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National Brain Tumor Foundation - Cell Phones And Brain Tumors: A Bad Connection?
PR Newswire
03/06/00

The news about cell phones and public health continues to be confusing. Some studies suggest a correlation between cell phone emissions and a slightly higher incidence of human brain tumors. Other studies debunk these findings. Still, some consumer groups suggest radio frequencies from cell phones cause genetic damage.

What is certain is that there is a boom in people using cell phones, as well as an increase in brain tumor incidence. Many people continue to be exposed to electromagnetic fields or live near power lines. Are they are at risk for a brain tumor?

"We still don't know what causes brain tumors," says Roberta McKean-Cowdin, Ph.D., Post Doctoral Fellow at the Department of Preventive Medicine at the University of Southern California. Dr. McKean-Cowdin, will speak at the 6th National Brain Tumor Conference, March 31-April 2, in Los Angeles on the causes of brain tumors.

"We know brain tumors are on the rise in children, and they peak in young children from birth to age ten, decline between the ages of 10-25, and increase linearly to age 65," says Dr. McKean-Cowdin. "While we can't always pinpoint the cause of a brain tumor, we do know a little about risk factors."

Risk factors include heavy exposure to ionizing radiation, such as X-rays, electromagnetic fields, pesticides, and a family history of brain tumors. In animal studies, nitrite compounds found in cured meats caused tumors. A few studies found that radio frequencies, such as the type found in cell phones, increase the division of already damaged cells. Nevertheless, Dr. McKean-Cowdin warns that this may depend on how much exposure to radio frequencies a person has. It's very hard to track the etiology of a brain tumor and Dr. McKean-Cowdin knows this first hand. Last year, her sister-in-law was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

Because many of the emerging studies on radio frequencies are inconclusive, questions about radio frequencies and use of some daily appliances still remain a mystery. As a way of addressing these questions, Dr. McKean-Cowdin will present the latest information on causes of brain tumors at the conference on Friday, March 31, 2000.

This innovative and comprehensive conference is sponsored by the National Brain Tumor Foundation (NBTF), a non-profit organization in Oakland, California, founded to raise funds for research and to provide education and compassionate support to those who have been diagnosed with brain tumors. The conference, The Power of Help, Hope & Healing, is open to brain tumor survivors, family members, friends and health professionals. For further information, please contact the NBTF at www.braintumor.org or the Patient Information Hotline at 800-934-2873.