Mobile Phones and MS

M
Harbo Poulsen A et al. Mobile phones and multiple sclerosis – a nationwide cohort study in denmark.PLoS One. 2012;7(4):e34453. Epub 2012 Apr 30.

We investigated the risk of, prognosis of and symptoms of multiple
sclerosis (MS) among all Danish residents who owned a mobile phone
subscription before 1996. Using the Danish Multiple Sclerosis Registry
and Civil Registration System, study subjects were followed up for MS
through 2004. Poisson
models were used to calculate incidence rate ratios (IRR, age range:
18-64 years) and mortality rate ratios (MRR, age range: 18+) and to
compare presenting symptoms among subscribers and all non-subscribers.
A total of 405 971 subscription holders accrued four million years of
follow up, with men accounting for 86% of the observation time. Among
subscription holding men, the IRR of MS was close to unity, overall as
well as 13+ years after first subscription (IRR 1.02, 95% CI:
0.48-2.16). Among women, the IRR was 3.43 (95% CI: 0.86-13.72) 13+
years after first subscription, however, based on only two cases (In my opinion this is meaningless because there are two few events).
Presenting symptoms of MS differed between subscribers and
non-subscribers (p = 0.03), with slightly increased risk of diplopia (double vision)
in both genders (IRR: 1.38, 95% CI: 1.02-1.86), an increased risk of
fatigue among women (IRR: 3.02, 95% CI: 1.45-6.28), and of optic
neuritis (inflammation of the opitc nerve between the eye and the brain)among
men (IRR: 1.38, 95% CI: 1.03-1.86). Overall the MRR was close to one
(MRR: 0.91, 95%CI 0.70-1.19) among MS-patients with a subscription and
although we observed some increased MRR estimates among women, these
were based on small numbers. In conclusion, we found little evidence
for a pronounced association between mobile phone use and risk of MS or
mortality rate among MS patients. Symptoms of MS differed between
subscribers and nonsubscribers for symptoms previously suggested to be
associated with mobile phone use. This deserves further attention, as
does the increased long-term risk of MS among female subscribers,
although small numbers and lack of consistency between genders prevent
causal interpretation.We investigated the risk of, prognosis of and symptoms of multiple
sclerosis (MS) among all Danish residents who owned a mobile phone
subscription before 1996. Using the Danish Multiple Sclerosis Registry
and Civil Registration System, study subjects were followed up for MS
through 2004. Poisson
models were used to calculate incidence rate ratios (IRR, age range:
18-64 years) and mortality rate ratios (MRR, age range: 18+) and to
compare presenting symptoms among subscribers and all non-subscribers.
A total of 405 971 subscription holders accrued four million years of
follow up, with men accounting for 86% of the observation time. Among
subscription holding men, the IRR of MS was close to unity, overall as
well as 13+ years after first subscription (IRR 1.02, 95% CI:
0.48-2.16). Among women, the IRR was 3.43 (95% CI: 0.86-13.72) 13+
years after first subscription, however, based on only two cases (In my opinion this is meaningless because there are two few events).
Presenting symptoms of MS differed between subscribers and
non-subscribers (p = 0.03), with slightly increased risk of diplopia (double vision)
in both genders (IRR: 1.38, 95% CI: 1.02-1.86), an increased risk of
fatigue among women (IRR: 3.02, 95% CI: 1.45-6.28), and of optic
neuritis (inflammation of the opitc nerve between the eye and the brain)among
men (IRR: 1.38, 95% CI: 1.03-1.86). Overall the MRR was close to one
(MRR: 0.91, 95%CI 0.70-1.19) among MS-patients with a subscription and
although we observed some increased MRR estimates among women, these
were based on small numbers. In conclusion, we found little evidence
for a pronounced association between mobile phone use and risk of MS or
mortality rate among MS patients. Symptoms of MS differed between
subscribers and nonsubscribers for symptoms previously suggested to be
associated with mobile phone use. This deserves further attention, as
does the increased long-term risk of MS among female subscribers,
although small numbers and lack of consistency between genders prevent
causal interpretation.

                                          

Image from Matt’s MS-Blogsite
                                                         

The world’s first commercial automated cellular network was launched in Japan in 1979. In 1981 a mobile network system was lauched in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. The first 1G network launched in the USA was in 1983. 2G was launched in Finland in 1991 and 3G came in 2001 in the Land of the Rising Sun. Using the excellent records of the Scandernavian states or is that using ‘Big Brother‘,  they looked at phone use to pre 1996 and MS development to 2004. So it was a case of Boys with Toys as over 80%  the information came from males with mobile phones (that’ is Cell Phones in American) and there was no change in their risk in developing MS. The information in females is too weak to comment on. There may have been a small increase in eye problems as the first presenting symptom in phone users. Overall one can suggest that phones are not a risk factor for developing MS ,so no need to bin the kid’s phones just yet, at least not for MS that is, plenty of other reasons.

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