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27 October 2009

Cellphone may reduce bone density

Wearing a cellphone on your hip may reduce bone density in an area of the pelvis commonly used for bone grafts, a new study suggests.

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Wearing a cellphone on your hip may reduce bone density in an area of the pelvis commonly used for bone grafts, a new study suggests.

Turkish researchers used dual X-ray absorptiometry to measure bone density at the upper rims of the pelvis (iliac wings) in 150 men who carried their cell phones on their belts. The men carried their phones for an average of 15 hours a day, and had used cell phones for an average of six years.

Bone density was slightly reduced on the side of the pelvis where the men carried their cellphones, the study found. The difference wasn't statistically significant and didn't approach bone level density reductions seen in people with osteoporosis. However, the men were relatively young (average age 32), and further bone weakening may occur, said Dr Tolga Atay and colleagues at Suleyman Demirel University in Isparta.

Electromagmetic fields
The study, published in the Journal of Craniofacial Surgery, suggests that electromagnetic fields emitted by cellphones may have a harmful effect on bone density.

However, the researchers emphasised that their findings are preliminary and noted that future generations of cellphones may reduce users' exposure to electromagnetic fields. In the meantime, it "would be better to keep mobile phones as far as possible from our body during our daily lives," Atay and colleagues concluded.

The iliac wings of the pelvis are widely used for bone grafting, which means any reduction in bone density there may affect reconstructive surgery. In procedures where bone density is important for good outcomes, surgeons may want to consider the possible effects of exposure to electromagnetic fields from cell phones, the researchers suggested. - (HealthDay News, October 2009)

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