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  • 05.31.16

Experts cast doubt on study linking cell phones to cancer in rats

Following the reaction to a recent study—in which rats exposed to cell phone radiation developed brain and heart tumors—a number of experts have pointed out that the study is not, in fact, as conclusive as it appears. 

From Aaron Carroll, a professor and associate dean at Indiana University’s School of Medicine: 

At the end of the study, survival was lower in the control group of males than in all the exposed males. Survival was lower in the control group of females for two of the three exposed groups. Yet no headlines blared that cell phones extend life . . .

The cardiac schwannomas were more compelling, but again, only for males. No differences for females . . .

I didn’t see any sample size calculation, nor any discussion of what they expected to see.

Over at Scientific American, Vanderbilt professor John Boice wrote:  

The NTP animal experiment is the best yet conducted, but has serious limitations. The comprehensive reviews by scientists from the National Institutes of Health, attached to the report, are informative with one concluding: “I am unable to accept the authors’ conclusions”.

And Donald Berry, a biostatistics professor at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, told Ars Technica

There is nothing in this report that can be regarded to be statistically significant. The authors should have used the ‘black box warning.’

PM