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Use of wireless telephones and self-reported health symptoms: a population-based study among Swedish adolescents aged 15-19 years
Örebro University, School of Health and Medical Sciences.
Universitetssjukhuset Örebro.
Örebro University, School of Health and Medical Sciences.
2008 (English)In: Environmental health, ISSN 1476-069X, Vol. 7, no 1, 1-10 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

BACKGROUND: Despite the last years of rapid increase in use of wireless phones little data on the use of these devices has been systematically assessed among young persons. The aim of this descriptive cross-sectional study was to assess use of wireless phones and to study such use in relation to explanatory factors and self-reported health symptoms. METHODS: A postal questionnaire comprising 8 pages of 27 questions with 75 items in total was sent to 2000 Swedish adolescents aged 15-19 years and selected from the population registry using a stratified sampling scheme. RESULTS: The questionnaire was answered by 63.5% of the study subjects. Most participants reported access to a mobile phone (99.6%) and use increased with age; 55.6% of the 15-year-olds and 82.2% of the 19-year-olds were regular users. Girls generally reported more frequent use than boys. Use of wired hands-free equipment 'anytime' was reported by 17.4%. Cordless phones were used by 81.9%, and 67.3% were regular users. Watching TV increased the odds ratio for use of wireless phones, adjusted for age and gender. Some of the most frequently reported health complaints were tiredness, stress, headache, anxiety, concentration difficulties and sleep disturbances. Regular users of wireless phones had health symptoms more often and reported poorer perceived health than less frequent users. CONCLUSION: Almost all adolescence in this study used a wireless phone, girls more than boys. The most frequent use was seen among the older adolescents, and those who watched TV extensively. The study further showed that perceived health and certain health symptoms seemed to be related to the use of wireless phones. However, this part of the investigation was explorative and should therefore be interpreted with caution since bias and chance findings due to multiple testing might have influenced the results. Potentially this study will stimulate more sophisticated studies that may also investigate directions of associations and whether, or to what degree, any mediation factors are involved.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. Vol. 7, no 1, 1-10 p.
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Research subject
Medicine
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-8013DOI: 10.1186/1476-069X-7-18PubMedID: 18495003OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-8013DiVA: diva2:240379
Available from: 2009-09-28 Created: 2009-09-28 Last updated: 2011-05-10Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Health symptoms and potential effects on the blood-brain and blood-cerebrospinal fluid barriers associated with use of wireless telephones
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Health symptoms and potential effects on the blood-brain and blood-cerebrospinal fluid barriers associated with use of wireless telephones
2009 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Recent years have seen a rapid increase in the use of wireless telephones, yet little systematic data exist on the actual use of such devices in the general population. Mobile and cordless telephones emit radiofrequency fields (RF) raising concern about possible adverse health effects. As children and teenagers might be more vulnerable and have longer expected lifetime exposures to RF from these devices than adults, who started to use them later in life, they are a group of special concern. The aims of papers I and II in this thesis were to increase our knowledge of use of wireless telephones in the age group of 7-19 years, to study what factors could explain such use; and furthermore, whether the use among the 15-19 year group was associated with self-reported health symptoms and well-being. For collection of data a posted questionnaire was used. Among the 7-14 group (n=1423) nearly all had access to a mobile telephone, a cordless telephone or both, although the percentage of regular users was rather low, totally. Use of wireless telephones increased with age and was more common among girls than boys, especially among the 15-19 year group (n=1269). Relatively few regular users of mobile telephones reported to use a handsfree. Besides age and gender the probability of using either a mobile or cordless telephone was associated mainly with watching TV extensively and below average household income. Regular users more often had health symptoms and reported poorer perceived health than did non-regular users. However, the latter should be interpreted with caution since bias and chance findings due to multiple testing might have influenced the results. Methodologically more sophisticated studies are needed to confirm these results and also investigate directions of possible associations. The aim of papers III-V was to investigate the potential effects of wireless telephone emissions on the integrity of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and the blood-cerebrospinal fluid barrier (BCSFB) using biomarkers. In paper III – an observational study on adults (n=314) – use of mobile and cordless telephones combined was not associated with serum levels of S100B as a marker of BBB disruption. Analyzing the different telephone types separately yielded a weak association of decreasing concentrations with minutes since last use of cordless telephone on the day of leaving blood and a statistically significant association of higher concentrations the more years since first use of a 3G-telephone. However, the latter is probably a result of chance or confounding. Paper IV comprised the same data set as in paper III using serum transthyretin (TTR) as a marker of BCSFB dysfunction. The main finding was that the number of years since first use of mobile and cordless telephones combined was statistically significantly associated with higher serum levels of TTR regardless of how much each telephone type had been used. However, extra-cerebral sources of TTR might have confounded the results, if associated with exposure. Paper V was an experimental study investigating a possible short-term effect of an 890-megahertz mobile phone-like exposure on the BBB and the BCSFB of 41 volunteers. Repeated blood sampling before and after the provocation showed no statistically significant increase in the serum levels of S100B, while for TTR a small but statistically significant increase was seen in the final blood sample 60 minutes after the end of the provocation as compared to the prior sample taken immediately after provocation. The possible clinical significance of this finding is unknown. Larger randomized studies that employ use of additional more brain-specific markers and multiple exposure conditions are needed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Örebro: Örebro universitet, 2009. 78 p.
Series
Örebro Studies in Medicine, ISSN 1652-4063 ; 35
Keyword
radiofrequency fields; mobile telephone; DECT-telephone; cordless telephone; children; adolescents; well-being; choroid plexus; biomarkers; S100B; transthyretin
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Research subject
Medicine
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-8020 (URN)978-91-7668-689-8 (ISBN)
Public defence
Universitetssjukhuset, Wilandersalen, Södra Grev Rosengatan, Örebro (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2009-10-02 Created: 2009-09-28 Last updated: 2011-05-02Bibliographically approved

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