I don’t know whether or not cellphones give you brain tumors, but I do shudder just a little every time the thought crosses my mind while I’m on the phone. Well, even if cellphones are destroying our brains, it’s possible they may be fixing them at the same time.
University of South Florida researchers have found that long-term exposure to the electromagnetic waves associated with cellphone use may actually protect against Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, they may even work to reverse the condition.
So far, this has only been shown with lab mice. The scientists started with 96 mice, most of which were genetically engineered to develop beta amyloid protein deposits in the brain, which is one of the main things that happens to human who have Alzheimer’s. Some were “non-demented” — in other words, normal. For a period of seven to nine months, for two hours a day, all the mice were exposed to about the same level of cellphone waves you’d get if you held one up to your head.
The results were that old mice with the protein buildups saw a reduction in beta amyloids. Basically, they got better, and their memory function was restored. Young mice engineered to collect beta amyloids did not experience the build-ups. Among the normal mice, memory actually improved. Not sure how you test a mouse’s memory, but that’s why I’m not a scientist making potentially life-saving discoveries.
Don’t get too excited yet, though — William Thies, chief medical and scientific officer for the Alzheimer’s Association, called the study “interesting,” but stressed that the results are very preliminary and that a lot more work needs to be done. Then there’s that whole thing about how the very same radiation might cause brain tumors — so best not to try to self-medicate on this one, especially if you’re driving.