Exposure to radiation from mobile phones during pregnancy may affect the brain development of unborn babies, according to new research on mice, at Yale University in the US.
The study measured the brain activity of adult mice that were exposed to radiation in the womb. They found that these mice tended to be more hyperactive and had increased anxiety and reduced memory capacity.
But British experts from University College London have warned the results should be treated with caution and did not prove humans would be affected in the same way.
They explained that mice are only pregnant for 19 days and the amount of radiation they were subjected to was far higher than a pregnant mum using a mobile phone would experience.
The Yale study, published in the latest issue of the journal Scientific Reports, also suggested mobile phone usage could be contributing to the rising number of ADHD cases in children in recent decades. Diagnosis of the condition has increased at an average rate of three cases per year since 1997.
“We have shown that behavioural problems in mice that resemble ADHD are caused by mobile phone exposure in the womb,” said Hugh Taylor, senior author of the study.
But Eric Taylor, Professor of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, at King’s College London, disputed the claim, saying, “This paper does not show any link between radiofrequency exposure and ADHD.
“The rate of ADHD problems has been steady for more than 20 years, any increase is due to greater recognition, so mobile phones are an unlikely cause.”
The American researchers concluded that human tests need to be carried out before assuming their findings could be applied to human development.
In the meantime, if you’re a mum-to-be you can limit your exposure to mobile phone radiation by keeping calls short and your phone away from your bump when possible. Try turning it off at night or leaving it on the other side of your bedroom.