Study: Does cellphone use impact child brain development?

We frequently write about the causes and consequences associated with traumatic brain injuries. However, not all brain injuries occur as a result of a sudden impact. As cellphones become ubiquitous in numerous parts of the world, medical professionals, safety experts and the public generally are left wondering if these devices can harm the human brain.

Most recently, British researchers announced that they are launching the largest study that the world has ever seen on the subject of whether cellphone use can harm brain development in children. The research project that is currently being launched is called the Study of Cognition, Adolescents and Mobile Phones (SCAMP).

Until now, the majority of research focused on cellphone use and potential harm to the human brain has centered on adult brain cancer development. SCAMP aims to determine whether cognitive functions including attention span and memory are impacted by the use of cellphones and other wireless devices in childhood and adolescence.

This study is particularly important because while scientists have long understood that the brains of children are more vulnerable than the brains of adults, the impact of wireless devices on child and adolescent brains have yet to be studied in depth. As one of the co-leaders of SCAMP recently explained, “Scientific evidence available to date is reassuring and shows no association between exposure to radiofrequency waves from mobile phone use and brain cancer in adults in the short term—i.e. less than 10 years of use. But the evidence available regarding long term heavy use and children’s use is limited and less clear.”

Source: Carrier Management, “British Researchers Studying Childhood Brain Development Impact of Mobile Phone Use,” Kate Kelland, May 22, 2014