Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Take two and call me every day

Apparently the old medical adage “Take two and call me in the morning” might hold a lot more weight these days.

I just read this somewhat outrageous Reuters article which states studies are showing cell phone usage might be not only a preventive measure but a cure for Alzheimer’s Disease.*

Up until now, the public has been bombarded with stories about how cell phones may cause cancer. The state of Maine is even considering requiring cell phones to carry a cancer warning. It makes a bit of sense - holding any type of electromagnetic device near your brain seems like a bad idea if you think about it, but how would our society function if we had to go back to the days when you couldn’t be talking to your best friend 24/7?

The National Cancer Institute has some basic information about cancer and cell phone use which seems plausible, though it states long-term studies are not conclusive.

So again, consumers are faced with a dilemma. Do you risk brain cancer by walking around with your cell phone plastered to your head for several hours a day in order to prevent Alzheimer’s? Or do you go back to two tin cans tied with string in order to prevent malignant brain tumors? Does one risk really outweigh the other?

I tried to look up other means of preventing Alzheimer’s disease and interestingly, I got page after page after page of articles about the cell phone issue, which seems to have trumped all other research on the subject. After a little digging I got back to the articles on the effectiveness of caffeine, acetyl-L carnitine, infrared light, turmeric, blueberries, vitamin D, green tea and fruit flavonoids. [None of which seem to cause cancer.] The question is, if there are so many things available in the Alzheimer’s arsenal, why are so many people still developing this terrifying illness?

It makes me wonder, can we trust any medical data that’s widely disbursed over the Internet or any other source of media? Today, cell phones may cure Alzheimer’s, tomorrow it will be something else. In the mean time, the only ones who seem to be getting any benefit from any of this information are the laboratory mice.

* Interesting side note: The Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease mentioned in the article does not exist. The publication seems to be The American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias. Whether or not it actually ran an article discussing Alzheimer’s and cell phone use, I don’t know.


  1. I'm continuing to guzzle my coffee in the hopes that caffeine can cure a whole host of ills...until next week when I'm told it's the cause of all problems....

  2. I've always said I don't drink enough alcohol or coffee. So far, going by everything I've read about coffee, you can't go wrong.