by Simon Baxendale
Over-dependency upon smartphones and other gadgets has, over the years, drawn ire from some lobbies. There’s always been a concern from some corners that young people using their devices too much could lead to unhealthy habits and more besides – we’ve heard it all over the years, from handheld games even to the perils of watching TV – and while it’s certainly recommended that kids get a varied diet of entertainment and not just from their handheld gizmos, there has always been this underlying fear that technology is rotting our brains. Now that we’re considerably attached to our devices more than ever before, there’s not that much we can really do unless we give up our smartphones and tablets en force – but if a new Swiss study is to be believed, smartphone use in the young could be leading to detrimental effects later on in life.
Scientists working at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (or Swiss TPH) have found during examination of habits of around 700 teenagers that exposure to certain radiofrequencies emitted by devices such as smartphones could lead to impairment upon the brain’s overall memory performance. The frequencies in question, referred to as RF-EMF, have been at the center of previous studies in 2015 – and according to the study’s outcome, it appears that occasional exposure to RF-EMF over as little as a year could stunt the development of certain memory attributes in teenagers. The latest study appears to have confirmed fears brought up in the prior study – and Martin Roosli, Swiss TPH’s Head of Environmental Exposures and Health, suggests that heightened exposure to the frequency could have detrimental effects for adolescents – though he hasn’t ruled out other factors potentially coming into play.
▶ Radiation From Smartphones Could Trigger Memory Loss in Teenagers: Study
“(The study) may suggest that indeed RF-EMF absorbed by the brain is responsible for the observed associations,” Roosli advises. “A unique feature of this study is the use of objectively collected mobile phone user data from mobile phone operators.” Roosli has also advised, however, that this particular study’s results may have been affected by factors such as puberty. Therefore, it’s clear that studies may need to continue if any conclusive proof is to be found.
▶ Smart phones could damage our memory side of the brain
Smartphone or cellphone use does not subject users to RF-EMF at all times – so don’t panic just yet – as certain features of our favorite devices only use a minimal amount of the frequency.