Can Your Cell Phone Create Brain Damage?

February 25, 2011
Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Award-winning nutritionist and New York Times bestselling author.

75779921Even low-level radiation from mobile phones zaps the brain.

This just in: Wednesday’s issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reports that simply holding an activated cell phone next to your head for less than an hour (50 minutes to be exact) changes brain metabolism—and you don’t even need to be talking on your phone!

Nora Volkow, MD, lead researcher of the National Institutes of Health and the Brookhaven National Lab team that reported the study, said in JAMA that the “regions expected to have the greatest absorption of RF-EMFs from the cell phone exposure were the ones that showed the larger increases in glucose metabolism.”

Volkow also explained to the New York Times, “The study is important because it documents that the human brain is sensitive to the electromagnetic radiation that is emitted by cell phones.”

“Even though these are weak signals, the human brain is activated by them,” she said.

This stunning new study underscores the research that I presented in Zapped—which suggests that the human body is really the “body electric.” Human beings are exquisitely sensitive to even the slightest radiation exposures, like the non-ionizing radiation emitted from cell phones and cordless phones. It’s not the power that’s the problem (non-ionizing radiation does not actually heat tissue), but the pulsating signal which negatively impacts the body. These artificial, man-made frequencies are picked up by the body as “normal” and become intertwined with our own bodily functions, misdirecting cellular communication in a myriad of ways—creating a biochemical stress response.

While this new research does not explore long-term effects, The Swedish National Institute for Working Life has found that, among over 900 people diagnosed with brain tumors, those who used their mobile phones most often and for the longest period of time had a 240% greater risk for malignant brains tumors.

“The only honest way to think of our cell phones is that they are tiny, low-power microwave ovens, without walls, that we hold against the sides of our heads,” says journalist Christopher Ketcham. Recent Austrian research shows that exposure to mobile phone base stations—considerably lower than current guidelines allow—”may influence psychobiological stress markers,” including the stress hormone cortisol and important immune factors.

And a double-blind peer-reviewed study in the European Journal of Oncology exposed its subjects to radiation generated by a digital cordless phone for 3-minute intervals. The results link cordless phones—which transmit pulsed signals similar to WiFi networks—to heart palpitations and other autonomic nervous system problems. Even low-level electromagnetic fields (EMFs) from all our electrical wiring, and electrical and wireless gadgets are associated with elevated LDL (bad) cholesterol, aches and pains, depression, and anxiety.

In addition, “There are actually quite a lot of studies showing cell phone radiation associated with other events, like sleep disturbances,” says Henry Lai, PhD, at the University of Washington. Even low-level radiation—found in cell and cordless phones, microwaves, and wireless—is linked to the formation of free radicals, damaging DNA and leading to mutations that can cause cancer.

What’s the Answer?
As exclusively reported by Microwave News, Dr. Volkow believes in adhering to the precautionary principle. “Because we are uncertain of whether there are or are not long term consequences, she said, “My recommendation is to use a wired earpiece, use the cell phone in speaker mode or text messages.”

Interestingly, also reported by Microwave News, “The closing sentence of the original version of the JAMA paper advised cell phone users to keep the antenna away from the brain by using a wired earpiece. This was edited in the review/revision process.”

Regardless, I would go one step beyond the wired earpiece. I believe that the air-tube earpiece is even safer than the wired headsets. It separates your head from the wires and the speaker! I use this all the time. It is very light and actually quite comfortable. You can check out it out at I am also a huge believer in fortifying the system from the inside out, which is why I am such an advocate of Oxi-Key, the supplement that contains the highest doses of SOD and Catalase—antioxidants that are destroyed by all kinds of EMFS. Its sulfur-rich amino acids help to detox most other pollutants and environmental toxins that are contributing to modern-day toxic overload.

Zapped: Why Your Cell Phone Shouldn’t Be Your Alarm Clock and 1,268 Ways to Outsmart the Hazards of Electronic Pollution

Related Articles and Podcasts

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, is an award-winning New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty books including The Fat Flush Plan series and her latest book, Radical Metabolism. She’s been rewriting the rules of nutrition for more than 40 years and is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the field of diet, detox and women’s health issues. 

For a FREE daily dose of tips and strategies for maintaining healthy weight, conquering insomnia, and much more…check out my Radical Health Tips.

I’d like to meet and greet you on my Facebook groups, so won’t you check us out at the Radical Metabolism RevolutionFat Flush Nation, or my Inner Circle!


  1. Trish

    Many people do not understand the dangers of cell phones and other wireless devices. I’m so glad that Ann Louise is getting the word out about these dangers. Try to get someone to give up their cell phone. Just try. The new cell phone you buy today is obsolete by the time you get it home and need to get a new cell phone!

