A cure for Alzheimers? Yakking on the phone

Posted by Emma Woollacott

It's not what you'd expect from all those moronic overheard conversations - but heavy cellphone users are apparently less likely to suffer from memory loss.

A new study in mice has indicated that long-term exposure to the electromagnetic waves associated with cellphone use may actually protect against, and even reverse, Alzheimer’s disease.

"It surprised us to find that cell phone exposure, begun in early adulthood, protects the memory of mice otherwise destined to develop Alzheimer’s symptoms," said lead author Gary Arendash, Research Professor at the Florida Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center. "It was even more astonishing that the electromagnetic waves generated by cell phones actually reversed memory impairment in old Alzheimer’s mice."

Based on their unexpected findings, the researchers conclude that electromagnetic field exposure could be an effective, non-invasive and drug-free way to prevent and treat Alzheimer’s disease in humans.

The team showed that exposing old Alzheimer’s mice to electromagnetic waves generated by cellphones erased brain deposits of the harmful protein beta-amyloid, in addition to preventing the protein’s build-up in younger Alzheimer’s mice.

The study involved 96 mice, most of which were genetically altered to develop beta-amyloid plaques and memory problems mimicking Alzheimer’s disease as they aged. They were exposed to the electromagnetic field generated by standard cellphone use for two one-hour periods each day for seven to nine months.

If cellphone exposure was started when the genetically-programmed mice were young adults - before signs of memory impairment were apparent - their cognitive ability was protected. In fact, the Alzheimer’s mice performed as well on tests measuring memory and thinking skills as aged mice without dementia.

If older Alzheimer’s mice already exhibiting memory problems were exposed to the electromagnetic waves, their memory impairment disappeared. Months of cell phone exposure even boosted the memories of normal mice to above-normal levels.

The researchers suspect that this is because electromagnetic exposure increases brain activity, promoting greater blood flow and increased energy metabolism in the brain.

The study appears in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.