Lesedauer: 8 Minuten

The revolution of smartphones  

The invention of mobile smartphones has revolutionized communication, interaction, and the ability to acquire information within a matter of seconds. It has reshaped work, tasks, and pastime activities. Along with the positive aspects, are there any negative aspects regarding this object of necessity many cannot see a world without? 

What is electromagnetic radiation? How is it transmitted through phones? Is it harmful? 

Health safety has become a major concern in regard to users of wireless appliances, especially smartphones. These hazard inquiries are linked to possible adverse health effects from electromagnetic (EM) fields and radio frequency radiations (RFR) stemming from excessive use. Mobile communication involves a signal being transferred through EM waves; further through RFR and microwave signals. EM radiation is emitted from the signal in the form of thermal radiation, composed of ionizing and non-ionizing radiation. Non-ionizing EM radiation (specifically RFR) is energy produced from sources like smartphones, power lines and other electrical devices

EM radiation cannot be seen but is around us most of the time. Unlike ionizing radiation, which has high-frequency waves, non-ionizing radiation has a lower frequency which previously has been considered safe. However, recent studies have proven that non-ionizing EM radiation harms living tissues within the body. Questions regarding neurological effects from EM emissions have arisen due to increased excessive smartphone use.

EM from smartphone use on the brain   

It is not uncommon for people to self-diagnose with body aches related to excessive phone use. On the contrary, neurological effects from EM are more difficult to distinguish or recognize. An organism’s nervous system controls its environmental responses by way of automatic and voluntary muscular movements and functions. Therefore, it is suggested that excessive exposure of EM results in behavioral changes from neurological effects or implications. Most of the energy smartphones emit is deposited into the outer region of the cerebral cortex, a part of the brain. 

The concern is whether the energy emitted from electrical devices affects the blood-brain barrier. This is a biological region that surrounds the brain, blocking specific harmful molecules from entering the central nervous system. Studies have shown that excessive/high-intensity exposure from EM radiations with altering body temperatures can affect blood-brain barrier permeability. Permeability is the membrane’s ability to allow liquid/substances to move through the body. Data revealed repeated exposure of low frequencies also affects the blood-brain barrier, enabling harmful substances to enter the brain

Neurological effects from electromagnetic radiation and radio frequency radiation  

Exposure of radio frequency radiations from smartphones can change blood flow and pinocytosis (cells taking up nutrients through liquid). These can produce negative neurological effects provoking changes in brain function. Neurotransmitters are molecules that retain information and pass it from one nerve cell to another. After excessive exposure to RFR, changes in various neurotransmitters can occur; including fluctuating serotonin levels, and metabolic changes in brain tissue development. 

“I will never quit using my smartphone even though my daily lifestyles are affected by it.” 

You don’t have to live without it, moderate it. 

It is no surprise many are skeptical of phones causing neurological damage; this would mean confronting a “necessity.” But, regardless, there are solutions to prevent further harm. Instead of eradicating smartphones, which would be impossible, the best advice is to limit usage. Turn it off at night, pay attention to addictive tendencies, and moderate screen time.

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Further Reading Recommendations: 

Choi, Y. J., & Choi, Y. S. (2016). Effects of Electromagnetic Radiation from Smartphones on Learning Ability and Hippocampal Progenitor Cell Proliferation in Mice. Osong public health and research perspectives, 7(1), 12–17.

Lai, H. (1997, September). Neurological effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation relating to wireless communication technology. In IBC-UK Conference:‘‘Mobile Phones–Is There a Health Risk.

Nath, A., & Mukherjee, S. (2015). Impact of Mobile Phone/Smartphone: A pilot study on positive and negative effects. International Journal, 3(5), 294-302.

Subramani Parasuraman, A. T. S., Yee, S. W. K., Chuon, B. L. C., & Ren, L. Y. (2017). Smartphone usage and increased risk of mobile phone addiction: A concurrent study. International journal of pharmaceutical investigation, 7(3), 125.