Scientists from Trent University in Canada reported a strong correlation between cell phone use and heartbeat irregularities, according to a new study published in the European Journal of Oncology.
The findings, which sampled 25 people between the ages of 37 and 79, concluded that subjects using cell phones showed an increase in heart rate to 93 beats per minute. Middle-aged mobile device users, between the ages of 37 to 58, showed the most profound effects as they responded more intensely to stressors that could cause “heart arrhythmia, heart palpitations, heart flutter, or rapid heartbeat and symptoms such as dizziness, nausea and profuse sweating.”
Additional symptoms reported by the group include memory problems, concentration difficulty and chronic fatigue.
Researchers from the university said the effect lasted as long as the subjects were exposed. In addition to wireless devices, Wi-Fi networks and fluorescent lights caused the same effects.
“These phones operate on microwaves, just like cell phones and Wi-Fi,” said Magda Havas, an associate professor within the Trent University’s department of environmental studies. “They use the same microwave frequency as Wi-Fi, which may explain the number of kids reporting heart fluctuations in schools that have installed it.”
Manufacturers claim that handsets are consumer tested and have proven to be safe among independent studies. But the debate is far from clear.
Several researchers believe prolonged use of phones could lead to brain tumors or other types of cancer, with other studies claiming the devices are safe. To complicate matters, scientists have even suggested that the studies are biased, often funded by the handset makers themselves.
Last year, the U.S. Senate Health Committee decided to investigate any potential links between cell phone use and cancer, concerned that the case may be similar to the cigarette-lung cancer connection that was denied by tobacco companies for decades.