Humans Wearing Sensors Will Soon Be The Backbone of a Mobile Internet Infrastructure

29 10 2010

Humans Wearing Sensors Will Soon Be The Backbone of a Mobile Internet Infrastructure

Members of the public could form the backbone of powerful new mobile internet networks by carrying wearable sensors. Experts weigh-in on the novelty and potential dangers.According to researchers from Queen’s University Belfast, the sensors could create new ultra high bandwidth mobile internet infrastructures and make mobile phone base stations almost obsolete. 

The engineers from Queen’s Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology (ECIT), are working on a new project based on the rapidly developing science of body centric communications.

Social benefits are being promoted from the work touting improvements in mobile gaming and remote healthcare, along with new precision monitoring of athletes and real-time tactical training in team sports.

The researchers at ECIT are investigating how small sensors carried by members of the public, in items such as next generation smartphones, could communicate with each other to create potentially vast body-to-body networks (BBNs).

The new sensors would interact to transmit data, providing ‘anytime, anywhere’ mobile network connectivity.

Many researchers are skeptical regarding long-term safety from the constant bombardment of electromagnetic radiation to the human body. “This has the potential to create a number of physical illnesses from cancer to neurological disorders,” said Mike Davis who specializes in electromagentic frequencies and there affect on humans.

Dr Simon Cotton, from ECIT’s wireless communications research group said: “In the past few years a significant amount of research has been undertaken into antennas and systems designed to share information across the surface of the human body. Until now, however, little work has been done to address the next major challenge which is one of the last frontiers in wireless communication – how that information can be transferred efficiently to an off-body location.

“If the idea takes off, BBNs could also lead to a reduction in the number of base stations needed to service mobile phone users, particularly in areas of high population density. This could help to alleviate public perceptions of adverse health associated with current networks and be more environmentally friendly due to the much lower power levels required for operation.”

“The availability of body-to-body networks may bring much greater risks to the population than benefits,” said Davis. “Regardless of reduced power levels from base stations, they may ultimately place a greater strain on the healthcare system in the long-term by dramatically affecting the nervous systems of the entire population,” he stated. “Humans would become the base stations.”

Dr Cotton added: “Our work at Queen’s involves collaborating with national and international academic, industrial and institutional experts to develop a range of models for wireless channels required for body centric communications.

“Even though the market for wearable wireless sensors is still in its infancy, it is expected to grow to more than 400 million devices annually by 2014.”

Davis worries that once approved, the devices will be ushered in quickly by telecom without proper long-term testing.

Original Source: Prevent Disease dot com




Newsweek asks "Will This Phone Kill You?"

5 08 2010

From the latest online edition of NEWSWEEK:

To get a sense of the total, complete, and utter mess that is research on the health effects of cell phones, look no further than a study of whether the ubiquitous gadgets raise the risk of brain tumors. “Interphone,” organized by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer, was the largest (10,751 subjects, ages 30 to 59, in 13 countries), longest (10 years), most expensive (as much as $30 million), and most labor-intensive (48 scientists) study of its kind. That boded well for producing credible conclusions. Instead, Interphone found that using a cell phone decreased the risk of glioma (primary brain cancer) by 19 percent. Even in people who had used cell phones for more than 10 years there was no increased risk of brain tumors, with the exception of those who said they had yakked away for more than 1,640 hours. And the 40 percent increased risk of glioma in this group came with a caveat that is emblematic of this field: this elevated risk, the scientists warned, may be an artifact of “biases and error,” not real. Things got so acrimonious among Interphone scientists that they delayed announcing the results, finally released in May, for four years.

There are many, many ways to screw up experiments on the biological effects of cell-phone radiation, and in 20 years of studies scientists seem to have used every one. The result is a confused public and nearly incoherent government policies that careen back and forth like a drunk after last call. In April, Maine legislators voted against requiring warning labels on cell phones. In May, San Francisco mandated them. A bill to be introduced in Congress would require warning labels nationwide and create a research program—but the last time the government called for studies that would “finally” answer whether cell phones pose a risk of cancer was in 1999, and since then all that’s been accomplished are studies on how to do the studies. Society has never been good at making decisions in the face of scientific uncertainty (what do we do about possibly carcinogenic pesticides? About climate change?), but with cell phones the situation is even worse: it may be impossible to get definitive answers in a reasonable time about whether the radio-frequency radiation the devices emit will kill any of the 4.6 billion people who now use them.

