Swinburne brain study findings well within normal variations

The findings of the Swinburne study into cognitive effects associated with the use of mobile phones are not consistent with previous research on brain activity, the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) said today.

AMTA Manager, Communications, Randal Markey, said some of the effects reported in the Swinburne University of Technology’s Brain Sciences Institute in Melbourne study were small and well within normal variations and it was possible that the results were the consequence of chance variability or “statistical noise”.

Indeed the scientific researcher Professor Stough was quoted saying he would not give away his mobile phone. “It’s such a part of modern society… and we haven’t established that there’s negative health consequences. That’s a different type of study.”

Mr Markey said the results should be treated with caution until they were replicated by another independent laboratory.

“While some previous small studies have appeared in the media suggesting mobile phones affect memory and other cognitive function, recent attempts to replicate these studies have not been successful when the study size was increased,” he said.

AMTA relies on international health authorities, such as the World Health Organisation, for assessments of health and safety impacts. These organisations agree there is no substantiated scientific evidence of any effect on memory or other cognitive functions from using mobile phones.

The WHO said of studies raising questions about cognitive effects: These effects are small and have no apparent health significance. More studies are in progress to try and confirm these findings. Mr Markey said the paper’s researchers had made it clear that any small changes in brain activity, like those reported, could not be considered a health effect.

AMTA supports further research to advance the science in relation to mobile phones and health so that people can make informed choices about the technology.

For more information call Randal Markey, Manager, Communications, on (02) 62396555 or 0421240550