UK Study to Look at Mobile Phone Health Impacts on Children

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A major new UK study has been launched to study the effects of mobile phones on children's health.

Unlike previous studies, which have looked only at mobile phone emissions, the new 3-year study will also include Wi-Fi usage.

School children who enroll in the programme will have an app installed in their smartphone to track usage, and then cognitive tests will be carried out over the trial to see is there is any link between brain development and phone use.

"We need to investigate because it is a new technology," Professor Paul Elliot, director of Medical Research Council Centre for Environment and Health at Imperial College.

"Scientific evidence available to date is reassuring and shows no association between exposure to radiofrequency waves from mobile phone use and brain cancer in adults in the short term

"But the evidence available regarding long term heavy use and children's use is limited and less clear."

The Study of Cognition, Adolescents and Mobile Phones (SCAMP) will be the largest study in the world to look at potential damage to children's brains.

The study will focus on cognitive functions such as memory and attention, which continue to develop into adolescence.

One of the key changes to mobile phone over over the past few years though has been a reduction in the use of holding the phone next to the head, as teenagers increasingly turn to text messaging apps.

"As mobile phones are a new and widespread technology central to our lives, carrying out the SCAMP study is important in order to provide the evidence base with which to inform policy and through which parents and their children can make informed life choices," said Dr Mireille Toledano of Imperial College, the Principal Investigator of the study.

Although mobile phone emissions are classified as "possibly carcinogenic to humans" by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, they have the same danger ranking drinking a cup of coffee.

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