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Cell phones, the brain, and risk perception

The investigation into the impact of cell phones on our brains and how to process the mixed messages and uncertainty that sometimes accompany scientific studies was the subject of a public luncheon held on Capital Hill on September 7 titled "Cell Phones: How Do They Affect the Brain?"

The luncheon was attended by policy makers, their staff, and various non-profit and lobbying groups who advise our nation's leaders.

The speakers were:

Nora D. Volkow, M.D., is the Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse within the National Institutes of Health. She is the author of "Effects of Cell Phone Radio-frequency Signal Exposure on Brain Glucose Metabolism" (Journal of the American Medical Association, 2011). She presented the findings of her study on the effects of cell phones on the brain. She found that cell phones do have an effect on brain function, but needs more research to determine if that effect is good or bad. In the meantime, she has several simple and cheap solutions to protect your brain from the signals from cell phones.

George M Gray, Ph.D., is the Director of the Center for Risk Science and Public Health, and a professor in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, at the George Washington University. He presented about the mixed messages around the effects of cell phones on the brain. He talks about the variables that impact how people perceive risk, and how policy makers can act accordingly.

  • Watch this video of his presentation to learn about the mixed ideas around the risks from cell phones, and how the different variables around risks affect the fear they may, or may not, cause.

Please note, small technical complications caused the audio on these videos to be slightly distorted. We apologize for the inconvenience.

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