Why research on the capacity of radiofrequency to cause malignancy

should be given a keen consideration
The relationship between phone use and cancer has become a controversial
issue. Recently I read an online article in the National Cancer
Institute Factsheet entitled “Cell Phones and Cancer Risk” by the
National Cancer Institute. The article addressed the main concerns
raised in the controversy about the capacity of radiofrequency energy
released by the cell phones to cause cancer. If the is true, then over 5
billion subscribers to a cell phone service in the world are at a risk
of contracting cancer (National Cancer Institute). The leading cancer
predisposing factor is the absorptive nature of the radio frequency
energy by tissues close to the phone. The article suggested that use of
for approximately 50 minutes on the same side of head per day increases
the rate of glucose metabolism. However, the mechanisms behind the
observation have not been identified and its potential link to cancer.
In addition, the article states that the scientist has managed to
identify heating as the only biological impact of radiofrequency energy.
A detailed research should be done to clear the unproven ideas about the
capacity of frequent use of the phone to cause cancer.
The author of the article “Cell Phones and Cancer Risk” was trying
to analyze a phenomenological study titled “Brain tumor risk in
relation to mobile telephone use” found in the International journal of
Epidemiology. The study begins by asserting that the no researcher has
so far managed to link the cell phone use to malignancy. Some of the
problems with most studies results from poor quality of methods of
assessing the radiofrequency exposure, studies being confined to the
relatively short period, and narrowing down to a few health risks
especially cancer and leukemia (Cardis et al 1693-1698). Researcher of
this study hypothesized that
H 0: Mobile phones increase the risk of brain tumor within the first
10-15 years of use.
H 1: Mobile phones do not increase the risk of brain tumor within the
first 10-15 years of use.
The study was carried out by interviewing phone users, 2708 of them with
glioma and 2409 with meningioma in 13 different countries (Cardis et al
1693-1698). The expected results were that exposure to radiofrequency
would cause brain tumor. The research subjects who had been diagnosed
with either glioma or meningioma were interviewed to determine the
duration of their phone use per day. This was intended to determine the
amount of exposure to radiofrequency energy and whether the energy was
responsible for either of the two conditions. The research had a reduced
odd ratio for regular mobile phone user with glioma compared to subjects
with meningioma. The interviews identified the estimated time of calls
per subject, from which the cumulative call time was computed. The study
did not distinguish the subjects on gender bases.
The study results indicated that the odds ratio was not elevated by more
than or equal to 10 years after the first phone use. This implies that
the odds ratios for cumulative call time were less than nine deciles.
The study identified that the odd ratio for cumulative time greater than
or equal to 1640 hours was 1.4 for subjects with glioma and 1.15 for
subjects with meninglioma (Cardis et al 1693-1698). In addition, the
study indicated that the odds ratios for subjects with glioma were
greater for subjects who used phone on the same side of their head
because the tumor was greater than on the other side.
I have several concerns about this study, although it was well
scientifically designed. First, the computation of the total call time
for the study subjects is questionable. The study relied on the
information provided by the subjects during the personal interview to
calculate the total call time for each of them. The main concern here is
the capacity of the respondents to remember the exact time when they
started using the mobile. Some may have started using the cell phones at
their childhood, which makes it difficult to remember the exact time
they first used the phones. In addition, determination of the time
that one uses the phone and the side of the head they frequently they
use when calling given that such information would be required later.
Secondly, the study had some participation bias because the
participants’ control of 53 % was lower relative to the case
participants for meningioma (78 %) and glioma (64 %) (National Cancer
Institute). In addition, the difference in the total number of
participants between the two conditions (glioma and meniglioma) is
larger than necessary. This raises the question of validity of the
results obtained and the study`s conclusion. This is because the small
number of subjects with meninglioma may have reduced the frequency of
regular phone users compared to frequency of regular phone user in the
glioma case (Vogel 100-102). Use of approximately equal number of
subjects for both conditions may have reduced the variations observed in
their odd ratios.
The news article provided a brief analysis of the research leaving out
significant pieces of information such the procedure used in data
collection and data analysis. This limited the chances for the readers
of the article to evaluate the credibility the original research and the
validity of the research obtained. However, the online link to the
original research was provided.  This would ease the access to the
full research paper. This would be beneficial only to the readers who
had enough time to search and review the whole of the research paper.
In conclusion, the concepts in the news article are a summary and
analytics of the research journal article. The two articles attempt to
identify the link between frequent uses of cell phone tumor development.
The difference in the approach used in the two articles varies slightly
because the news articles derive its concepts from the research journal
article, but elaborates the notions in collaboration with findings of
other researchers. However, the analysis provided by the news journal
does not provide a conclusive remark about the capacity of
radiofrequency causing malignancy. On the other hand, the research
journal article differs from most of the research findings integrated
analyzed in the news journal. This is because the research journal
managed to identify the link between the regular use of phone and
glioma. However, the weaknesses evident in the research journal
(including the difference in the number of participants for glioma and
meniglioma and participation bias) necessitate a further research that
will produce valid results.
Works cited
Cardis, E., Deltour, I. Combalot, E. and Moissonnier, M. “Brain tumor
risk in relation to mobile telephone use”. International Journal of
Epidemiology. 39. 3 (2010): 695-698. US National Library of Medicine
online. 17 May, 2010. Web.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2878457/
National Cancer Institute. Cell Phones and cancer. National Institute of
Health. 18 June, 2012. Web. 25 February 2013.
http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/cellphones
Vogel, M. Sampling bias and class imbalance in maximum-likelihood
logistic regression. International Association for Mathematical
Geosciences. 43. (2011): 100-102.
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