Besides the fact that millions of people in the world do not have a cell phone, we may be able to assume that you can be happy without this addictive device. I made this experiment multiple times, mostly because I did not have any other option. I had to change mobile plans and according with the Murphy's laws, if something can go wrong, it will... I was without a phone for a week. It was ok at the beginning but lately it has been an awful experience.
A quick search of the word ‘cell phone’ in pubmed, the scientific papers database, yields 5424 articles. Kim and collaborators published their research in 2014 in PLOS One(1). They studied “smart phone addiction” in 795 students in elementary, middle, and high schools across South Korea. They concluded that smart phone addiction is gaining a greater spotlight as possibly a new form of addiction along with that of internet.
Another interesting study done in El Cairo showed the effects of pulsed electromagnetic radiation from mobile phones in adult rats. The researchers exposed adult rats to a daily dose of Electromagnetic radiation (EMR, frequency 1800 MHz) and they were sacrificed after 1, 2 and 4 months. Monoamines were then determined by high performance liquid chromatography coupled with fluorescence detection (HPLC-FD) using their native properties. They reported that the exposure to EMR resulted in significant changes in dopamine (DA), norepinephrine (NE) and serotonin (5-HT) in the hippocampus, hypothalamus, midbrain and medulla oblongata of adult rats.
Soooo, the exposure of adult rats to EMR may cause disturbances in monoamine neurotransmitters and this may underlie many of the adverse effects reported after EMR including memory, learning, and stress(2). These results, plus other research has showed that we might feel happy every time he heard our phone ringing... and also stressed.
The good news is that a study involving a nationwide cohort study of mobile phone use, did not find increased risks of tumors of the central nervous system, providing little evidence for a causal association(3).
Obviously mobile phone technology has changed our life on a daily bases, and our social etiquette has been affected for the "staring at the phone" behavior and the "just to check updates" causes constant social interaction interruptions.
But getting deeper in the biological effects of the phones, Dr. Nesrin Seyhan, registered a concerning alteration in the programmed cell death (aka apoptosis) in rabbits exposed to radiation. Furthermore, exposure to 1,800 MHz may induce some pathomorphological alterations in different tissues of non-pregnant and pregnant rabbits and their infants. In other research from her group, they showed that apoptosis resulted from radio frequency radiation (RFR) exposure of pregnant rabbits and their infants(3). They measured the oxidative DNA damage and lipid peroxidation levels in the brain tissue of pregnant and non-pregnant New Zealand White rabbits and their newborns exposed to RFR. They were exposed to RFR (1800 MHz GSM; 14 V/m as reference level) for 15 min/day during 7 days. Malondialdehyde (MDA) and 8-hydroxy-2'-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG) levels were analyzed. MDA and 8-OHdG levels of non-pregnant and pregnant-RFR exposed animals significantly increased with respect to controls.
These results are alarming and pose a huge "danger" sign that we should not underestimate. In Dr. Seyhan’s words: "There exist very few experimental studies on the effects of RFR during pregnancy. It would be beneficial to increase the number of these studies in order to establish international standards for the protection of pregnant women from RFR."
1-PLoS One. 2014 May 21;9(5):e97920. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0097920. eCollection 2014. Development of korean smartphone addiction proneness scale for youth. Kim D, Lee Y, Lee J, Nam JK, Chung Y.
2-Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2013 Jul;17(13):1782-8.
The effect of pulsed electromagnetic radiation from mobile phone on the levels of monoamine neurotransmitters in four different areas of rat brain.
Aboul Ezz HS1, Khadrawy YA, Ahmed NA, Radwan NM, El Bakry MM.
3-BMJ. 2011 Oct 19;343:d6387. doi: 10.1136/bmj.d6387.
Use of mobile phones and risk of brain tumours: update of Danish cohort study.
Frei P1, Poulsen AH, Johansen C, Olsen JH, Steding-Jessen M, Schüz J.