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Using a mobile handset for 50 minutes does affect the brain, according to a new study by the US National Institute of Health.

But far from any conclusive evidence of increasing brain cancer, or indeed any conclusive implications for health, what the study finds is that holding the phone close to your head stimulates the brain area closest to the antenna.

The State funded research comes after several years of study into the use of mobile phones and risk of brain cancer.

The study conducted experiments on 47 people by placing mobile phones on both ears of the participants and measuring brain activity after the mobile phone on the right side had been on for 50 minutes with the sound muted, and then with both phones off.

The scans were then studied to see if there was any effect on the way the brain processes sugar for energy.

It found that metabolism in the brain closest to the antenna was 7 percent higher when the mobile was switched on.

Speaking to the UK’s Daily Telegraph, Professor Patrick Haggard, Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience at University College London, said: “If further studies confirm that mobile phone signals do have direct effects on brain metabolism, then it will be important to investigate whether such effects have implications for health.”

Dr Nora Volkow, who conducted the study, said the results provided evidence that acute cell phone exposure did affect brain metabolic activity. “However, these results provide no information as to their relevance regarding potential carcinogenic effects – or lack of such effects – from chronic cell phone use,” she said.

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