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May 20th, 2008
02:06 PM ET

Cell phones and ADHD

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/05/20/art.cell.jpg]
Sanjay Gupta
CNN Chief Medical Correspondent

I am one of those people who is on his cell phone all the time. Between the hospital and my job as a reporter, I get a lot of calls, especially when I am on the road. So, like many people, I pay attention when I read new studies about cell phones and possible health effects. The good news is that most of the studies out there have shown no reason to worry. In fact one study out of Denmark of 52,000 cell phone users who’d used cells for 10 plus years found the incidence of tumors was even less than the general population. The cell phone industry is quick to point out that “the overwhelming majority of studies show wireless phones do not pose a health risk.”

So, what to make of the fact that Dr. Vini Khurana out of Australia and Dr. Keith Black out of Los Angeles, who are both neurosurgeons, have voiced concerns about cell phones and brain cancer? And, just today, there is a new study of cell phones and pregnant women. That study found women who used cell phone two to three times a day while pregnant had children that were 54 percent more likely to develop ADHD and other behavioral problems. And, if those children used cell phones before age 7, they were 18 percent more likely to develop ADHD. (Watch Dr. Gupta’s report here)

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Filed under: Dr. Sanjay Gupta
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Annie Kate

    Its too bad the people who did this study didn't spend more time on how to treat ADHD rather than trying to draw the dubious connection between cell phones and ADHD. ADHD runs in my family so the two children I have with the condition got it genetically – one of life's little gifts per se.. They sure didn't get it with a cell phone – I don't use the things and in my house you have to be 13 and demonstrate a parent approved need to even get a cell phone. To me a more important study would be a comparison and ranking of approaches on how to deal with and minimize the effects of ADHD, not the study of the weak and tenuous link between cell phones and ADHD.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    May 20, 2008 at 8:31 pm |
  2. Lilly, FRANCE

    Janet... I 100% agree with you... We live in a $$$world! $ is everything and everyone has a price. We cant see the waves cell phones emit but definitely they are harmful and cause tumors, but that is not what 'they" want us to believe. Have you heard about those cell phones that exploded while they were charging? Have you heard about the experiments they are doing in Puerto Rico? I'm sure not! because "they" don't want us to know... Cell phones are not just related to ADHD but also to sooooo many diseases! Just try to be surrounded by nature without cell phones, wireless...etc as you can, 'cause that is our true environment, not the one we have created! We live in a horrendous world... but wait a bit; in 2012 everything will change! Believe me!

    May 20, 2008 at 7:49 pm |
  3. janet

    "all the tests say it's safe .. " Do you ever ask the question .. . who is paying for all those tests? Tests can be fixed to give the desired results. Follow the money. We have an overload of toxins of ALL kinds that we are exposed to. "They" expect us, the people to keep our collective heads in the sand and keep em there, watch reality TV, go to work, pay the bills and shut up and let them gradually make us sick or kill us. They love it when Americans are dumbed down or comfortably numb. Wake up people. . . or you're next.

    Look at the brain tumor with Sen. Kennedy. . simply google "aspartame and Donald Rumsfeld" or the "aspartame & the FDA and how it got approved". It's in over 5,000 products we consume every day. . and YES it causes brain tumors among other life threatening illnesses .. and guess what . ."they" have a pill or treatment for that. Hmmm, is it that easy .. we get sick by consuming these toxic chemicals (which is what food is made of these days. . chemicals) and they have a pill or sergery to "make us better". The media is bought and paid for. . look at the ads that pay for their programming. Follow the money. Those "experts" are simply people with an opinion. When ever there is a natural health practitioner on there (is there ever), they are some how questioned/put down for their natural avenues. Still no one in the media investigates all the links. Hmmm, I guess the news owners like their huge revenue over the truth about people's health and preventitive measures. Even a 5th grader can figure this one out people. So, are YOU smarter than a 5th grader? Well are ya?

    May 20, 2008 at 6:24 pm |
  4. Dominic Haberman Hattiesburg, MS

    The instances of increased risk for ADHD in pregnant women and young children may be more behavioral than anything else. Just as classical music can calm an unborn child and potentially lead to improved brain development, it stands to reason that mothers who excessively use cell phones could transfer that nervous behavior to their child. The idea of a child under 7 years old using a cell phone is ridiculous anyway. No wonder they are not learning to concentrate. If you logically consider the average cell phone conversation, you'll realize that these scatter-brained exchanges are not very conducive to higher-level thinking development. I don't need a study to reinforce something that is commen sense to me...Read to your child...Don't hand them a cell phone.

    May 20, 2008 at 5:41 pm |
  5. Tammy, Berwick, LA

    ADHD also has genetic and other environmental links. Were these isolated out of the research? How do they know with certainty they were? Just playing devil's advocate here. My ADD (I don't have the hyperactivity component) was a gift of genetics. My dad is ADHD to this day. We both also have slight dyslexia. And I'm pretty sure Mom wasn't on a cellphone in 1967-68 when pregnant with me. Ditto for my grandma when pregnant with Dad in 1943-44. I think so many factors can produce learning disabilities. There is no one cause. There is unfortunately no one cure. There are great ways to accommodate these disabilities and succeed even though we have them, though. It would be so nice if researchers would spend the resources and brain power on finding even better ways to help us survive this instead of wasting time on what if's, maybes, and could happens.

    May 20, 2008 at 5:27 pm |
  6. Sharon from Indy

    Dr Gupta:
    The statistic of 54 percent of pregnant women are likely to develop ADHD and other behavioral problems from the use of cell phones during pregnancy is alarming.

    First, could the incidences of ADHD be increasing like autism in children? Are electronic devices really interferring with the womb?

    Second, what does "likely" mean clinically? Does that mean maybe, or could happen...the wording is weak in the research.

    In all, putting the cell phone under the microscope is not a bad idea. I just think that the cell phone, ipods, etc. will probably affect our hearing in the future more than anything else.

    May 20, 2008 at 5:23 pm |
  7. Cindy

    I don't believe any of this stuff. They have so many studies going on and so many reports coming out it is ridiculous. According to them everything that we do, eat or touch is bad for us! So we may as well sit in a bubble and do nothing. I for one ignore all of it and do my own thing!

    May 20, 2008 at 2:26 pm |