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Cell Phones and Cell Damage

A review of eleven long-term epidemiologic studies shows that using a cell phone for ten years doubles the risk of diagnosis with a brain tumor (glioma, acoustic neuroma) on the same side of head used for the cell phone (Surgical Neurology, August 12, 2009).

Microwaves from cell phones cannot cause cancer unless they produce heat because, unlike X rays, they are not strong enough to break bonds that hold molecules together. However, an earlier study from the University of Nottingham, England, showed that low dose microwaves emitted by cell phones caused roundworms to release heart shock proteins, a sign of cell damage (JAMA, December 20, 2000; Nature, May 25, 2001). The cell damage comes from 800 to 900 MHz range radio frequencies from the antenna inside the phone that sends a signal from your phone to the tower many miles away. The energy generated by electromagnetic waves that come into your cell phone appears to cause no damage.

Since we still do not know if cell phones can cause brain tumors, you would be wise to keep the antenna at least two inches away from your body by using a wired or wireless earpiece such as Blue Tooth. The sound waves from these devices have never been implicated in any type of damage.

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Dear Dr. Mirkin: When a male has Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), how long can he infect his partner(s)?

HPV is a sexually-transmitted virus that can cause cervical cancer in women, penile cancer in men, and oral cancer in both. However, only one in 250 women infected with HPV develops cervical cancer.

HPV is incurable and lasts forever, and an infected person is potentially infectious forever. Gardasil immunization prevents HPV, but only if you are vaccinated before exposure. That means that a person must get the vaccine at a very young age before any chance of starting sexual activity.

Antibiotics are ineffective in treating HPV because it is a virus. Many other sexually-transmitted viruses and bacteria exist. Some sexually transmitted bacterial infections respond to antibiotics; both partners should be treated at same time.

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Dear Dr. Mirkin: How can I reduce my risk for colon cancer?

Many research papers show that exercise markedly reduces a person's chances of developing colon cancer. Now research from Finland shows that intense exercise offers more protection (British Journal of Sports Medicine, August 2009). 2560 men from Eastern Finland with no history of cancer were followed for 17 years. The more intense the exercise, the less likely they were to develop cancer, particularly that of the lung or colon. Men who jogged or otherwise exercised fairly intensely for at least 30 minutes a day had a 50 percent reduction in the risk of dying from cancer. More on preventing colon cancer

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Recipe of the Week:

Shrimp Jambalaya

You'll find lots of recipes and helpful tips in The Good Food Book - it's FREE

June 22nd, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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