Chatting on a cell phone may become the next taboo for pregnant women. A recent study led by Hugh S. Taylor, M.D., professor and chief of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences, found that when pregnant mice were exposed to cell phone radiation during pregnancy, their offspring were more hyperactive and forgetful than usual.
Taylor and colleagues attached cell phones on active calls—and therefore producing radiation—to the cages of 33 pregnant mice and left them there for the full 17 days of gestation. After the birth of the offspring, the scientists tested the memory, hyperactivity, and anxiety of the newborn mice. Those born to mothers with cell phones on their cages scored higher on measures of hyperactivity and lower on tests of memory and anxiety than mice born to mothers without the cell phone exposure, the researchers reported in the March 15 issue of the journal Scientific Reports. The team also found that certain neurons in the prefrontal cortex of the brains of offspring exposed to radiation had decreased activity, which may explain their behaviors. More work is needed, they say, to determine a safe level of cell phone radiation for pregnant women.