Scientists have discovered that a cellphone call lasting just two minutes can alter the natural electrical activity of a child?s brain for up to an hour afterwards. They have also found for the first time how radio waves from mobile phones penetrate deep into the brain and don?t just center around the ear.

The study by Spanish scientists has prompted leading medical experts to question whether it is safe for children to use mobile phones at all. Doctors fear that disturbed brain activity in children could lead to psychiatric and behavioral problems or impair learning ability. It should be noted that more children every year are diagnosed with attention deficit problems and given drugs like Ritalin to help calm them down enough to pay attention in school.

This was the first time that human beings were used to measure the effects of mobile phone radiation on children. The tests were carried out on an 11-year-old boy and a 13-year-old girl. Using a CATEEN scanner, linked to a machine measuring brain wave activity, researchers were able to show how radiation spreads through the center of the brain and out to the ear on the other side of the skull. The scans found that disturbed brain wave activity lasted for up to an hour after the phone call ended.

Dr. Gerald Hyland, who is a British government adviser on cellphones, says he finds the results ?extremely disturbing. It makes one wonder whether children, whose brains are still developing, should be using mobile phones,? he says. ?The results show that children?s brains are affected for long periods even after very short-term use. Their brain wave patterns are abnormal and stay like that for a long period. This could affect their mood and ability to learn in the classroom if they have been using a phone during break time, for instance. We don’t know all the answers yet, but the alteration in brain waves could lead to things like a lack of concentration, memory loss, inability to learn and aggressive behavior.?

Previously it had been thought that interference with brain waves and brain chemistry stopped when a call ended. The results of the study by Dr. Michael Klieeisen at the Spanish Neuro Diagnostic Research Institute in Marbella coincide with a new survey that shows 87 per cent of 11- to 16-year-olds in the U.K. own mobile phones and 40 per cent of them spend 15 minutes or more talking each day on them. The number of U.S. children using cellphones is probably the same or greater. 70 per cent of them said they would not stop using them even if advised to by the Government.

Dr. Hyland says, ?If I were a parent I would now be extremely wary about allowing my children to use a mobile even for a very short period. My advice would be to avoid mobiles.?

Dr. Klieeisen says, ?We were able to see in minute detail what was going on in the brain. We never expected to see this continuing activity in the brain. We are worried that delicate balances that exist – such as the immunity to infection and disease – could be altered by interference with chemical balances in the brain.?

A U.K. Department of Health spokesman says, ?In children mobile phone use should be restricted to very short periods of time.?

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