Written By: Ryan McCaughey, PhD.

Scientists have found that cell phone radiation exposure has a negative effect on memory performance in adolescents.

A study of over 600 12 to 17 year olds at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) found cumulative cell phone RF exposure over one year may have a negative effect on the development of figural memory performance.[i] Figural memory, which is the ability to recall abstract shapes, is mainly located in the right brain hemisphere and association with RF was more pronounced in adolescents using the phone on the right side of the head. Verbal memory which is more typically associated with the left side of the brain was not affected.

However, in 2010 scientists at the University of South Florida found that when mice genetically predisposed to develop Alzheimer’s were exposed to cell phone radiation they did not suffer from memory impairments as they aged, unlike their radiation-free counterparts.

The potential effect of cell phone radiation to the brain is a relatively new field of scientific inquiry. "It is not yet clear how RF-EMF could potentially affect brain processes or how relevant our findings are in the long-term," said Martin Röösli, Head of Environmental Exposures and Health at Swiss TPH.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends limiting cell phone use for children and teenagers. They are concerned that current cell phone radiation safety limits are based on large adults – but because children’s skulls are thinner they can absorb more radiation. Research predicts that the radiation absorption in brain tissues of children aged between 5 and 8 years is about two times higher than in adults. Read more about cell phones and children in a previous blog post: https://brinkcase.com/blogs/brinkcase/cellphones-and-children



[i] https://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/EHP2427/