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World's biggest study on cell phones and brain cancer inconclusive
Date:5/17/2010

particular, on the representativeness of the study subjects who participated. With participation rates in the range of 50 percent to 60 percent of eligible subjects, it is possible that the participants did not provide an accurate portrait of cell phone usage among cancer cases and among healthy control subjects. Dr. Siemiatycki argues this problem arose because of constraints imposed on researchers by ethics committees intended to protect potential research subjects.

"Ethics reviews are now so rigid that scientists from Canada, the United States and Europe are losing the kind of access to medical databases and to study subjects that is needed to conduct studies such as this one. Ethics committees increasingly require that researchers work through treating physicians, professionals who are already overworked, to recruit their patients. This may work for clinical research exploring treatment of cancer, in which physicians often have a professional or personal interest, but it does not work for investigations into the causes of cancer. This flawed system can produce biased study results."

Despite the inconclusive results of the Interphone Study, consumers should not panic about possible risks related to cell phones, stresses Dr. Siemiatycki. "If there are risks, they are probably pretty small. Should anyone be concerned about potential dangers of cell phones, they can remedy the issue by using hands-free devices and avoid exposure to radio frequencies around their head."


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Contact: Sylvain-Jacques Desjardins
sylvain-jacques.desjardins@umontreal.ca
514-343-7593
University of Montreal
Source:Eurekalert

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