For the first time in the country, researchers from the city will study possible health risks associated with mobile phone usage among Indians.
Doctors from Tata Memorial Centre ( TMC) will analyse mobile phone usage of 1000 individuals, of which 500 are being treated for brain tumour at the hospital, to find out whether there is a link between the disease and phone usage.
With this study, TMC has joined other western countries conducting similar studies to ascertain if mobile phone usage involves any health risks.
In fact, International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) asked the epidemiology department at TMC to join the international studies.
“The IARC study covers only children, but in the Indian study, we will analyse individuals between 10 and 60 years. We are studying the type of handset used and the amount of time spent on the phone,” said Dr Rajesh Dikshit, chief of epidemiology, TMC.
“This will help us probe if there is a relation between mobile phone habits and health risks,” Dikshit added.
Doctors said t hat if t he hypothesis that radiation from mobile phones can lead to cancer and affect the brain, as it is close to the site of contact, it is important to study mobile phone usage of brain tumour patients.
“We are hopeful of forming guidelines, if there is any association between cancer and mobile phone usage,” said Dr Rakesh Jalali, professor, radiation oncology, TMC.
Jalali added that although there was no clear evidence, children could be at greater risk of being affected by radiation as they have thin bones.
“In the last decade, mobile phone technology has evolved. The arrival of smartphones has drastically increased the time spent on phones, which are now being used for varied purposes such as reading, mailing and gaming. This might change the way it affects us,” added Dikshit.
TMC has received funding from the Department of Atomic Energy for this study.
The study, is in its nascent stage and is f ocussing on handsets alone, but in case the researchers find more cases from a particular area in the city, they will study radiation from mobile phone towers too.
The study will also be expanded to other major metro cities like Delhi, Chennai and Bangalore.