Science Fair Fantastic!

It began with an observation & question by five ninth-graders, and ended with a science experiment that’s hit the science community by storm!

This experiment came about when a group of young scientists (junior-high young ladies, we must add!) noticed that, on nights when they slept with their mobile phones next to their heads, they had a harder time concentrating at school the next day. They came up with a nifty hypothesis about the effects of mobile phone radiation on plants, and the results may just make you want to throw your cellphone far, far away where it can never be found again—and will at least have you consider moving it far away from you when you are sleeping. But is this just an over-hyped science fair project, or is there any supporting evidence for their finding? And if throwing out your cellphone is not an option, what can you do to combat its effects? We have the answers for you, naturally.

Wanting to look at the effects of mobile phone radiation on humans, but for a number of obvious reasons not being able to do so, these young ladies settled on testing the effects of mobile phone radiation on a plant instead. The smart little cookies placed trays filled with a type of garden cress in either a room with no radiation or a room with a similar type of radiation as that which cellphones would emit. Then, for 12 days they waited … and observed, measured, weighed, and photographed their results. And they found that, whereas the plants in the room with no radiation thrived, the seeds in the radiation-containing room had not grown—many of these plants, in fact, had actually died!

While this experiment has received a lot of media and scientific attention, it is also being met with a lot of controversy over the fact that it may not be the best controlled study or that it doesn’t strictly adhere to the scientific method that more well-seasoned scientists would abide by. However, in our opinion, we are overjoyed that young people are even asking these types of questions, and thinking of a way to test these important questions. And believe it or not, scientific evidence is starting to roll in on the effects cellphones may have on us. For example, studies have shown that cellphone-type exposure causes neuronal damage in the brains of mammals, and the equivalent of about one hour of cellphone use increases free radical damage in the mammalian brain. Scary, considering most of us spend a heck of a lot more time than an hour daily on our cellphones. In kids, it takes as little as two minutes for cellphone use to alter brain activity and to open the blood brain barrier (which keeps bad stuff out and good stuff in the brain). Super scary, given the effects toxins can have on developing brains. Enough said.

If giving up your cellphone, however, is not an option despite the growing evidence suggesting its negative effects, here are some natural vitamin, herbal and whole food extract remedies that have recently received attention by the scientific community as having the potential to minimize cellphone-type damage. More research is needed before we can recommend them as a way to protect yourself against your cellphone, but here are three that show some promise. And stay tuned for more research on their cellphone-fighting ability!

1. Vitamins C and E. Antioxidant superstars vitamin C and E have been found to work synergistically to diminish the negative effects of cellphone-type radiation. Try them together in an antioxidant blend including vitamin A and selenium too.

2. Gingko Biloba. Best-known as an antioxidant with memory-enhancing and heart  health-promoting properties, it is also shown in animal studies to prevent free radical damage caused by cellphone-type exposure.

3. Blueberries and Bilberry. Their deeply coloured purple/red pigments and various plant chemicals are shown to protect against inappropriate opening of the blood brain barrier and against free radical damage. Eat them as whole foods, and try their supplemental extracts.

References

Dogan M, Turtay MG, Oguzturk H, Samdanci E, Turkoz Y, Tasdemir S, Alkan A, Bakir S, 2012. Effects of electromagnetic radiation produced by 3G mobile phones on rat brains: magnetic resonance spectroscopy, biochemical, and histopathological evaluation. Hum Exp Toxicol, 31(6):557-64.

Grigor’ev IuG, 2005. [The electromagnetic fields of cellular phones and the health of children and of teenagers (the situation requiring to take an urgent measure)]. Radiats Biol Radioecol, 45(4):442-50.

Oral B, Guney M, Ozguner F, Karahan N, Mungan T, Comlekci S, Cesur G, 2006. Endometrial apoptosis induced by a 900-MHz mobile phone: preventive effects of vitamins E and C. Adv Ther, 23(6):957-73.

Ilhan A, Gurel A, Armutcu F, Kamisli S, Iraz M, Akyol O, Ozen S, 2004. Ginkgo biloba prevents mobile phone-induced oxidative stress in rat brain. Clin Chim Acta, 340(1-2):153-62.

Bornsek SM, Ziberna L, Polak T, Vanzo A, Ulrih NP, Abram V, Tramer F, Passamonti S, 2012. Bilberry and blueberry anthocyanins act as powerful intracellular antioxidants in mammalian cells. Food Chem, 15;134(4):1878-84.