Cell Phone Headaches – New Study Reveals Cell Phone Radiation Headache Link

Over the last two decades the use of mobile devices has grown rapidly across the globe. Cell phones, in particular, have grown to become an integral part of our lives. But what about the link between cell phone use and headaches?

As of 2016, Statista estimated that about 63 percent of the world’s population owned and used a cell phone. The number of cell phone users in the world is predicted to pass the five billion mark by 2019. (1)

Cell phones communicate by sending and receiving Radio Frequency Radiation (RFR), which is a form of microwave radiation within the electromagnetic spectrum, from their antennas to a cell phone tower.

The RF radiation emitted by cell phones is supposedly harmless as long as it complies with government guidelines. Unfortunately this is simply not true. Numerous studies have found a link between cell phone radiation and a number of symptoms, including headaches, giving rise to a phenomenon known as ‘cell phone headaches'.

cell phone headaches

Cell Phone Use Significantly Associated With Headaches

A recently published Chinese study (2) has now found strong evidence linking cell phone radiation to headaches in children and adults. This 2017 study, which carried out a systematic review of some 2699 previous studies going back to 1990, also found a dose-response relationship between the risk of having a headache and duration of cell calls and frequency.

The study concluded, ‘our meta-analysis suggested that mobile phone use is significantly associated with headaches.’ The most likely explanation for how cell phone radiation causes headaches is that forwarded by Dr. Pierre Aubineau of the University of Bordeaux’s National Center for Scientific Research (3), that it causes inflammation in the meninges – the membranes that surround the brain. Earlier research came up with similar findings.

Earlier Research Links Cell Phone Radiation With Headaches And Nausea

A 2016 Korean study examined a number of variables, stress, sleep, cognitive function, and depression, but found that cell phone call duration to be the main determinant of the severity of headaches.

A major Danish study on some 52, 000 children enrolled pregnant women had similar findings. Then when their children reached the age of seven, the mothers completed a questionnaire regarding their child's health. It was found that children with cell phone exposure had higher odds of headache-related symptoms than children with no exposure.

In 2003, TNO Physics and Electronics Laboratory published the results of a study commissioned by three Dutch ministries on cell towers. (4,5)  found that cell phone radiation can cause headaches and nausea. It also found a link with other symptoms such as dizziness fatigue, weakness, and muscle pain – despite a lower dose of radiation than that of cell phones being used in the study.

A ministry spokesman said: “If the test group was exposed to third generation base station signals, there was a significant impact. They felt tingling sensations, got headaches and felt nauseous.

Many people have a hard time accepting that their cell phone could in any way cause a headache. The studies listed below explain some important ways cell phone radiation can impact our brains.

cell phone health effects

The Head and Hand Absorbs 40 Percent Of Cell Phone Radiation

According to a 1997 study 40 percent of radiated phone energy is absorbed in the hand and the head. The study found “its emission at the head surface is typically 10,000 times stronger than fields reaching the head of a user standing within 30m of the base of a typical mobile phone relay transponder mounted on a tower 30m above ground”. The distance between you and the source of the radiation, in this case your cell phone, is of fundamental importance.

Your Head Is An Antenna

A study published in the Journal Medical Hypotheses, (6) found that ‘cell phone broadcasts occur specifically at frequencies at which the head serves as an antenna and brain tissue serves as a demodulating radio receiver.

The implication is massive. It implies that a significant amount of RF radiation emitted is absorbed and retained in brain tissue.

This is particularly serious in the case of children. Studies show that children absorb a significantly greater amount RF Radiation than adults because their brain tissues are more absorbent, their skulls thinner and their relative size smaller.

Many other studies (12) have shown that even minute levels of Radio Frequency Radiation have varying detrimental health effects on the brain vis-à-vis the head, consequently manifestation of headaches.

Cell Phone Radiation Linked to Brain Tumors

A common initial symptom of a brain tumor is headaches, so its important to look at the link between cell phone radiation and brain tumors. Two prominent studies (11); The IARC Interphone Study and The Hardell Group Studies in Sweden (1999–2011), provide complementary and mutually supportive evidence to show a great deal of correlation between cell phone-emitted radiation and the incidence of brain tumors.

