A new study published in Clinical Neurophysiology suggests it doesn’t take years or even months of exposure for cell phone radiation to (negatively) alter our brains—it only takes minutes. The phones used in this double-blind, crossover, randomized study emitted LTE radiation, or the LTE technology so popular in “fourth generation” (4G) phones, the phones everyone clamors for.
The researchers exposed the right ears of 18 study participants to LTE radio frequency radiation. In just 30 minutes, they observed changes in brain activity. The radiation levels were within legal limits and the phone was always kept 1 cm from the ear.
Brain activity was measured using MRIs twice during a resting state, once after LTE exposure, and once after being exposed to “sham” exposure or a control. Both the right and left hemispheres of the brain were affected by the radiation.
Though this certainly isn’t the first study to examine how cells phones and electromagnetic frequencies alter regions of the brain, this is the first study to be carried out on LTE technology, the “fastest developing mobile system technology ever,” according to Global Mobile Suppliers Association. And the U.S. is the largest market for LTE in the world. More than half of the 91 million LTE subscribers around the world in March 2013 were in the U.S.
What do these changes in brain activity mean? We don’t know that yet, but previous studies have linked such cell phone radiation to sperm damage, weakened bones, increased “genetic stress”, cellular damage, and certainly brain cancer. Some have suggested it can lead to autism and Alzheimer’s disease in the long term.