Mobiles `speed reaction time'

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The Independent Online
THE WORLD'S first study into the effects of mobile phones on the human brain has cleared them of causing memory loss.

Researchers from the University of Bristol found that using mobile phones may actually improve a person's mental performance, as revealed by The Independent last month.

The findings will be greeted with relief by Britain's 10 million mobile phone users, who have been subjected to a series of scare stories based on misreporting of the Bristol study.

In a series of experiments on a panel of 36 volunteers, the scientists attempted to mimic the effects of being exposed to the microwave radiation emitted from mobile phones during a 30-minute conversation.

Alan Preece, the leader of the research team from the university and the Bristol Royal Infirmary, said: "There appears to be no effect on short- term memory or attention for short exposures to the microwave effects of mobile phones. But there was one noticeable effect: the subjects reacted faster in one test involving a visual choice after the transmissions."

The researchers, reporting in the International Journal of Radiation Biology, said the improved reaction time may be due to microwaves influencing the brain's temperature.

Dr Preece said he did not wish to speculate about the risks to health from mobile phones. He said it is for other experts, such as neurologists, to make such assessments.