Epidemiological Study (follow-up study)
Use of mobile phones and changes in cognitive function in adolescents. epidemiol. By: Thomas S, Benke G, Dimitriadis C, Inyang I, Sim MR, Wolfe R, Croft RJ, Abramson MJ
Published in: Occup Environ Med 2010; 67 (12): 861 - 866 ( PubMed Entry , Journal web site )
Aim of study (according to author)
The MoRPhEUS study (Australian Mobile Radiofrequency Phone Exposed Users' Study) was conducted to examine possible associations between exposure to mobile phones and cognitive function in Australian adolescents. The results of the baseline examinations are published in
Abramson et al. (2008).
Aim of the present study was to investigate whether an effect in cognitive outcome occured after a 1-year period and/or whether an increase in exposure over the period was followed by changes in cognitive outcome.
Cognitive function was assessed by the computerized psychometric CogHealth test and the Stroop test.
Endpoint/type of risk estimation
- mobile communication system, digital mobile phone, personal exposure
- type of exposure: personal
- assessment by questionnaire (average number of calls made and received per week, number of text messages (SMS) made and received per week)
Study group: children, aged from 12 to 15 years
Group characteristics: students of secondary schools who took part in the baseline assessment
Observation period: 2006 - 2007
Study location: Australia (Melbourne)
Source of data: Australian Mobile Radiofrequency Phone Exposed Users' Study (MoRPhEUS)
Exclusion criteria: students with known cognitive disorder and those receiving medication known to impair or alter cognitive function
Further parameters acquired by questionnaire (ethnicity (languages other than English spoken at home)
|Study size || |
|number eligible ||317|
|number participating ||236|
Statistical analysis using multiple linear regression analysis (adjusted for age, sex, socioeconomic status, ethnicity (languages other than English spoken at home), growth (difference in height between 1st and 2nd examination))
Results/conclusion (according to author)
The proportion of mobile phone owners, the total number of voice calls and SMS per week increased from baseline to follow-up. 75% of the adolescents owned a mobile phone at the baseline and 86 % at follow-up. At baseline, students reported a median of 8 voice calls and 8 SMS per week, at follow-up a median of 10 voice calls and 10 SMS per week. The increase in exposure over the study period was mainly observed among those with lower numbers of calls at baseline.
Associations between the use of mobile phones and changes in some of the cognitive outcomes were observed, especially changes in response times rather than changes in accuracy. Participants with more voice calls and SMS at baseline, but no increase in exposure at follow-up, showed lesser reductions in response times over the 1-year period in some of the CogHealth tasks. No associations were seen between mobile phone use and the Stroop Color-Word test. Furthermore, differences in the number of text messages were not related to changes in any of the CogHealth or Stroop tasks.
The authors concluded that the observed changes in cognitive function over time may relate to statistical regression toward the mean, and not be the effect of mobile phone exposure.
(Study character: epidemiological study, follow-up study)
Study funded by
- National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), Australia
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Glossary: adolescents, children, CogHealth, cognitive, digital, epidemiological, exposed, exposure, follow-up, growth, learning, linear, median, mobile communication, mobile phone, psychometric, questionnaire, radiofrequency, regression analysis, regression toward the mean, signal, SMS, socioeconomic status, statistical, Stroop, working memory
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