Cell Towers Making People Sick Is All In The Mind

from the psychosomatic dept

A lot of noise has been made in the UK lately about the supposed health dangers of WiFi and other types of wireless communications -- though the media stories about them are generally full of shoddy reporting and bad science. The reports, as a rule, feature a person who claims to have "electrosensitivity," and that radiation from WiFi or mobile phone networks makes them sick. Despite the claims, these people generally fail double-blind tests to see if they really can feel the presence of WiFi or other wireless networks, and another study has now once again confirmed this. Researchers said that people claiming to have electrosensitivity weren't faking it, and really were displaying the symptoms they claimed -- but that they were brought about by the people's belief that they were being harmed by radiation, and not the radiation itself. Just two of 44 people claiming to be "electrosensitive" correctly determined when the wireless signals were being emitted in six out of six tests; this compares pretty evenly to the 5 out of 114 control participants. Somehow, though, it's hard to imagine this study will end debate on the matter. After all, claiming that electronic smog is hurting children is far too juicy a story to pass up -- even if it isn't true.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Paquito, Jul 25th, 2007 @ 1:10pm

    Always the same problem

    Hi, Problem is every time you have a study regarding this kind of subjects, you immediately have a bunch of "experts" or people talking about how right/wrong that study is... Last year we heard bees were disappearing in America and Europe because of mobile/cellular technology... Until one month ago, where a European investigation shown the real problem was a parasite the bees have... I think cellular technology (waves) must have any kind of negative consequences (at the end, it's radiation)... Point is to know, how much and, precisely demonstrated (the most important thing there). Just come to discover your blog and it's on my favorites: thanks and regards from Spain :-) Paquito http://paquito4ever.blogspot.com

     

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  2.  
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    Devious, Jul 25th, 2007 @ 1:57pm

    I can feel it too...

    Hey I know when my cell phone checks in or when I am about to get a call. The muscles in my hip start to twitch everytime my phone starts to ring, and they do it randomly throughout the day.

    Strange.
    but True.

     

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  3.  
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    SailorRipley, Jul 25th, 2007 @ 2:08pm

    (dis)proves nothing

    First off, let me say I am not claiming anything with regard to whether or not cell towers really make people sick, I am just commenting on the study...

    the only thing this study has proven is that most of those 44 people have a psychosomatic condition.

    However, it does not really prove that nobody might be effected by radiation.

    It would be very interesting to see if those 2 who predicted 6/6 would continue to do so: if they don't, obviously they were just the statistical portion that on average was going to get all 6 right, (and this would carry much more weight to the conclusion that there is no ill effect) but if they would continue to predict correctly, one would have to admit those 2 would have some sort of sensitivity...

     

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  4.  
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    GoblinJuice, Jul 25th, 2007 @ 2:55pm

    Re: I can feel it too...

    I'd see a shrink and a regular doc. :-)

     

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  5.  
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    GoblinJuice, Jul 25th, 2007 @ 2:57pm

    Oh noes!

    Won't you think of the Amish?!

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 25th, 2007 @ 3:01pm

    Tell the electrosenstive people not to use their t.v. remote, or even watch t.v., or listen to radio, or get near anything that might be using or transmitting electricity. The E.M. waves are everywhere.

    If this is real and I'm being insensitive, then that is really interesting that the wavelengths our cell phones and wifi transmit on have hit some sort of biological resonance. It could be a new weapon.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 25th, 2007 @ 3:11pm

    Epitaph

    Epitaph on a hypochondriac's grave stone:

    "See - I told you I was sick"

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    CharlieHorse, Jul 25th, 2007 @ 3:15pm

    Oh No ...

    I can already hear the stampede by the knucklehead crowd to get some new laws passed to "save the children" ...

    how long before some bozo politician fishing for an issue comes out with this one in the states ?

    electrosensitivity ! I REALLY like that word, LOL! I'm going to use it at least once daily now for a period of no less than 3 weeks.

    oh, but wait ... gotta run ... my teeth are getting severe interference from my cell phone ...

     

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  9.  
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    SickLittleMonkey, Jul 25th, 2007 @ 3:18pm

    see, I told you

    I am wearing a tinfoil hat for a perfectly good reason!

     

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  10.  
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    Chief Elf, Jul 25th, 2007 @ 3:38pm

    Wrong suspect?

    Instead of being sensitive to the "wireless" spectrum of electomagnetic radiation, perhaps these people are sensitve to neutrinos. That's why the fail the double-blind studies, because trillions of neutrinos pass through the Earth and their bodies every second of every day. If that's the case, we can simply pass a new law to make the Sun stop emitting those nasty neutrinos.

