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News Picks : Connection between cell phones and cancer is weak and contradictory

By: Physics Today
14 May 2014
Ars Technica: Studies examining the potential connection between cell-phone radiation and cancer have found only weak correlations and have had small sample sizes. A new study, which also used a small sample, similarly finds a weak connection, and it introduces some contradictory conclusions. The study recruited 253 people diagnosed with glioma and 194 diagnosed with meningioma and compared them with demographically similar control populations. Participants answered a questionnaire about their phone use and other factors. The two cancer groups were examined separately, and then each group was broken down by 26 other characteristics. Small sample sizes within each subset increase the likelihood of finding false connections. And self-reported data have many potential flaws. The only connection the study found was in the 20% of the population with cancer that reported the highest phone use. But unlike in previous studies, the new analysis found that the cancer was more likely to develop on the opposite side of the head from where the person regularly held the phone and that urban users had a higher cancer rate than rural users.


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