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Study: Cellphone Radiation Linked to Behavior Problems in Mice

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW HAVEN, Conn.) -- A new study could re-ignite the debate over the potentially dangerous effects of cellphone radiation on children's behavior.

Researchers from the Yale School of Medicine found that exposing pregnant mice to radiation from a cellphone affected the behavior of their offspring later.  They found that the mice exposed to radiation as fetuses were more hyperactive, had more anxiety and poorer memory -- symptoms associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) -- than mice who were not exposed to radiation.

Neurological tests revealed that the radiation exposure led to abnormal development of neurons in the part of the brain linked to ADHD, leading the authors to suggest that cellphone radiation exposure may play a role in the disorder.

"During critical windows in neurogenesis, the brain is susceptible to numerous environmental insults; common medically relevant exposures include ionizing radiation, alcohol, tobacco, drugs and stress," wrote the authors, led by Dr. Hugh Taylor, professor and chief of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility.

They added that while their study provides "the first experimental evidence of neuropathology due to in-utero cellular telephone radiation," the data are not conclusive, and more research is needed to determine the effects of radiation on humans or non-human primates.

Dr. F. Sessions Cole, professor of pediatrics and chief of newborn medicine at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, said that while the research is "provocative," the data are a long way from being applicable to humans.

"Mice are very different than humans," he said.  "The distance the phone was placed away from the mice in the study was between 4 and 20 centimeters, which is a very short distance compared to the distance from the ear to the womb in humans.  It's likely the dose of radiation the mice received is much greater than what a human fetus would receive."

Cole added that mice also have a much shorter gestation period, only 19 or 20 days, which can also mean a very different type of exposure than humans.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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