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Vidyya, from the Sanskrit "vaidya," a practitioner who has come to understand the science of life.

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Back To Vidyya Study Of 420,000 Danish Cell Phone Users Finds No Evidence Of Cancer

Study Appears In Today's Issue Of The Journal Of The National Cancer Institute

Scientists who tracked the health of 420,000 Danish cell phone users found no sign the devices cause cancer, the biggest study yet to provide reassurance about the phones' safety-- but one that won't completely settle the controversy.

The study, published in Wednesday's Journal of the National Cancer Institute, found no link between cell phones and brain and nervous system cancers, leukemia or salivary gland tumors, the cancer types that have worried critics.

"Every which way we looked at it, we could not find any suggestive evidence for elevated risks," said John Boice of the International Epidemiology Institute, who co-authored the study with Christoffer Johansen of Copenhagen's Danish Cancer Society.

Taken together with two smaller U.S. studies that, in December, found no cancer risk, the research should "minimize the concern and fears that the public has with regard to the use of these phones and cancer risk," he added.

But it won't end cancer questions, because while several thousand Danes had used their phones for over 10 years _ the time it can take a slow-growing brain tumor to appear _ the majority used them for about three years.

Consequently, "this study ... should not be taken as the final answer to the cell phone-cancer issue," said University of Washington professor Henry Lai, whose laboratory research helped spark concern when he linked cell phone signals with damage to rat brain cells.

Cell phones work by beaming radiofrequency energy, a type of low-powered radiation that many radiation specialists believe isn't high enough to cause harm. But much of the RF waves are beamed from the phones' antenna, right by the brain. Most studies haven't found any cancer risk, but a few, like Lai's and a recent Swedish study that found brain tumors more likely on the side of the head on which cell phones were used, have raised concern.

Johansen gathered cell phone company records to compile a list of Danes who began using the phones anytime since 1982. He matched those names to the Danish Cancer Registry, a unique database that tracks every Dane, from birth, who gets any type of cancer. By using such precise statistics, Boice and Johansen could track whether cell phone users suffer cancer at the same rate as other Danes.

Based on the national cancer rates, 161 cell phone users should have suffered brain or nervous system cancer, but only 154 did. Similarly, there were 84 leukemia cases instead of an expected 86, and seven salivary gland tumors instead of the expected nine.


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Editor: Susan K. Boyer, RN
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