Ron Poropatich, who spoke at CES in Las Vegas last week, foresees patients tracking their blood pressure and other measurements using computers and devices, and those findings being monitored remotely by caregivers. Similarly, cellphones and online video can connect care-intensive patients who want to remain in their homes with off-site doctors and families.
USA Today takes a look at some of the health and medical advances on display last week at CES.
December 28, 2010
An ageing - and expanding - population is presenting health care providers and governments with a budgetary crisis.
Telecoms companies are also facing challenging times, with traditional markets reaching saturation, forcing them to explore other revenue streams.
Vodafone, Orange, AT&T Wireless, Turkey's Avea, and Japan's NTT DoCoMo are all investing in mobile healthcare.
Read BBC's special report on mobile applications for healthcare in Europe and Africa.
December 16, 2010
With the help of Strathmore University students, Hewlett Packard has developed a custom database application that uses cloud computing to capture, manage and return infant HIV test results in one to two days, a significant improvement from the previous paper-based system that took over one month. allAfrica reports.
Parents of the infant were required to travel to take blood samples to the nearest health facility from where it was brought to Nairobi via courier service. Results of the test were then taken back via courier service, taking a lot of time and resources," said Mr Matilu Mwau, the director and principal investigator of early infant diagnosis at the Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) in Busia.
December 15, 2010
Mobile phones could soon be helping re-assure Nigerians and Ghanaians they are getting genuine medicine. The BBC reports.
A pilot scheme in the two nations has begun putting unique scratch codes on more than 500,000 medicine bottles and packets of pills.
-- Mobile phones fight Africa's drug war - New systems that let users dial up to verify antimalarial and other drugs' authenticity could be a major defense against counterfeit meds.
-- Stop Stock-outs, an SMS program developed by Parson University students to track medicine inventories at the local level in many African villages.
-- Text messages across Nigeria are helping to track the distribution of some 63 million mosquito nets – the largest campaign of its kind to date.
-- Members of the public run a "pill check", visiting public hospitals to check the availability of drugs at their local clinic or hospital pharmacy.
-- A new solution developed by IBM, Novartis and Vodafone with the Roll Back Malaria Partnership, is helping to save lives using everyday technology to improve the availability of anti-malarial drugs in remote areas of Tanzania.
-- ... more
December 7, 2010
Those exposed before birth and in their childhood, were 50 per cent more likely to have behavioural problems than those exposed to neither.
Using a mobile phone while pregnant can damage your baby - In 2008, The Independent reported on an earlier study, which surveyed more than 13,000 children, and found that using the handsets just two or three times a day was enough to raise the risk of their babies developing hyperactivity and difficulties with conduct, emotions and relationships by the time they reached school age. With the likelihood of even greater problems if the children themselves use the phones before the age of seven.
Companies working on preventive measures:
-- Clarins Cosmetics' protective spray for cell phones - Called expertise 3p, it claimed to "reinforce skin's resistance to the harmful effects of artificial electromagnetic waves, thanks to, get this, "White Tea and Succory Dock-Cress, - which grows near motorways despite car emissions". The company was later told by The Advertising Standards Authority to withdraw these claims which were not proven and had made an "undue appeal" to readers' fears."
-- Anti radiation products with some science in them - The New York Times Gadgetwise blog looks into two companies that are developing products that neutralize environmental radiation coming from laptops and cell phones.
Protective clothing concepts:
-- Belarus authorities to introduce radiation safe school uniforms - The uniform features a dedicated pocket that can store the phone and make it safe for those who wear it.
-- Special clothing protects unborn babies in womb from cellphone radiation - MummyWrap, a sleeveless, loose-fitting garment for pregnant women made from a light-weight copper-based cotton fabric known as Swiss Shield.
-- New men's underwear protects from harmful cell phone rays - Swiss clothing manufacturer Isabodywear is launching a special line of men's underwear that claims to protect "men's sperm from harmful cell phone radiation".
-- A New York based store sells dress shirts and caps designed to protect people from electromagnetic fields -- or radiation -- given off by cell phones and electronic devices.
-- Singapore-based garment manufacturer Crocodile International launched smart pants or "Radiguard' specialty trousers" for cell-phone buffs who exposed exposed to the ultra magnetic emission from the cell-phones.
-- In September 2002, Levi Strauss announced the launch of a new Dockers' model with anti-radiation-lined pockets, prompted by customers' concerns about the possible health risks of mobile phone use.
December 3, 2010
Mounting scientific evidence suggests that nonthermal radio frequency radiation (RF)—the invisible energy waves that connect cell phones to cell towers, and power numerous other everyday items—can damage our immune systems and alter our cellular makeup, even at intensities considered safe by the FCC. Women's Health reports.
According to Cindy Sage, an environmental consultant in Santa Barbara, California, who has studied radiation for 28 years. "Here's why that's crucial: Overwhelming evidence shows that RF can cause DNA damage, and DNA damage is a necessary precursor to cancer."
Read full article.