* Cellular Phone Radiofrequency Alters Gene Expression - Building a Safer Cell Phone Antenna  (11/10/02)

Tramès per Klaus Rudolph (Citizens' Initiative Omega)

Exposure to Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM) Cellular Phone Radiofrequency Alters Gene Expression, Proliferation, and Morphology of Human Skin Fibroblasts 
Oncology Research, 2002, vol. 13, no.1, pp. 19-24(6)
Pacini S.[1]; Ruggiero M.[2]; Sardi I.[1]; Aterini S.[2]; Gulisano F.[3]; Gulisano M.[1]
[1]*Department of Human Anatomy, Histology and Forensic Medicine, University of Firenze, viale Morgagni 85, 50134 Firenze, Italy
[2]?Department of Experimental Pathology and Oncology, University of Firenze, viale Morgagni 85, 50134 Firenze, Italy
[3]?Department of Physics, University of Firenze, viale Morgagni 85, 50134 Firenze, Italy

Human skin fibroblasts were exposed to global system for mobile communication (GSM) cellular phone radiofrequency for 1 h. GSM exposure induced alterations in cell morphology and increased the expression of mitogenic signal transduction genes (e.g., MAP kinase kinase 3, G2/mitotic-specific cyclin G1), cell growth inhibitors (e.g., transforming growth factor-), and genes controlling apoptosis (e.g., bax). A significant increase in DNA synthesis and intracellular mitogenic second messenger formation matched the high expression of MAP kinase family genes. These findings show that these electromagnetic fields have significant biological effects on human skin fibroblasts.

ISSN: 0965-0407

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Informant: Jörg Wichmann

Building a Safer Cell Phone Antenna

By Jay Wrolstad
June 14, 2002

"The danger is that if you reduce it too much, you will lose the signal, and the base station will increase the power if it detects a weak signal."

Nortel Networks is focused on changing how the world communicates and exchanges information. It is supplying its customers with technology to enable value-added IP data, voice and multimedia services spanning MANs, Wireless Networks, and Optical Long Haul Networks. Scientists at a British university, taking advantage of their research in GPS  (global positioning system) location-based technology, have reported a breakthrough in antenna design that could result in safer mobile phones.

Engineers at Loughborough University's Centre for Mobile Communications Research (CMCR) say their work may yield a new antenna that will reduce cell phone  radiation emissions absorbed into the body. The small-scale antenna initially was designed for devices receiving GPS signals from satellites, CMCR head Yiannis Vardaxoglou told NewsFactor. However, the researchers later discovered that the antenna had a low radiation SAR (specific absorption rate).

While some of the radio frequency radiation emitted by mobile phones is dissipated into the air, some is absorbed in the user's head. Given the widespread concern over potential health hazards associated with cell phone use -- hazards that are, as yet, unproven -- a reduction in emissions would represent a significant development in phone safety. A reduction in the SAR of up to 85 percent was accomplished, Vardaxoglou explained, by creating an antenna using helical, or spiral, copper tracks etched into a small ceramic cylinder. The antenna measures about one centimeter in diameter by one centimeter in length.

Compromise Required
The GeoHelix antennas have been used by GPS handset and wireless location-device manufacturers because the low near-field technology enables weak satellite signals to be received even when the equipment is near a building or the signal is blocked by the user's body. "The danger is that if you reduce it too much, you will lose the signal, and the base station will increase the power if it detects a weak signal," Vardaxoglou said. "We are trying to produce a compromise in which we can control  the signal power and retain efficiency of the mobile phone," he added.

Health Hazard?
The project is still in the experimental stages, although a mobile phone model with the new antenna has been built. "A lot of work remains on integrating the antenna into a  mobile phone. There is no generic solution, since the devices -- and the way they are used -- vary significantly," Vardaxoglou said.

Many countries and regions have established strict SAR safety standards. For example, the European Union limit is two watts per kg. Recently, China proposed an even stricter standard of one watt per kg. Studies from the National Cancer Institute, the Journal of the American Medical Association and the New England Journal of Medicine state there is no definitive link between cell phone use and cancer risk. Even so, those groups have said that more research is needed on the risks of long-term use.

Phantom Head
The antenna also has applications for Bluetooth-enabled devices that use short-range wireless connections. Vardaxoglou said his technology would reduce the interference that often plagues Bluetooth  networks that connect several devices in an office. "That puts a lot of stress on the network, and people are finding out that it requires a better antenna than the simple copper wire stuck on the end of a chip that is currently being used," he said. Still, Vardaxoglou primarily is concerned about mobile phone health issues and reducing SAR levels. As a result, he said, the CMCR researchers have made major investments in supercomputers and an assessment system to accurately measure the radiation absorbed by a "phantom head."


Informant: Volker Hartenstein, Member of the Bavarian Parliament

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