Research … to drive a Mack Truck Through

Dear Nora Young,

Listening to your interview with Dr. Steven Yantis of Johns Hopkins knowing a Toronto man’s in critical condition due to a “cellphone” accident just hours earlier made it all the more powerful and immediate. ‘Spark’ (

It demonstrates how technologies are impacting us beyond our ability to understand and/or adapt to them.

We’ve known of this dangerous inattention for a long time. I had a car cellphone in 1986.  It was clear even then.

Still, there is a story within the story which is far bigger and more insidious. And we’ve been shunting it aside for 15 years.

The Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Johns Hopkins must be considered world leaders in researching the impact of cellphones on attention.

Yet incredibly, there’s a hole in this research study big enough to drive a Mac truck through.

Steve Yatis described research subjects listening to music while watching a screen and being observed by a functional MRI. And being observed by his team, of course. The basis for the interview was that this research result translates into the equivalent of someone listening on a cellphone.  Not so.

Without knowing or addressing the many differences, one simple fact cries out for attention: Dr. Yantis’ research subjects were not actually on cellphones.

Cellphones radiation exerts all manner of effects on the brain. This radiation effects neurotransmitters, serotonin, dopamine, calcium e-flux and the blood brain barrier among others.

Suffice to say, serious stuff.

These biological effects directly relate to attention span and decision-making. To conduct any experiments without accommodating this effect and claiming equivalency – is hugely misleading in extrapolating any results.

And again, without addressing the avalanche of literature on cellphones and brain tumours – what about the impact of MRIs themselves? MRIs have not been researched thoroughly for their safety. The fact they have no x-rays means every one assumes they have no biological effects.

In fact, MRIs involve radio frequency (RF) waves which are classified as non-ionizing radiation. The very definition of non-ionizing radiation is ‘that which is too weak to break DNA strands’! Any high school kid could tell you that.

The assumption of MRI safety, like any assumption without benefit of rigorous and repeated research often comes back to bite you in the butt.

For example; RF waves do break DNA strands and so then mocks the very word ‘non-ionizing’. RF waves break single and double strands of DNA.   Just to say, that’s very troubling.

But it brings us to the question of how much is the MRI itself polluting the results of functional MRIs not just in this instance but all such research.

How far behind are we in adapting to the health impacts of these ubiquitous technologies?

Way behind.

But hey, the good news is with 4.6 billion active “research subjects” … we are bound to catch up.




4 responses to “Research … to drive a Mack Truck Through

  1. Hi, I have been trying to get two questions answered.
    1. Does putting a cellphone into airplane mode work to prevent emf radiation as well as it does to power it all the way off? The advantage to putting it in airplane mode is that it’s quicker, and I do this whenever I carry my phone on my body or when it is not being used. However, I realize I am not sure how effective this is.
    2. I saw above that you mention the Pong case, but I didn’t catch whether it is truly effective or not. I have the Pong case, but I still use speaker phone when possible rather than trust it’s total effectiveness.
    I’d really appreciate hearing from you. I make it my business to hassle my friends who don’t protect themselves from cellphone radiation. Thanks for spreading the word!

    • Hey Jess,
      Airplane mode is safe. An incidental emission may come from the battery but the concern is the microwaves as the phone pings a tower every 7 seconds. And yes, I think Pong’s case is effective but like you, I use speakerphone as well.
      The cellphone-brain tumor lawsuits have been in the court 16 years now. Texting has inadvertantly saved a million brain tumors.

      Good on you for hassling your friends, we are swimming in EMF and it’s getting worse. But more and more people are getting on board. Peas, EMF Guy

  2. Thank you so much for your reply! That was very helpful. Now another question – my husband says that the wireless on the phone is not as harmful as the cellular signal. Fortunately, putting the phone on airplane mode automatically turns off both signals, but it is possible to put it on airplane mode, and then turn the wireless back on and leave the cell signal off. As a result, he feels that using the laptop and the iPad, which only use wireless, are safer than using the phone with cell signal. Do you want to comment on this?

    • As far as I know, you can’t have one without the other (i.e. airplane mode does both). My inclination is to think wireless on phones is not as harmful as the cellular signal but I have no proof. Cellphones at arms length – in my view – are less of a problem than Laptops and iPads..
      iPads being worst of all. iPhones – for example – have 8X the radiation of Samsung phones.

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