Scientists raise new cell phone concerns. Scientists on Thursday warned U.S. legislators of the risks of brain cancer from cell phone use, highlighting the potential risk for children who use mobile phones. “We urgently need more research,” said David Carpenter, director of the Institute of Health and Environment at the University of Albany, in testimony before the House Subcommittee on Domestic Policy. “We must not repeat the situation we had with the relationship between smoking and lung cancer,” Carpenter said. Ronald Herberman, director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute – who sounded a warning about cell phone use and cancer earlier this year – said that most studies “claiming that there is no link between cell phones and brain tumors are outdated and had methodological concerns and did not include sufficient numbers of long-term cell phone users.” Many studies that deny a link between cell phones and cancer “defined regular cell phones as ‘once a week,’” added Herberman. “I cannot tell this committee that cell phones are definitely dangerous. But, I certainly cannot tell you that they are safe,” he said. Carpenter and Herberman both told the committee the brain cancer risk from cell phone use is far greater for children than for adults. Herberman held up a model for lawmakers showing how radiation from a cell phone penetrates far deeper into the brain of a 5-year-old than that of an adult.” Every child is using cell phones all of the time, and there are 3 billion cell phone users in the world,” said Herberman. He added that, like the messages that warn of health risks on cigarette packs, cell phones “need a precautionary message.”
The government stops heart study. Federal officials put on hold the largest alternative medicine study the government has ever done, and has stopped enrolling people while they investigate whether participants were fully informed of the risks and are being adequately protected, The Associated Press has learned. More than 1,500 heart attack survivors are involved in the research, which tests a controversial treatment called chelation. It is mainly used to treat lead poisoning. More than two people have died, although the Miami doctor leading the study said the deaths were not a direct result of the treatments. He said he doesn’t know exactly how many deaths have occurred. He also acknowledged that some doctors who had been involved in the study have been disciplined by state boards or have criminal records and have been asked to drop out. “We think we have a safe and ethical trial and we’re protecting our patients,” said Dr. Gervasio Lamas of the University of Miami, the study leader. The research was designed to test very high doses of vitamin and mineral supplements and chelation, which has not been proved effective for heart disease. Chelation (pronounced kee-LAY-shun) involves intravenous doses of a drug, in this case disodium EDTA, that proponents claim will bind to calcium built up in artery walls and help flush it from the body. Conventional treatments for heart disease include medicines, surgery and artery-clearing angioplasty. Federal officials confirmed Thursday they were investigating the o the $30 million study. Those directing the research, conducted at 100 sites around the United States and Canada, voluntarily stopped enrolling patients earlier this month, after the investigation was launched. The American College of Cardiology is listed in study documents as one of the groups associated with the research. The group’s president, Dr. W. Douglas Weaver, noted the treatment is “experimental, unproven.” But he supports finding out if it might work, and the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit where he works is participating.
Obese men have harder time being daddies. Being obese may dim a man’s chances of becoming a father, even if he is otherwise healthy, a new study suggests. Researchers found that among 87 healthy men ages 19 to 48, those who were obese were less likely to have fathered a child. More importantly, they showed hormonal differences that point to a reduced sperm’s ability to be productive, the researchers report in the journal Fertility and Sterility on Friday. Compared with their thinner counterparts, obese men had lower levels of testosterone in their blood, as well as lower levels of luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone- both essential to reproduction. According to the researchers, these relatively low levels of the hormones are suggestive of a condition in which the testes do not function properly due to signaling problems in the hypothalamus or pituitary gland, two brain structures involved in hormone secretion. The findings suggest that obesity alone is an “infertility factor” in otherwise healthy men, writes Dr. Eric M. Pauli and his colleagues at the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine in Hershey. Of the 87 men in the study, 68 percent had had a child. Pauli’s team found that the average body mass index, or BMI, was lower among these men compared with those who’d never fathered a child.