While there have been – and continue to be – numerous studies examining the effects of radiation from mobile phones on users, Yale School of Medicine researchers have looked at the possible effects on fetuses of mobile phone use by pregnant mothers. According to the study, mobile phone radiation exposure in the womb can affect the brain development of offspring and potentially lead to behavioral disorders such as hyperactivity.

A team led by Dr. Hugh S. Taylor, professor and chief of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences at Yale, exposed pregnant mice to mobile phone radiation by positioning a muted mobile phone placed on an active phone call above their cage for the duration of the trial. The same conditions but with a deactivated phone were replicated for a control group.

A battery of tests measuring the electrical activity of the brains of adult mice that were exposed to radiation as fetuses showed that they tended to be more hyperactive and had reduced memory capacity when compared to the control group.

Although the definition of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is based on behavior and is not classified as a neurological disease, magnetic resonance imaging of the prefrontal cortex in sufferers has shown a development lag in this area of the brain. This led Taylor to attribute the behavioral changes in the mice to an effect of mobile phone radiation on the development of neurons in the prefrontal cortex during pregnancy.

“This is the first experimental evidence that fetal exposure to radiofrequency radiation from cellular telephones does in fact affect adult behavior,” Taylor told Yale News. “We have shown that behavioral problems in mice that resemble ADHD are caused by cell phone exposure in the womb. The rise in behavioral disorders in human children may be in part due to fetal cellular telephone irradiation exposure.”

Although Taylor admits that further research in humans into the mechanisms behind the findings is needed to identify safe exposure limits during pregnancy, he says that limiting exposure of the fetus to mobile phone radiation seems advisable.

“Cell phones were used in this study to mimic potential human exposure but future research will instead use standard electromagnetic field generators to more precisely define the level of exposure,” said first author of the study Tamir Aldad, who added that mice pregnancies last only 19 days and that mice are born with less-developed brains than human babies.

The team’s study appears in Nature’s Scientific Report.

Source: Yale News