Since we're already living in Bizarro World, consider this: What if decades of rumors about cell phone radiation were totally wrong? What if, instead of causing cancer, it actually helps you live longer?
That's what a writer for Mother Jones said newly released animal research appears to show.
Kevin Drum examined the final draft report of the National Toxicology Program, a study of the effect of cell-phone radiation on rats. What he found was just about the opposite of the worst-case scenario about radiation and cancer. Rats with no exposure to radiation died younger, and radiation exposure appeared to prevent the most common fatal disease in the species.
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The specifics of the cell phone radiation study
"The study found that a very small number of male rats exposed to radiation developed malignant gliomas, though oddly, there was no dose-response effect: rats exposed to low levels of radiation developed gliomas at the same rate as those exposed to high levels," Drum wrote. "In any case, the overall effect was not statistically significant. Female rats showed no ill effects at all. The same was true for schwannoma tumors (which are often benign): male rats showed a small increase while female rats didn’t."
The study said there was "some evidence" of cancer-causing activity based on those schwannomas, but it was low and confined to males.
Drum also pointed out this finding in the report: "In males, survival was greater in all exposed groups compared to sham controls, though it was statistically significant only in the 1.5 and 3 W/kg groups. Survival in the sham control group was 28% compared to 48%, 62%, and 48% in the 1.5, 3, and 6 W/kg groups, respectively."
In other words, the rats that weren't exposed to radiation lived less than half as long as rats exposed to the medium dose of radiation. And rats exposed to the most radiation still lived longer.
The authors said the control group largely died of kidney disease, which is common in the strain of rat used for such studies. But the groups exposed to radiation had less occurrence of the disease — and the higher the radiation dose, the less disease there was. The study's authors said the radiation may have reduced inflammation that tends to cause the illness.
The peer review of the study was held last week, Drum said. The review panels voted to accept the report's conclusions. But there was no discussion of the longevity findings. "I'm not sure what we should make of this," he wrote.
Like every other news event in 2018, in other words.