The first big uh-oh experiment, done in Australia and published in 1997, exposed mice to the radiation typical of cell phones (about 800 megahertz to more than 2 gigahertz; this study used 900 MHz) for one hour a day for 18 months. The mice got lymphoma at 2.4 times the rate that unexposed mice did. The alarming finding set off a stampede of research. Two studies in Texas, in 1998, exposed mice to 2,450-MHz radiation for 20 hours a day, every day, for 78 weeks, finding no extra breast cancers compared with mice that weren’t zapped. A 2002 study in Germany, exposing mice to 900 MHz, found no increase in breast cancer. A 2002 Australian study—900 MHz, an hour a day, five days a week, for two years—looked for an increase in lymphomas: nothing. The biggest set of animal tests—called Perform-A, it took eight years, cost $10 million, was organized by the European Commission, and announced results in 2007—found no evidence that cell radiation induces or promotes cancer in exposed mice or rats.

Read Entire Article





Congress may consider bill requiring cancer warning on cellphones

10 07 2010

Kucinich to introduce bill for cell phone radiation research, warning label

Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich (D-OH) said Wednesday that he will introduce a bill for a federal research program on the affects of cellphone radiation on users. The bill will also call for a warning label for mobile phones, as a growing body of research around the world indicate potential links between long-term use and cancer.

The bill comes after The Post’s report Tuesday outlining the growing controversy over cellphones and health. The story looks into the lobbying effort against bills across the country that would require warning and radiation data labels for cellphone retailers and San Francisco’s move as the first place in the nation to require retailers to disclose radiation levels of the phones they sell.

“Some studies find links. Some don’t. But studies funded by the telecommunications industry are significantly less likely to find a link between cellphones and health effects. We need a first-class research program to give us answers,” Kucinich said in a statement. “Until we know for sure, a labeling law will ensure that cellphone users can decide for themselves the level of risk that they will accept”

Kucinich, who held a hearing on the topic in 2008, said much of the current research on cellphone radiation is being done outside the United States. Federal regulations on how much radiation devices can emit – such as the Specific Absorption Rate set by the Federal Communications Commission – are outdated.

His bill will call for a fresh look at regulatory standards on how much radiation a cellphone can emit. The FCC’s guidelines for SAR, an absorption limit set at 1.6 watts per kilogram of tissue, were determined in 1997 and were designed around testing for a male adult model. Those standards, according to some epidemiologists, do not take into account other affects of radiation on tissue and do not take into account the fastest-growing segment of cellphone users: children.

Kucinich cited the 13-nation Interphone study (the U.S. did not participate) that found that while there is no conclusive link that long-term cellphone users were more prone to cancer, the heaviest users could be more vulnerable.

“Consumers have a right to know whether they are buying the phone with the lowest – or the highest – level of exposure to cellphone radiation. They also deserve to have up-to-date standards, which are now decades old,” Kucinich said.

Kucinich said in an interview that he will introduce his bill when Congress resumes session in two weeks. He said he has several co-sponsors.

“There is a high degree of interest in this among my colleagues,” he said.

This post has been updated since it was first published.

By Cecilia Kang | June 30, 2010; 2:36 PM ET

Congress may consider bill requiring cancer warning on cellphones..






San Francisco could be first city in US to mandate posting of cell phone emission levels

10 07 2010

Supes back posting of cell phone emission levels

San Francisco moved a step closer Tuesday to becoming the first city in the nation to require that retailers post in their stores notices on the level of radiation emitted by the cell phones they offer.

The Board of Supervisors voted 10-1 to give preliminary approval to the proposal. Final approval is expected next week. Supervisor Sean Elsbernd was the lone vote in opposition. Mayor Gavin Newsom, an early proponent of the legislation, plans to sign it into law when it reaches his desk.

