Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Cell phones and brain health
I think it was in one of the DAN! (Defeat Autism Now!) conferences a few years ago where I sat and listened to the discussion about cell phone radiation and its impact on the brain. I remember seeing data on brain scans showing blood flood. We have this nifty thing called a blood brain barrier, which defined by Wikipedia is :
The blood–brain barrier (BBB) is a separation of circulating blood and the brain extracellular fluid (BECF) in the central nervous system (CNS). It occurs along all capillaries and consists of tight junctions around the capillaries that do not exist in normal circulation. Endothelial cells restrict the diffusion of microscopic objects (e.g. bacteria) and large or hydrophilic molecules into the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), while allowing the diffusion of small hydrophobic molecules (O2, hormones, CO2). Cells of the barrier actively transport metabolic products such as glucose across the barrier with specific proteins. This barrier also includes a thick basement membrane and astrocytic endfeet.
So just to be clear, the blood brain barrier is a very good thing as it keeps out harmful bacteria and certain neurotoxins. As I listened to this presentation, they discussed how in the research they monitored the flow of blood into the brain using dye. Clearly the areas of the brain were not dyed because of this blood brain barrier. Yet, when a cell phone was placed next to the head, low and behold, that area of the brain became penetrable. Ruh roh!! Since then, I have been much more conscious of using my plugged headset (no blue tooths for the similar reasons). And for my children, I do NOT let them talk on my cell phone unless it is through the speaker phone. Radiation is harmful (see my blog post on microwaving your food too!) and we should avoid it when at all possible. Technology may be changing but our body and the way it handles these things hasn't. Reducing our exposures to the bad things as much as we can is certainly the prudent way to stay healthier longer. And, if you want to learn more, just look at some of the disorders that can come from compromised blood brain barriers (hint, those include Alzheimer's and MS!). No one is saying throw away every single cell phone but certainly be aware of what you are holding next to your brain for hours.
Here is an article on the best and worst offenders, to read it, click HERE