Effect of Cell Phone Radiation on Neurological Function

Shubhra Jain
June 15, 2012

Submitted as coursework for PH250, Stanford University, Spring 2012


It is hard for most us to imagine a world without cell phones today. Ever since the explosion in numbers of cell phone users, scientists have been concerned about the ill effects of cell phone radiation on the health of the users. The connection between cell phone usage and various types of cancer (leukemia, brain tumors, acoustic neuroma etc.) is widely known and debated. However, relatively fewer people are aware of the effect of cell phone radiation on the neurological and cognitive function.

Review of Literature

Haarala et. al conducted behavioral tests in a case control study to conclude that normal cell phones do not affect the cognitive function of users. [1] Huber et. al. have proved that pulsed electromagnetic field exposure, as caused by cell phones affects regional Cerebral Blood Flow (CBF) and waking and sleep EEG. [2] Further they establish that exposure during waking modifies the EEG during subsequent sleep. [3] Thus the changes induced by EMF outlast the exposure period. Hung et. al used talk, silent and stand by modes in their study to conclude that the talk mode signal in fact delays sleep onset as determined by EEG patterns. [4] Hossman and Herman concluded that pulsed RF radiation from mobile phones damage brain cells that can lead to headache, mood swings, lethargy and depression. [5] Salford et. al. have also proved that electro magnetic radiation, such as those caused by the mobile phones can accelerate dementia and early onset of Alzheimer. [6]


Overall, from various studies done in this field, it is fairly clear that electro magnetic radiations from cell phones and their towers may be responsible for causing cognitive decline and damage to neuronal cells in users and nearby residents. Hence, precaution may be exercised to minimize exposure and use protection devices.

© Shubhra Jain. The author grants permission to copy, distribute and display this work in unaltered form, with attribution to the author, for noncommercial purposes only. All other rights, including commercial rights, are reserved to the author.


[1] C. Haarala et al., "Pulsed and Continuous Mobile Phone Exposure Over Left Versus Right Hemisphere: Effect on Human Cognitive Function," Bioelectromagnetics 28, 289 (2007).

[2] R. Huber et al., "Electromagnetic Fields, Such as Those From Mobile Phones, Alter Regional Cerebral Blood Flow and Sleep and Waking EEG," J. Sleep Res. 11, 289 (2002).

[3] R. Huber et al., "Exposure to Pulsed High-Frequency Electromagnetic During Waking Affects Human Sleep EEG," NeuroReport, 11, 3321 (2000).

[4] C.-S. Hung et al., "Mobile Phone 'Talk-Mode' Signal Delays EEG-Determined Sleep Onset," NeuroSci. Lett. 421, 82 (2007).

[5] K. A. Hossman and D. M. Hermann, "Effects of Electromagnetic Radiation of Mobile Phones on the Central Nervous System," Bioelectromagnetics 24, 49 (2003).

[6] L. G. Salford et al., "Nerve Cell Damage in Mammalian Brain After Exposure to Microwaves From GSM Mobile Phones," Environ. Health Perspect. 111, 881 (2003).