    Ann Louise, please keep up the great work you are doing. Our health and the health of our children and loved ones is so precious.

  2. Susan

    This artilce is so timely for me. I am currently fighting with Edison over having a “smart meter” installed on my house so they can read my meter remotely without a human meter reader coming to my house. Data all over the internet says the EMF’s put off by these things is off the charts. Because I have had struggles with my adrenals for 2 years -and therefore all my homones because the adrenals run them all- I do not want this thing put on my house!

    The electric company is saying that the meter puts off no more EMF’s than a cell phone and is perfectly safe. They told me there is no data that proves EMF’s are dangerous and if I don’t agree to the meter, they wil cut off my power.

    Perhaps I should tell them to read Dr. Ann’s book!! I will keep fighting this, so wish me luck! In the meantime, grounding has done wonders for me.

  3. Administrator

    A new study on wireless „smart‟ meters shows they are likely to violate Federal Communications Commission (FCC) safety limits in some instances where they are installed and operated close to where people spend time in their homes and back yards. . Further, the study found it typical to have excessively elevated radiofrequency (RF) radiation levels in rooms adjacent to the meter, comparable to living within 200 – 600 feet of cell phone towers. . Scientific studies have reported adverse health effects from chronic exposure to pulsed RF at the same levels and frequencies emitted by smart meters.
    Health impacts can include neurological symptoms such as headache, sleep disruption, restlessness, tremors, cognitive impairment, and tinnitus, as well as increased cancer risk and heart problems such as arrythmias, altered heart rhythms, and palpitations.[1] “From a public health point of view, it is very shortsighted to bring on new sources of human exposure to radiofrequency radiation without any attention to the adverse effects on human health. Smart meters result in a significant increase of exposure to a form of radiation already shown to cause cancer and other diseases.” David O. Carpenter, M.D. Director, Institute for Health and the Environment, University at Albany, New York. .
    1. Khurana VG Hardell L Everaert J Bortkiewicz A Carlberg M Ahonen M, 2010. Epidemiological Evidence for a Health Risk from Mobile Phone Base Stations. Int Journal of Occupational Environmental Health 2010;16:263–267.
    Contact: Cindy Sage, Sage Associates, [email protected]

  4. Chris

    Does anyone know how to get a list of the cell phones with the lowest levels of radiation? I looked on line and the list that comes is about a year old and stores say that they no longer carry those models.

  5. Administrator

    Zapped contains the latest SAR ratings for cellphones and much more useful info, of course!

  6. Mari Quigley Miller

    Hello to all.. I had one of the large cell phones in 1996… by 1998 … I was having brain surgery for a brain tumor (acoustic neuroma)..
    I know I can NOT prove that the cell phone was the culprit.. but the research is out there especially from Sweden, etc.. and my GUT and more.. says.. yes.. it was from the cell phone.. I was a perfectly healthy person before this happened..
    Today I have one good ear.. Lost the hearing in left ear during surgery…
    Today I use a streamer (blue tooth) compatible with my hearing aid.. I DO NOT PUT ANYTHING NEAR MY EAR.. except.. a nice pair of EARRINGS!
    Be Safe.. Listen to Ann.. She knows AND the researchers in Europe know best!!!!!!!!!
    God Bless

  7. Mari Quigley Miller

    PS.. anyone wants to discuss this with me.. I am on Facebook or my email address: [email protected].

  8. Susan

    @ Administrator-
    Thank you sooo much for the smart meter info. The electric company is fighting me tooth and nail on this saying they HAVE to put the meter in by law and unless I have some valid proof that the smart meters are dangerous, they will not budge.

    I believe the info you gave me will be an invaluable resource in my fight. Thank you so, so much!

    And many wishes for good health to Mari!

  9. Karen

    I have a question not about our brains either. Besides the supplements: is there a way to physcially limit EMF exposure to the adjacent body parts while carrying cell phones in pockets or on waist bands and still get the signals? It’s been a while since I read Zapped and I don’t remember if that was addressed. I can’t imagine that carrying the phone next to a joint that has bone density issues is a good thing. Yes I took copious notes on the supplements when reading Zapped, but thought if there is a physical way to protect my hip as well as my brain it might be useful. I do as many of the supplements as I can afford now. Are there cases for cell phones that have EMF filters next to the body, yet don’t interfere with receiving the signals? Would getting a small amount of the EMF filter fabric and placing on the inside of a cell phone case work?

  10. Sierra

    Karen- yes there are a few ways to physically shield yourself from the EMFs transmitted by cell phones. Check out under products. I have seen a protective film that goes over your phone, as well as special ‘holsters’ too. Good luck and good health!



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