In their study, described as the largest on the subject to date, Danish researchers have found there’s no link between the long-term use of a mobile phone and getting brain cancer.
The researchers at Institute of Cancer Epidemiology in Copenhagen looked at 358,000 people over a period of 18 years and found cancer rates were almost the same in both long-term mobile phone users and people who do not use the handsets.
They concluded that using cell phones does not lead to tumours of the brain or nervous system or, indeed, any cancer.
In fact, in the study covering the years 1990 to 2007, the researchers looked at users and non-users of cell phones. Overall, 10,729 people suffered tumours of the central nervous system. When they looked at those with the longest mobile use — 13 years or more — they found cancer rates were almost the same as among non-users.
The researchers observed no overall increased risk for tumours of the central nervous system, or for all cancers combined, in mobile phone users.
They said: “The extended follow-up allowed us to investigate effects in people who had used mobile phones for 10 years or more and this long-term use was not associated with higher cancer risks.”
But, they added: “A small to moderate increase in risk for sub-groups of heavy users or after even longer induction periods than 10-15 years cannot be ruled out.”
Though some experts have welcomed the findings, a few others are not convinced.
Hazel Nunn, head of evidence and health information at Cancer Research UK, was quoted by the ‘Daily Express’ as saying, “These results are the strongest evidence yet that using a mobile does not seem to increase the risk of cancers of brain or central nervous system in adults.”
But, Denis Henshaw, emeritus professor of human radiation effects at Bristol University, said: “This seriously flawed study misleads the public and decision makers about the safety of mobile phone use. I consider their claims worthless.”
Earlier this year, the World Health Organisation warned that mobile phones may cause cancer and urged owners to limit their use.
The WHO’s Interphone Study Group said that using a mobile for 15 minutes a day could substantially increase the risk of brain cancer and the longer people used them the higher the risk.
A team at New York University has shown the inhibition of both microRNA-33a and microRNA-33b with chemically modified anti-miR oligonucleotides can markedly suppress triglycerides and cause a sustained increase in the high density lipoprotein cholesterol or “good” cholesterol.
“The discovery of microRNAs in the last decade has opened new insights for up new avenues for development of therapies targeted at these potent regulators of gene pathways,” said Kathryn Moore, who led the team.
“The current study is the first to show that inhibition of miR-33a, as well as miR-33b which is only found in larger mammals can suppress plasma triglyceride levels and increase circulating levels of HDL-C.
“This study highlights the benefits of modulating miR-33 a/b and its downstream metabolic pathways for the treatment of conditions that increase cardiovascular disease risks, such as dyslipidemias and metabolic syndrome,” she added.
Metabolic syndrome is a combination of medical disorders that increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Cholesterol is a growing public concern worldwide characterised by an increase in triglycerides, decrease in plasma HDL-C, obesity and resistance to insulin that can lead to both cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Recent studies have indicated miR-33a/b regulate genes involved in cholesterol and fatty acid metabolism pathways.
“This study represents a significant advance from our proof-of-concept studies in mice showing that anti-miR-33 can both raise HDL and improve existing atherosclerotic vascular disease. These results bring the use of miR-33 inhibitors a step closer to clinic,” said team member Katey Rayner.