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 25th, 2007 @ 3:49pm

    Sue the whole universe for cosmic radiation, too. If those bastard stars think they can get away with it just cause they're hundreds of light years away, they obviously haven't been introduced to our legal system.

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Raptor85, Jul 25th, 2007 @ 3:50pm

    right....

    I have no words for this, but this picture pretty much sums up what i feel....
    http://www.thinkgeek.com/tshirts/science/6df7/

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 25th, 2007 @ 3:59pm

    Sensationalism, (or vote grabbing), beats science any day!

     

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  14.  
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    good vibrations, Jul 25th, 2007 @ 7:24pm

    Re: I can feel it too...

    Me too. Weird. Even feel it sometimes with no phone. Is it because f nerve stimulation from the vibrations when I do have the phone on? a cowrker has the same conundrum.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 25th, 2007 @ 7:26pm

    Re: see, I told you

    I find the Tinfoil underwear works much better.

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Eludium-Q36, Jul 25th, 2007 @ 7:55pm

    Electrosensitives ?!

    Hold on here, wait a minute ... 5% of the people tested can ACTUALLY and ACCURATELY sense E-M radiation in the form of wifi etc !! This story is all upside down !! It needs to be about that 5% and not the 95% fakers ! Unbelieveable.

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Enrico Suarve, Jul 26th, 2007 @ 1:05am

    Re: Electrosensitives ?!

    And please could someone include their numbers?

    I have a job offer for them detecting unauthorised wireless networks at high security locations ;0)

    Any idea what range they operate on and their directional capabilities? Do I need to employ three to triangulate or can just one give me a bearing and an accurate range?

    Come on TechDirt - we need answers! ;0)

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    bob, Jul 26th, 2007 @ 1:14am

    straw man

    bob says:

    this is a bogus arguement. a straw man. a red herring.

    anglo-saxon countries tend to have this attitude where we wait until something is so obviously widespread and causing damage before considering that maybe we need to be careful.

    other countries set higher standards for themselves and ask "what if" somthing is having an effect that we don't yet understand.

    in other words, they are more cautious. and they have more respect for their collective health.

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2007 @ 4:34am

    Re: straw man

    yea, next time you want to call something a faulty argument, especially by calling out a specific fault, please state as to why it's at fault.

    You make no point as to why this would be a straw man fallacy. I see no straw man. They said they're trying to cast doubt on Point A. They do a study that shows, statisically speaking, Point A most likely is false. They then continue to say that their study says Point A is most likely false.

    Where's Point B (the straw man)? If it were a straw man fallacy, they'd start by saying Point A is most likely false. They'd then set out to disprove Point B and when they've done so, they'll claim they disproved Point A. I don't see that format here. I may be interpreting it incorrectly, but I really don't see it.

    Give us a counter-example, like, I dunno, one of these "other countries" you speak of and an example of their higher standards.

    Unless of course, you want me to point out fallacies in your argument... like, basically not having one.

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    SLA, Jul 26th, 2007 @ 6:14am

    Re: I can feel it too...

    Please switch OFF vibracall on your phone! ;)

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2007 @ 6:56pm

    Who needs science? If you want to believe it enough it MUST be true!

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2007 @ 11:39am

    Re: Always the same problem

    Paquito said: at the end, it's radiation

    You don't understand physics, do you? It's called radiation because it radiates - as in expands from some point.

    Visible light is electromagnetic radiation, too.

    The heat radiating from your body, or the food you eat, or the radiator in your car, is also (infrared) radiation.

    Wanna know more neat physics? Visible light and infrared radiation are both higher frequency and more likely to cause chemical reactions than the microwave radiation used by cell phones and wifi.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Paul`, Aug 8th, 2007 @ 4:57am

    Re: I can feel it too...

    I get the same thing. I think my phone is vibrating but its the muscles in that leg twitching :

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Mary Murphy, M.D., Sep 25th, 2007 @ 3:09pm

    Muscle twitching during MRI scan

    Radiologists and MRI technologists have to inform the patient undergoing an MRI exam not to be surprised if their muscles begin to twitch during the scan. "Remain calm and continue to hold still -- as much as possible -- for best images." This is a known and scientifically validated Nerve/Muscle response (twitching) probably induced by the RadioFrequency used in the bore of the magnet.

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Honey, Apr 28th, 2008 @ 7:06pm

    Cell phones and cell towers are killing us

    I've suffered so much since a cell tower went up nearby. Headaches, nausea, giddiness, dizziness, itching.
    Man is killing man! That's all I have to say.

     

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