Are you styling with your new Apple IPhone 6, wearable fitness
trackers, and Apple Watch?
Most people don’t stop to wonder, “Could this technology be harming my health?”
Below is a review of some of the latest articles that explore this connection
and urge caution in our over-dependence in convenient technology.
Concerns of Wearable Technology
have long suspected that cellphones, which give off low levels of radiation,
could lead to brain tumors, cancer, disturbed blood rhythms and other health
problems if held too close to the body for extended periods.
here we are in 2015, with companies like Apple and Samsung encouraging us to
buy gadgets that we should attach to our bodies all day long.
there is no definitive research on the health effects of wearable computers
(the Apple Watch isn’t even on store shelves yet), we can hypothesize a bit
from existing research on cellphone radiation.
most definitive and arguably unbiased results in this area come from the
International Agency for Research on Cancer, a panel within the World Health
Organization that consisted of 31 scientists from 14 countries.
Phone Use and Cancer Risk
What was that risk? Here’s the summary on the risk of
mobile phone use and brain tumors (gliomas). I’ve bolded the main results:
made a pooled analysis of two case-control studies on malignant brain tumours
with patients diagnosed during 1997-2003 and 2007-2009. They were aged 20-80
years and 18-75 years, respectively, at the time of diagnosis. Only cases with
histopathological verification of the tumour were included. Population-based
controls, matched on age and gender, were used. Exposures were assessed by
questionnaire. The whole reference group was used in the unconditional
regression analysis adjusted for gender, age, year of diagnosis, and socio-economic
index. In total, 1498 (89%) cases and 3530 (87%) controls participated. Mobile phone use increased the risk of
glioma, OR = 1.3, 95% CI = 1.1–1.6
overall, increasing to OR = 3.0, 95% CI = 1.7–5.2
in the >25 year latency group. Use of cordless phones increased the risk to
OR = 1.4, 95% CI = 1.1–1.7,
with highest risk in the >15–20
years latency group yielding OR = 1.7, 95% CI = 1.1–2.5.
The OR increased statistically significant both per 100 h
of cumulative use, and per year of latency for mobile and cordless phone use.
Highest ORs overall were found for ipsilateral mobile or cordless phone use, OR = 1.8,
95% CI = 1.4–2.2
and OR = 1.7, 95% CI = 1.3–2.1,
respectively. The highest risk was found for glioma in the temporal lobe. First use of mobile or cordless phone
before the age of 20 gave higher OR for glioma than in later age groups. (2)
Data from 3234 overweight US
adults revealed a positive connection between length of TV time and diabetes. The study’s aim was
to determine the effect of metformin or lifestyle modifications (exercise and
weight loss) on the prevention or delay of type 2 diabetes onset. During the 3.2 year trial, the researchers also
collected time spent viewing TV. They reported:
time spent sitting lowers the chance of developing type 2 diabetes in
individuals at high risk of the disease, according to a new study based on data
from the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP). The authors emphasize that sitting
behavior may be an additional modifiable risk factor for diabetes that could
have public health implications.
results showed that for every hour spent watching television there was a 3.4%
increased risk of developing diabetes during the 3-year follow-up in
individuals who were at high risk of developing the disease. This was true even
after controlling for the effects of physical activity on diabetes
incidence,” said lead researcher Bonny Rockette-Wagner, PhD, director of
physical activity assessment at the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (3)
a Tree, Ditch the Depression Drugs?
What about the effect of technology
“unplugging” by stepping outside? A cross-sectional analysis compared the use
of antidepressants rates (aD-Rx) with density of urban street trees (UST) in
England. The study authors utilized a National Health Service from 2009-2010.(4-5)
controlling for confounding variables, rates of aD-Rx were inversely associated
with UST density using standard linear regression modeling. Specifically, the
addition of 1 UST was associated with 1.18 fewer aD-Rx per 1,000 people per
borough (‒1.18, 95% confidence interval [CI]: ‒2.45-0.00).
This is a slight change from the unadjusted model (‒1.38,
95% CI: 2.72-0.03), demonstrating that while confounders such as income and
employment status influenced aD-Rx rates, these SES factors do not completely
account for all of the between-borough differences. (5)
Technology has its place and I
personally love mine. However, too much radiation has risks.
I always turn off my Wi-Fi at
night, put my IPhone in “airplane mode” when it’s near my body, use
speakerphone as much as possible (no glioma for me!), and get outdoors with no
technology as much as possible, to make sure I stay “connected” to the “real world.”
Read more empowering news on
how to stay healthy in a chemical world, how MTHFR
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(1) Robinson T. Health
Concerns of Wearable Technology. New York Times. March 18, 2015.
(2) Mobile phone and cordless
phone use and the risk for glioma – Analysis of pooled case-control studies in
Sweden, 1997-2003 and 2007-2009. Pathophysiology. 2014; (22)1: 1-13
(3) McCall B. Turn Off TV:
Less Sitting, Less Diabetes in At-Risk Patients. Medscape Medical News. April
(4) Beil K. Plant a Tree,
Ditch the Antidepressants? Study shows inverse association between density of
London street trees and rates of antidepressant prescription. Natural Medicine
Journal. April 2015.
(5) Ref: Taylor MS, Wheeler
BW, White MP, Economou T, Osborne NJ. Research note: Urban street tree density
and antidepressant prescription rates–A cross-sectional study in London, UK. Landsc
Urban Plann. 2015 Apr;136:174-179