Every time I write about the hazard of phones some readers flip out. The hazards of non-ionizing radiation, whatever the evidence (and it is controverted, difficult, ambiguous and contradictory), seems to acquire a junk science label from people who don’t have much training or experience in evaluating the kind of evidence that forms the basis for some of the claims. OK, rant over. This isn’t about the hazards of non-ionizing radiation. But it is about a health hazard from telephones:
Constantly cradling a telephone receiver between the shoulder and ear to free the hands for other work can lead to strokes, according to Chinese University of Hong Kong medical professors.
Stroke cases due to injury of blood vessels in the neck have been reported once every three months at Prince of Wales Hospital for the past two years, with the average age of victims at 47 years old, mostly men. (The Standard [Hong Kong])
The explanation of the Hong Kong doctors is that the two major arterial sources of the brain, the carotid and vertebral arteries, are structurally vulnerable to compression or tears of certain segments when the neck is overextended. This partially interrupts flow to the brain. The result is something that looks like a stroke. Sudden lightheadedness or vertigo (sensation of the room spinning around), nausea, unsteady gait, or even one sided weakness or an area of numbness somewhere.
The cases seem to be more common in males under the age of 50, but that may be that these are the people who try to use both hands when they talk on the phone. Since I don’t like to talk on the phone, it’s one less thing I have to worry about.