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View Diary: Do Cellphones Cause Brain Cancer (28 comments)

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  •  No, this is not true (2+ / 0-)
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    arodb, electric meatball
    All known cancer causing agents act in the same way - by breaking the chemical bonds in DNA molecules, causing mutation.

    viruses that cause cancer, for example, work by a different mechanism

    And then their is the role of epigenetic factors:

    While the field of cancer genetics has enjoyed a great deal of attention among cancer researchers in the last few decades, the appreciation of cancer epigenetics is more recent, -owing to the fact that epigenetic mechanisms have emerged as key mechanisms in cancer development. All critical changes in cancer cells, such as silencing of tumour-suppressor genes, activation of oncogenes and defects in DNA repair, are caused not only by genetic but also by epigenetic mechanisms. Epigenetic events can affect many steps in tumour development; therefore, better understanding of epigenetic mechanisms is fundamental to our ability to successfully prevent, diagnose and treat cancer.

    •  As I read it, (1+ / 0-)
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      the epigenetic factors this article cites (including viruses) are discussed in their role as factors contributing to tumor growth and development.  This is not insignificant information, and it is an illuminating read, but it doesn't seem to directly address the way cells get turned cancerous in the first place - by mutation of nuclear DNA.  These epigenetic factors seem rather to help mutation along after the fact, by suppressing DNA repair and facilitating the transcription of those mutations to the next generations of cancerous cells, among other things.

      I'll not deny that the development of tumors is way more complicated than my comment made it out to be, but it doesn't change the central argument.  The only identifiable mechanism by which a cell phone could possibly initiate the mutations required for brain cells to turn cancerous is by means of microwave-frequency electromagnetic radiation.  At the frequency at which cell phones operate, that radiation is far too weak to achieve that outcome.

      Thanks for responding!

      "I seek the truth, which never yet hurt anybody. It is only persistence in self-delusion and ignorance which does harm." --Marcus Aurelius

      by electric meatball on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 07:01:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Again, this just isn't true (1+ / 0-)
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        but it doesn't seem to directly address the way cells get turned cancerous in the first place - by mutation of nuclear DNA.

        look, I don't have time to recap decades of intense research, but it's not really all that obscure that mutation of nuclear DNA IS NOT required for the initiation or development of cancer.

        And when somebody talks about tumor "growth" and "development" that's because cancer is a multistep process where SEVERAL things have to go wrong sequentially for full-blown cancer to occur (the seminal number is 6, but it could be more or less than that).  

        In some cases, one of the events could be the very first thing to happen (let's say a mutation to p53) and would be considered "initiating" but in other cases it could be the 5th or 6th event - and according to your worldview would be just involved tumor "development"

        And finally, reactive oxygen species (ROS) from normal metabolism cause WAY MORE DNA damage than ionizing radiation (or other types of environmental insults) - so even if you stick with the "DNA damage is the only freakin' way cancer can occur" meme, well, cell phones could stil be responsible (I've posted a couple links, there are many others easy to find on the internet).

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