and you thought giving up sushi was a sacrifice

First chardonnay and sushi were declared off limits to mothers-to-be; now they’re coming for your smartphones.

new study published this spring in Scientific Reports suggests that in utero cellular telephone radiation may result in neurobehavioral disorders in children so exposed. Yale scientists put cell phones making uninterrupted, muted calls atop cages of pregnant mice, and found that when born, the baby mice exposed to the cell phone activity showed dyfunction in their brain circuitry similar to humans with ADHD.

Of course, no study is without its limits. According to the Yale Alumni Magazine,

Lead researcher Hugh S. Taylor stresses that the study was conducted on mice, so how it applies to humans is unknown. For one thing, mice “don’t have ADHD.”

Good point, Dr. Taylor. How exactly does one measure hyperactivity in a small rodent that, even if completely typical, enjoys spending all its waking hours running on a round treadmill to nowhere?

And let’s be honest: if you’re a pregnant woman talking on your cell phone between 15 and 24 hours a day– the amounts of time used in the study– you and your child will probably have plenty of other pressing issues caused by your extreme sleep deprivation.

Still, there has been a documented increase in diagnoses of ADHD in the last decade. That may be due to a growing awareness of the disorder. It might be due to an increase in misdiagnoses, depending on who you believe. It might be a little bit of both. But something’s causing something.

And this study suggests it might be the mom’s cell phone use at fault. I am usually way resistant to these sorts of guilt trips, but whether or not this study turns out to have any weight, there are some easy fixes here for all of us:

– keep your cell phone off your nightstand.

– if you’re pregnant, keep your phone “as far away from your abdomen as possible.”

– which might mean buying yourself one of these.

– or else just hanging up.

Do you take any precautions with your cell phone use, for your kids or for yourself? Do you think about it at all? Would this study change anything for you? 


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

The Tired Mother May 17, 2012 at 4:03 pm

I don’t know about this one.  I’ve given birth to four children, and none of them have ever used a cell phone in utero.


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