Cast by backers as a pro-consumer measure, the ordinance would not ban the sale of certain cell phones but would require retailers to provide the “specific absorption rate” – a measurement of radiation registered with the Federal Communications Commission – next to phones displayed in their shops. Consumers also would be notified about where they can get more educational materials.

“This is about helping people make informed choices,” said Supervisor Sophie Maxwell, chief sponsor of the legislation.

But a trade group for the cell phone industry said the law could lead to confusion.

“Rather than inform, the ordinance will potentially mislead consumers with point-of-sale requirements suggesting that some phones are ‘safer’ than others, based on radio frequency emissions,” John Walls, vice president of public affairs for the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association, said after the vote. “In fact, all phones sold legally in the U.S. must comply with the Federal Communication Commission’s safety standards for (radio frequency) emissions.”

The FCC has adopted limits for safe exposure to radiation. The measurement shows the amount of radio frequency energy people absorb in their bodies when talking on a cell phone.

The potential long-term health impacts of cell phone use, particularly on the brain, is still a matter of scientific debate.

A similar right-to-know measure, carried by state Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, died in the Legislature this year amid heavy lobbying by the cell phone industry.

Small business advocates in San Francisco also lobbied against the local labeling law, saying they didn’t have an appetite for more government mandates, particularly in this tough economic climate.

“This is not about discouraging people from using their cell phones,” said Newsom spokesman Tony Winnicker. “This is a modest and commonsense measure to provide greater transparency and information to consumers.”

The posting requirements would be phased in, beginning in February. Violators would face fines of up to $300. City officials still need to educate retailers and figure out how the law would be enforced, when and if it is finally adopted. Hundreds of stores in San Francisco sell cell phones.

Renee Sharp, director of the California office of the Environmental Working Group, a national nonprofit research and advocacy group, lauded San Francisco for its “leadership in protecting the public’s health and right to know, and we hope it’s the beginning of a movement that won’t stop until everybody shopping for a phone has easy access to this information.”

E-mail Rachel Gordon at rgordon@sfchronicle.com.

This article appeared on page A – 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle

Supes back posting of cell phone emission levels.





Mobile Use Is Linked To Brain Tumors

30 10 2009

CellPhoneChildHandLONG-term mobile phone users could face a higher risk of developing cancer in later life, according to a decade-long study.

The report, to be published later this year, has reportedly found that heavy mobile use is linked to brain tumours.

The survey of 12,800 people in 13 countries has been overseen by the World Health Organisation.

Preliminary results of the inquiry, which is looking at whether mobile phone exposure is linked to three types of brain tumour and a tumour of the salivary gland, have been sent to a scientific journal.

The findings are expected to put pressure on the Government – which has insisted that mobile phones are safe – to issue stronger warnings to users.

http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/135974/Mobile-use-is-linked-to-brain-tumours





Study charts links between mobile phones, tumors

14 10 2009

Study charts links between mobile phones, tumors
High-quality studies often show potential cancer link

Industry-funded studies most likely to show no link
By David Morgan

WASHINGTON, Oct 13 (Reuters) – Studies on whether mobile phones can cause cancer, especially brain tumors, vary widely in quality and there may be some bias in those showing the least risk, researchers reported on Tuesday.
So far it is difficult to demonstrate any link, although the best studies do suggest some association between mobile phone use and cancer, the team led by Dr. Seung-Kwon Myung of South Korea’s National Cancer Center found.
Myung and colleagues at Ewha Womans University and Seoul National University Hospital in Seoul and the University of California, Berkeley, examined 23 published studies of more than 37,000 people in what is called a meta-analysis.

They found results often depended on who conducted the study and how well they controlled for bias and other errors.

“We found a large discrepancy in the association between mobile phone use and tumor risk by research group, which is confounded with the methodological quality of the research,” they wrote in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

The use of mobile and cordless phones has exploded in the past 10 years to an estimated 4.6 billion subscribers worldwide, according to the U.N. International Telecommunication Union.
Research has failed to establish any clear link between use of the devices and several kinds of cancer.

