Mobile phones may be affecting the memory of teens

According to a new Swiss study, electromagnetic waves released by mobile phones could have a detrimental effect on the development of memory in adolescence.

Lower fertility rate, brain cancer, sleep disorders…  for several years, the effects of the electromagnetic fields on humans have been hotly debated. Recently, scientists have also been trying to determine if these waves, increasingly present in our daily lives because of technology, could have impacts on our health.

And according to a recent study by the Swiss Health Institute TPH, the radiation released by our mobile phones could affect the development of memory of adolescents. This work will be published in full on Monday, July 23 in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

For one year, the researchers submitted 700 Swiss youth aged 12 and 17 to various memory tests on the computer. Results: They identified a “significant drop” in the performance of Figurative Memory, located in the right hemisphere of the brain, in participants who used their mobile phone on their right ear. “This could suggest that the waves absorbed by the brain are responsible for the associations observed,” says Martin Röösli, author of the study.

On the other hand, sending SMS messages, playing games or surfing the Internet on one’s phone, exposed the brain to very weak electromagnetic radiation and was not associated by the researchers with any memory problem among young people.

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Since such experiences are relatively new, Martin Röösli recommends further research on the subject in order to rule out the possible influence of other factors on the subjects. “For example, these findings could have been affected by puberty, which impacts cell phone use and the cognitive and behavioral status of participants,” he explains.

This study, however, goes in the same direction as another carried out at the request of the French public authorities in July 2016, where experts from the National Agency for Food Safety, Environment and Labor (ANSES) alerted about the dangers of radio frequencies on children. The researchers had then demonstrated “possible effects on cognitive functions” of the young people studied such as memory, attention, psychomotor abilities or language. “The effects observed on the well-being could however be more related to the use of the mobile phones rather than to the radio frequencies which they emit”, however ANSES noted.

Abbad Farid

Abbad holds a degree in Journalism from the University of Cumbria and covers mostly world news for The Talking Democrat