Do mobile phones protect against Alzheimer's?Surprising results in animal study
Some good news for a change for those who spend hours every day talking on their mobile - scientists have found it may protect against, and even reverse Alzheimer's disease.
Despite past studies linking long term mobile phone use with a low risk of developing brain tumours, the results of this research found it stopped Alzheimer's disease from developing.
In the study - published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease - US scientists used mice which had been genetically altered to develop brain plaques and memory problems as they grew older, similar to Alzheimer's disease.
Cages containing Alzheimer's and normal mice were arranged around a central antenna which emitted electromagnetic waves typical of standard mobile phone use for two one-hour periods each day for seven to nine months.
Each animal was housed the same distance from the antenna and exposed to electromagnetic waves typically given out by a cell phone pressed up against a human head.
Scientists were surprised to find that Alzheimer's mice exposed to the electromagnetic waves when young adults - before any noticeable signs of disease - were as good as normal mice in lab tests designed to test memory and thinking skills.
If older Alzheimer's mice already showing memory problems were exposed to the electromagnetic waves, their memory impairment disappeared.
And months of mobile phone exposure even boosted the memories of normal mice to above-normal levels.
As the memory benefits of cell phone exposure took months to show up, the scientists suggested that a similar effect in humans would take years of using a mobile phone to get the same level of electromagnetic exposure.
Professor Gary Arendash from the Alzheimer's Disease Research Centre at the University of South Florida who led the study, described the results as "astonishing."
The scientists concluded that electromagnetic field exposure could be a drug free and non-invasive way to prevent and treat Alzheimer's in humans and in other patients with brain plaques caused by severe injury.
This article was published on Thu 7 January 2010
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