Electromagnetic Fields

Cell/Cordless Phones and MRI Scans as Possible Risk Factors for NF1

Electromagnetic fields are elements of the energy associated with electric current – the movement of electrons. The movement of electrons involves the transfer of energy. Part of that energy is used deliberately and specifically (e.g., light bulb illumination) and part of that energy may also have effects on nearby tissues, such as the skin or ears.

Electricity involves the movement of electrons. This movement of electrons has effects beyond the wires involved: during the electron flow, a magnetic field is present. In short, virtually all electronic devices have an associated electromagnetic field (EMF) while the devices are being used. Sometimes, generation of that EMF is precisely the purpose of the device, for example, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) devices.

INCREASINGLY, THERE IS CONCERN THAT EMFs – intended or not – MAY HAVE UNWANTED, DAMAGING EFFECTS ON VARIOUS BODY TISSUES.

More specifically, there is concern that the EMFs generated by cell phones and cordless phones (and MRI scanners) may cause problems in the nervous tissue involved in hearing, including the auditory nerve and portions of the brain. For example, certain brain tumors have been tentatively associated with the EMFs resulting from use of cell phones and cordless phones.

On the one hand, this may be a relatively remote concern for most people, especially if the cell/cordless phone use is minimal. On the other hand, for persons with certain genetic disorders, cell/cordless phone EMFs may pose a potentially serious risk.1, 2 Two such disorders include – at least tentatively – NF1 and NF2.2-5〉 Moreover, the cell/cordless phone EMF – under any circumstance – is related to the amount of time spent with the cell/cordless phone against each ear. The hazardous exposure duration “cut-off” appears to be three hours per day.

At the present time – Spring and Summer 2015 – it is not clear as to the magnitude of the risk for NF1 or NF2 persons. However, if the risk can be totally eliminated by using the following strategies, why not remind persons with NF1 and persons with NF2 about these strategies.
• Use the “speaker phone” option of the device.
• Use both the right AND left ears.
• Decrease the amount of cell/cordless phone use to less than three hours per day.
• Use another phone device, such as a “corded” phone.

My interpretation of the available published data is that specialists for NF1 (i.e., “Recklinologists”) and/or for NF2 have a professional, moral and ethical obligation to alert their NF1 and NF2 patients to these several concerns. The risks are tentative at best, but there are facile and inexpensive alternatives. Why take the risk?

And then there are the circumstances wherein the patient with NF1 or NF2 is deliberately and specifically – and repeatedly – exposed to high strength EMF for diagnostic purposes.

PERHAPS IT IS ALSO TIME TO CONSIDER WHETHER THERE HAS BEEN AN EXCESSIVELY CASUAL APPROACH TO EMF EXPOSURE IN NF1 and NF2 IN TERMS OF REPEATED HIGH-STRENGTH (high Tesla) MRI SCANS.

Special risk issues of repeated MRI scanning. The risk posed by EMFs is not the same as the risk of exposure to ionizing radiation, such as X-rays or gamma-rays. The adverse effects of EMFs is more directly related to changes in the chemistry of electromagnetically-charged chemical constituents within and outside the cell, particularly calcium (Ca2+).6-14 And of course the crucial cell in both neurofibromas and schwannomas is the Schwann cell, a main function of which is exquisite control of Ca2+ metabolism at many sites within the cell.

FOR PERSONS WITH NF1 or NF2, CELL/CORDLESS PHONES AND MRI SCANNING MAY BE ASSOCIATED WITH SERIOUS and AVOIDABLE RISKS!