The latest study, supported in part by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, examined cases involving brain tumors and others including tumors of the facial nerves, salivary glands and testicles as well as non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas.

It found no significant association between the risk of tumors and overall use of mobile phones, including cellular and cordless phones.

MILD RISK

Myung’s team said eight studies that employed “high quality” methods to blind participants against bias found a mild increased risk of tumors among people who used mobile phones compared with those who never or rarely did.

An increased risk of benign, not malignant, tumors was also found among people who used the phones for a decade or longer.

The “high quality” studies were funded by the Swedish Work Environment Fund, the Orebro Cancer Fund and the Orebro University Hospital Cancer Fund, Myung’s team said.

By contrast, studies that used “low quality” methods to weed out bias found mobile users were at lower risk for tumors than people who rarely used the devices.

Myung’s team suggested those results could be marred by random errors and bias because of the quality of the methods.

Funding for some of the lower-quality studies included two industry groups, the Mobile Manufacturers Forum and the Global System for Mobile Communication Association, the researchers said.

Overall, the studies examined were not broad enough to shed light on whether mobile phone use could cause tumors. Myung’s team said larger studies of a type called cohort studies are needed to answer that question.

Such studies follow a group of people who share a characteristic, in this case cellphone use, and compare them with other groups over time.

The only cohort study published to date showed no association between mobile phone use and tumors. But the study, conducted in Denmark, relied on telephone subscriptions and did not evaluate actual exposure to mobile phones. (Editing by Maggie Fox and John O’Callaghan)

Reuters AlertNet – Study charts links between mobile phones, tumors





U.S. senator promises look into cellphone-cancer link

15 09 2009

U.S. senator promises look into cellphone-cancer link

By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor Maggie Fox, Health And Science Editor – Mon Sep 14, 7:46 pm ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Iowa senator Tom Harkin, newly empowered to investigate health matters as chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, promised on Monday to probe deeply into any potential links between cellphone use and cancer.

Harkin, who took over the committee earlier this month after the death of Massachusetts Senator Edward Kennedy, said he was concerned no one has been able to prove cellphones do not cause cancer.

“I’m reminded of this nation’s experience with cigarettes. Decades passed between the first warnings about smoking tobacco and the final definitive conclusion that cigarettes cause lung cancer,” Harkin said.

Cell phones, used by an estimated 275 million people in the United States and 4 billion worldwide, use radio waves. Years of research have failed to establish any clear link between their use and several kinds of cancer, including brain tumors.

Recent worries have been raised by the Environmental Working Group, an activist group, and epidemiologist Devra Lee Davis of the University of Pittsburgh, who has written a book alleging the government has overlooked many potential sources of cancer.

Harkin called a hearing of the Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education to look into the questions on Monday. “I will pursue this beyond this panel, with NIH (the National Institutes of Health),” Harkin said after the hearing.

He noted the appropriations committee did not have jurisdiction over the Food and Drug Administration or the Federal Communications Commission, but said the Health committee he now chairs does.

A staffer said the senator became concerned by a report from the Environmental Working Group showing that radio wave emissions vary from one cellphone brand and model to another; as well as some reports suggesting there might be a link.

PROVING A NEGATIVE

Linda Erdreich of science and engineering firm Exponent in New York said 50 years worth of evidence had failed to show that cellular phones can cause cancer.

“This part of the spectrum is known as non-ionizing radiation,” she told the hearing, explaining that this means radio waves cannot damage the DNA in cells.

But Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter pressed her on this, asking her repeatedly whether science had conclusively proved there was no connection. “Your statement that it is hard to prove a negative is right on,” Erdreich replied.

“What comes through to me is that we just don’t know what the answer is,” said Specter, a cancer survivor who said he avoids white flour and sugar in case it might feed tumors.

(Editing by Todd Eastham; additional reporting by Thomas Ferraro)

news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20090914/hl_nm/us_cellphones_cancer








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