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New Proof Mobiles make you lose your memory


3rd Nov 1999

New evidence has emerged that mobile phones damage long-term memory. It follows Sunday Mirror revelations that British Telecom is being sued by an ex-employee who claims using the phones has made him senile at 38. One of America's leading experts on mobile phones - Dr Henry Lai of the University of Washington - conducted tests on 100 rats in a 70,000 project into the possible effects of mobile phones.

He filled a large tank with water and taught all the rats to swim to a platform in the middle for safety.

The "lesson" was repeated six times to make sure it was stored in the rats' long-term memory.

Half the rats were then exposed to microwave radiation similar to that emitted by mobile phones.

And while the "normal" rats later found the platform with no problem the "exposed" rats had forgotten where it was.

Dr Lai said from America last night: "The long-term memory of virtually all the 'exposed' rats appeared to have been affected."

Previous studies have already linked mobile phones with short-term memory loss and confusion.

But Dr Lai's findings - which will shortly be published in a US medical journal - are the first to cast doubts on long-term memory. He said: "It is a completely different thing.

"Short-term memory loss is just being unable to remember something which you have just done or glanced at.

"Long-term memory is something which has been learned or recalled and stored in the brain.

"The data from this latest study is certainly a cause for concern." The Sunday Mirror revealed in April that former BT engineer Steve Corney was taking the company to court claiming he now suffers premature dementia. He said: "Five years ago seems like last week to me because I can't remember what's gone on in the meantime." BT deny the claim. Meanwhile, the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee has demanded the Government put extra cash into mobile phone research after finding only $60,000 was spent last year.

The Department of Trade and Industry is expected to announce its response in the next few weeks.

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