Research

Smartphones reported to impair memory in adolescents

A recent research has found that the radio-frequency electromagnetic fields emitted by cell phones impair memory in young individuals. The study was published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives and is entitled HERMES (Health Effects Related to Mobile phone use in adolescents). It basically evaluates the memory performance in young people who experience frequent exposure to smartphones and other telecommunication gadgets.

Smartphones have become a basic and necessary part of our daily life. They have led to revolutions in terms of convenience, communication, and of course entertainment. However, revealing the other side of the picture, studies also report the adverse effects of smartphones on their users.

Similarly, this respective research found that constant exposure to radio-frequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) emitted by cell phones and other communication technologies can impair the memory of young individuals.

For the study, the researchers followed 700 participants for around one year. All of them aged from 12 to 17. All of these young participants were public school students from both the urban and rural regions of Switzerland.

The study aims at investigating the association between RF-EMF exposure and memory performance in the participants. The researchers asked the subjects to fill out some questionnaires. These questionnaires were based on questions regarding the use of cell phones as well as other factors related to their mental and physical well-being.

In order to maximize the objectivity, the researchers also collected the cell phone user data of the participants. It led them to examine the cumulative dose of RF-EMF in youngsters. Moreover, the researchers also conducted a series of computerized cognitive tests.

The results of the study revealed that cell phone usage results in an increased exposure to RF-EMF which negatively affects the development of figural memory performance in adolescents. Figural memory is a function of the right part of the brain. It accounts for the ability of the brain to remember images.

The study also states that the extent of impairments in the figural memory is correlated with the amount of RF-EMF to which the participants were exposed. In addition, the individuals who used their phones on the right side of their head exhibited even more prominent impairment.

Other studies also reveal that using the phone before going to bed alters the quality of sleep. As a result, people experience difficulty in performing abstract tasks during waking hours.

Interestingly, the researchers found that using phones for sending texts, playing games, browsing the internet, or interacting through social media causes minimal exposure to RF-EMF. Thus, it was linked to a little negative impact on memory.

However, it’s not just exposure to RF-EMF that negatively affects memory. A study published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology talks about the so-called “Google Effect.” This occurs when people are told that a computer stores the data for them and they become less efficient at remembering newly learned information.

Other studies show that people who heavily use smartphones have less analytical cognitive styles. They perform poorly in cognitive tests. Concluding the whole story, people’s reliance on smartphones for readily available information makes them less likely to commit to information they learn.

Not only smartphones but laptops, power lines, and WiFi networks also emit RF-EMF.

The negative effects of these radiations are not limited to memory only. World Health Organization (WHO) classifies RF-EMF as a Class-B possible carcinogen. Notorious cancer-causing chemicals like DDT and lead are included in this category.

There are various studies that confirm the link between RF-EMF and its potential to cause tumor development. Some human studies also suggest that RF-EMF may cause infertility, heart palpitations, insomnia, headache, brain fog, and antibiotic resistance etc.

Michelle Kwan

Michelle Kwan has studied bio-medical sciences and loves to contribute her research into the field of health through her writing. Her expertise includes product reviews and health news reporting but she enjoys writing research-based news, the most. Twitter- @MichelleKwan19

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