It was largely on the basis of these two studies that the The World Health Organization's (WHO's) International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) decided to declare radio frequency radiation from mobile phones as a Class 2B (possible) carcinogen.

A 2009 Hardell study even found a higher incidence of brain tumors on the sides of heads users placed their cell phones.

Cell Phone Radiation Causes Inflammation In Cells

In a study published in 2014 in the International Brazilian Journal of Urology, (7a) researchers' wanted to understand the effect of electromagnetic waves from cell phones on the mammalian tissue. They concluded that electromagnetic waves from cell phones have a severe inflammatory effect on bladder tissue with reasons to believe that other organ tissues could be affected as well.

The implication of this study is that cell phone radiation can induce inflammatory reactions in brain tissues, thus being a potential cause of headaches. Not surprisingly, people that are sensitive to cell phone radiation often complain of headaches and an uncomfortable sensation directly where the phone is used closest to the body.

30 Minutes Cell Phone Use Alters Brain Activity

Changes in brain activity are a possible cause of headaches. According to a study published in the journal of Clinical Neurophysiology, (7b) 30 minutes short-term of exposure to Long Term Evolution (LTE) cell phone radiation affects brain activity on both hemispheres of the brain. The study showed that radio frequency radiation from LTE 4G (Forth Generation) technology affects brain activity not only in the closer brain region but also in remote regions, including the left hemisphere of the brain.30 minutes cell phone radiation dangerThe increase in brain observed activity didn't subside immediately but continued for up to one hour even after the cell phone was turned off.

These findings are in line with another study (8) which found that changes in brain activity lasted some time after 30 minutes exposure to electromagnetic radiation, as from cell phones. The study found that blood flow increased in areas of the brain on the side closest to the phone and that this effect lasted for over half an hour afterward.

Cell Phone Radiation Increases Brain Glucose Metabolism

A 2011 study (9) used imaging technology to monitor brain activity after being exposed to cell phone radiation for 50 minutes. The areas of the brain closest to the radiating antenna of a cell phone responded with significantly increased glucose metabolism. They concluded that weak cell phone emissions changed brain activity.

cell phone blood glucose effects

Cell Phone Radiation Increases Blood-Brain Barrier Permeability

Research published by Allan Frey in the 1970s showed that radio frequency radiation exposures of the type emitted by cell phones increased blood-brain barrier permeability.

Since then dozens of other independent studies have come to the same conclusion with regard to blood-brain barrier permeability, notably that of Salford in 2009 (10) which found that cell phone radiation can damage neurons in the brain.

The study found that exposure to electromagnetic radiation emitted by cell phones was associated with the leakage of plasma protein albumin through the blood-brain barrier into the brain as well as neuronal damage that increased with increased amount of radiation exposure. Though the study sample size was small, the researchers emphasized that the combined results were “highly significant and exhibit a clear dose-response relation.

Cell Phone Radiation Increases Cancer Risk

Studies to date have found that cell phone radiation exposures are principally linked to two types of brain tumor, gliomas and acoustic neuromas. Gliomas, a particularly deadly form of tumor, are becoming increasingly common. The $25 million Interphone Study found that:

“regular use of a cell phone by adults can significantly increase the risk of gliomas by 40% with 1640 hours or more of use (this is about one half hour per day over ten years).”

There is a considerable body of scientific evidence pointing to the link between cell phone radiation and cancer – much of it is laid out on this page. Many brain tumor victims cite headaches as a precursor to their cancer.

Why Cell Phone Headaches Are Dangerous

Headaches can be just a nuisance or they can be extremely debilitating. I don’t want to downplay the severity of a chronic headache but often, in the case of cell phone related headaches, they are just the tip of the iceberg. More important, is what’s going on behind the scenes – the adverse biological effects.

This can be inflammation, blood brain barrier damage, modification of brain activity as outlined above or there can other biological effects. What is of real concern though, is when these headaches are the pre-cursor to serious diseases like brain tumors and cancers.

What You Need To Do

Cell phones, smart phones and similar devices have myriad detrimental health effects particularly on the head and brain- headaches are a common forerunner of these detrimental effects.

