EMF Health-effects Research

Subjective symptoms related to mobile phone use

Szyjkowska A, Bortkiewicz A, Szymczak W, Makowiec-Dabrowska T.

Pol Merkuriusz Lek. 19(112):529-532, 2005

Subjective symptoms related to mobile phone use--a pilot study

[Article in Polish]

Instytut Medycyny Pracy w Lodzi.

Research findings indicate that the use of mobile phones may lead to a number of symptoms such as headache, impaired concentration and memory, fatigue. In Poland this problem has not as yet been addressed by scientific studies.

THE AIM: The present project was undertaken to investigate whether the symptoms of ill health reported by young people may be associated with the use of mobile phone.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: A survey using a self-reported questionnaire was conducted among randomly selected university students in Lodz, Central Poland. The questionnaire was designed specifically for this study and contained items on health condition and complaints as well as on frequency of mobile phone use. The number of questionnaires necessary for the study was assessed using the simple random sample method. Out of the 160 copies distributed among the students, 140 (87.5%) were completed. Eventually, 117 questionnaires were subject to analysis; the data from respondents who reported health problems (neck trauma in a car accident, chronic sinusitis and arterial hypertension) were excluded. The following statistical methods were used to analyse questionnaire data: t-Student test for equal and unequal variances or F-Snedecor test for comparing parameters in two study groups, Fisher exact test for comparing frequency, and single and multiple logistic regression models for quantitative risk assessment of negative health outcomes in relation to exposure level and with control for confounders. The subjects were 61 (52.1%) males and 56 females (47.9%).

RESULTS: Most of the subjects (62%) assessed their health condition as good, 31% as very good and 7% as fair. 70% complained of headache and 20% of dizziness. Impaired concentration occurred in 56% of respondents. Facial dermatitis was reported by 11%.

The most prevalent symptom related to mobile phone use was the thermal sensation within the auricle and behind/around the ear. This was reported by 33 subjects (28.2%). Out of 82 subjects who complained of headache, only 8 (6.8%) related this symptom to mobile phone use. Only 10 subjects of 65 reporting impaired concentration thought it could be associated with their using a mobile phone. The symptoms and health complaints reported by the respondents in no case were the reason for a medical check-up or taking any medication.

CONCLUSIONS: The large number of young people complaining of headache and impaired concentration calls for further research to investigate the underlying reasons. It cannot be excluded that one of them may be exposure to EMF emitted by mobile phone. The explanation should be sought through further experimental and epidemiologic studies.

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