Alzheimer’s, Cancer & Cell-phones: Puzzling New Science Studies

January 7, 2010 at 4:56 pm Leave a comment

Cellphones & Mouse Brains! Phone from HelloMoto1, Gerbil from lockstockb, both on Stock.Xchng The past two weeks brought some startling results from Alzheimer’s related research.

The first, out of Washington University School of Medicine, suggests a curious reverse-link between Alzheimer’s and cancer: patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s are less likely to develop cancer, and vice versa.

Although the results were at least partiually unexpected, they do make a strange sort of sense.  In Alzheimer’s disease, brain cells inexplicably deteriorate, while cancer causes cells to inexplicably and wildly multiply.  It seems possible that related errors in the same biochemical or genetic switch underlie both conditions.

Obviously, this isn’t something you can take action on; trying to give yourself cancer to protect against Alzheimer’s would just be … well… “absurd” would be the mild way of putting it.

But the study does hold promise for new areas of investigation that just might lead to breakthroughs in the root cause of two very significant diseases of aging, and that sort of promise means serious hope for the future health of our brains.

Which brings us to the other strange research findings:

This time, it involves those formerly futuristic devices we’re all so dependant on these days:  cell-phones. Over the past few years, there’s been a lot of concern over possible links between cell-phone usage and brain tumors, but  no clear link has been found, and many studies seem to show that cellphones remain safe to use.

But an unexpected link between the brain and cell phone use *has* turned up, and it’s a positive one, at least for mice.  Exposure to the type of electromagnetic waves commonly generated by cell-phones seems to have a positive effect on the brains of lab mice.

No, the scientists involved didn’t buy tiny iPhones for their experiment…  but they did expose them to the level and type of radiation put off by cell-phones.  Some of the mice had been genetically engineered to develop Alzheimer’s-like symptoms, and others were completely normal.

The results?

  • The engineered mice with Alzheimer’s symptoms showed a marked improvement in their memories and a reversal of the disease.
  • The engineered mice who hadn’t yet developed symptoms *didn’t* develop symptoms.
  • The normal, non-engineered mice appeared to actually improve on the tests of their mental skills and memories.

Pretty stunning, wouldn’t you say?

Again, this isn’t really something you can or should take action on.   Human brains are significantly different from mouse brains – and the engineering done on the mice only *mimics* Alzheimer’s, it isn’t identical to it.   The potentially negative effects of long term and full time exposure to cell-phone-like radiation are still being questioned, and  the positive results have only been observed in mice.

But it is fun to think about and speculate on cutting edge science like these examples, and it gives your brain a workout to go over the material and speculate on the possibilities… even if, like me, you only understand about half of the material!

With that in mind, here are links to better articles on the studies, from Science Daily:

Enjoy stretching your brain!

Entry filed under: Supporting Science & Medicine. Tags: , , , .

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A healthy mind and brain is key to a healthy, active life. Come along for the ride as we explore the basics of brain health, with topics including:
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Authored by Tori Deaux
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