And yet public health organizations, our governments and the cell phone industry maintain the position that cell phones are safe.

Don’t delay – if you or someone you know is suffering from cell phone headaches now is the time to act.

To read my tips on cell phone radiation protection click here.

1. Number of mobile phone users worldwide. Retrieved from: https://www.statista.com/statistics/274774/forecast-of-mobile-phone-users-worldwide/
2. Jing Wang et.al Mobile Phone Use and The Risk of Headache: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Cross-sectional Studies Retrieved from: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-12802-9
3. http://microwavenews.com/sites/default/files/sites/default/files/backissues/n-d01issue.pdf
4. Zwamborn APM, Vossen SHJA, van Leersum BJAM, et al. Effects of global communications system radiofrequency fields on wellbeing and cognitive functions of human subjects with and without subjective complaints. TNO report, FEL-03-C148. The Hague, 2003. Available online. Retrieved From: http://milieugezondheid.be/dossiers/gsm/TNO_rapport_Nederland_sept_2003.pdf
5. Book: Silent Wireless Spring by Arthur Firstenberg Retrieved from: http://www.cellphonetaskforce.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/silent.pdf
6. Z. Weinberger, E. D. Richter; Cellular telephones and effects on the brain: The head as an antenna and brain tissue as a radio receiver Retrieved from: http://www.hese-project.org/de/emf/WissenschaftForschung/Richter_MD,%20MPH_Eli/Cellular%20telephones%20and%20effects%20on%20the%20brain.pdf
7a.Abstract: A new problem in inflammatory bladder diseases: use of mobile phones! Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25251956?dopt=Abstract
7b. Bin Lv et.al. The alteration of spontaneous low frequency oscillations caused by acute electromagnetic fields exposure. Clinical Neurophysiology. Published online 4 September 2013 Retrived from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24012322
8. PETER ACHERMANN et.al. Sleep EEG alterations: effects of pulsed magnetic fields versus pulse-modulated radio frequency electromagnetic fields. Retrieved from: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2869.2012.01025.x/full
Volkow ND et.al. Effects of cell phone radiofrequency signal exposure on brain glucose metabolism Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3184892/
10. Salford LG et.al. Nerve cell damage in mammalian brain after exposure to microwaves from GSM mobile phones. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12782486
11. Lennart Hardell, Michael Carlberg and David Gee Review; Mobile phone use and brain tumor risk: early warnings, early actions? Retrieved from: https://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/late-lessons-2
12. Other studies:



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  • rose said,

    Thanks for this will pass it along to whatever public will listen.. but I have an important question!

    When I am near wifi or pass cell towers I do not have the sensations around my head but in the front .. usually right above my eyes, and then it moves into my temples.. the discomfort/pain leaves in the same order! any clues?

  • Lloyd Burrell said,

    Hi Rose, this suggests to me that you are reacting to these frequencies…eyes have a high water content…microwaves particularly impact tissues and cells with a high water content…some people feel it.

  • JANE BANKS said,

    This is a great article!

    I, too, had cell phone-related headaches, that is, up until two months ago when I completely stopped using my cell phone.

    I thought: “Headaches are an outward sign that cell phones are dangerous, but what about all of the deleterious effects that cell phones are having on my body which I am totally unaware of?”

    Thus, I consider headaches as only the tip of the iceberg.

  • Karl Muller said,

    A very important review of current research. I have tracked at least 12 pandemics that hit South Africa with the advent of cellphones in 1994. Each and every one of these illnesses has been linked to microwave radiation.

    One of these pandemics is headaches. Ask anyone in South Africa, there is a chain of Headache Clinics across all the major cities, there are several branches in Johannesburg, one right next to a cellphone tower. So:

    *Pandemic of headaches

    * Pandemic of infertility (infertility clinics everywhere, now specialising in male infertility: one of the longest-known effects of microwave radiation is male infertility).

    * Pandemic of sleep clinics: sleep disorders are now so widespread that vast numbers of people can only sleep when they’re drugged;

    * Pandemic of testicular cancer: Discovery Health, the biggest medical insurer in SA, reports a vast rise in the number of testicular cancers and leukamias. Men carrying cellphones in their pockets are radiating their private parts at levels higher than the WHO standards. This was revealed by Dr Dariusz Leszczynski, formerly head researcher at Finland’s government radiation protection bureau. He said this in a documentary on ABC TV in Australia by Maryanne Demasi; the documentary was then withdrawn and Demasi was fired.

    * Pandemic of ADD: I am a trained education researcher, I specialised in classroom discourse and developed my own means of measuring “attention” in the classroom in the 1980s, since no one seemed to have done it properly. To this day, I am probably the world authority on measuring attention in classrooms. I can say without question, that up until 1994, in nearly 20 years teaching in black education in South Africa, I did not see one single case of ADD in black kids. Now it is an absolute pandemic: I rate 100% of the kids I now teach as having some signs of ADD. I saw this begin with my own eyes in late 1994, as they switched the networks on. At the time I had no idea what was going on: but I walked straight out of the classroom when I saw rampant ADD in black kids, this was not something I could deal with.

    *Pandemic of teen suicide: Again, absolutely unknown in the black community in SA before 1994; strings of teen suicides were first reported in 1995; this is now an absolute regular pandemic, with a whole section of Soweto’s main hospital set aside for kids who have taken rat poison and need urgent treatment for organophosphate poisoning: many die, many don’t reach hospital.

    * Pandemic of baldness in young men: the Russian diagnosis of microwave sickness included hair loss. One woman showed me that she had no hair at all growing around the ear she held her cellphone to. She would not stop using it, she was a journalist.

    * Pandemic of Alzheimer’s disease…

    * Pandemic of autism… (more than 2% of all US kids now diagnosed in the autism spectrum, according to CDC).

    * Pandemic of rages: take a look, right across America, road rage exploded around 1997 and road rage committees were set up in states all over the nation in that exact year.

    * Pandemics of lingering influenzas, depressed immunity in general (the overriding symptom of microwave radiation). The first lingering flu in SA was called Boomerang Flu, because it kept coming back; and was also said to have arrived with Australian visitors that year to the Rugby World Cup. There was no evidence at all for this, just a press invention. But again: that was the first full year of cellphone operation, and the year a blanket pandemic of lingering flu hit Johannesburg, it killed many people and damn near killed me.

    * Pandemic of chronic fatigue: this is what hits me near masts, I can feel the presence of a mast, without question.

    … and on and on and on. These pandemics are getting harder and harder to cover up. The retired British microwave warfare scientist, Mr Barrie Trower, has predicted a pandemic of birth disorders much greater than the Thalidomide disaster, as the issue that might finally force the authorities to admit that there just *might* be a problem with this technology, even as they roll out 5G. Incidentally, teen suicide near cellphone masts is the single most stark warning Mr Barrie Trower gives in his public talks. The other is of permanent genetic damage to the human species through DNA damage in the ovarian follicles (found in several studies on mammals). This would mean genetic damage transmitted down the female line for the rest of the existence of the human race.

  • Zeke Pervan said,

    Hi Lloyd

    I am an Australian subscriber and impressed with your EMF Newsletter and quality of your guests.

    Had a computer outage half way through James Finn interview–how does he remove toxic metal build up in brain magnetite ?

  • Daniela said,

    Hi Lloyd,

    I am a brazilian subscriber and I am very glad that I have found this website.

    I have been having headaches now every time I have spending a long time on my smartphone creating paintings into an app called pics art. Sometimes it takes hours and hours ( sometimes 9 to 10 hours ) of my day and I have been feeling nausea, I lose my focus and sense of reality, fatigue a lot and headaches and then I have to stop using my smartphone for 2 straight weeks to these terrible biologic effects go away. They go away every time I sray away from the cellphone and when I have started to use my cellphone again for my paintings and creations I start automatically having all these horrible feelings.. I did not link to cellphone and I thought I was geting sick for another situation. Now, I have realized it really comes from my stupid cellular.
    I have had with it. So, yesterday I destroyed my cellphone and I am glad for it. I really want my life back again and to fell good.

  • Lori said,

    Hi Lloyd,
    I have VOIP majicjack for a home phone. It is wired to the router. With a corded phone, would it reduce radiation levels same as if it was plugged into a phone jack from the phone company?

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