Risks for central nervous system diseases among mobile phone subscribers: a Danish retrospective cohort study

PLoS One. 2009;4(2):e4389. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0004389. Epub 2009 Feb 5.

Abstract

The aim of this study was to investigate a possible link between cellular telephone use and risks for various diseases of the central nervous system (CNS). We conducted a large nationwide cohort study of 420 095 persons whose first cellular telephone subscription was between 1982 and 1995, who were followed through 2003 for hospital contacts for a diagnosis of a CNS disorder. Standardized hospitalization ratios (SHRs) were derived by dividing the number of hospital contacts in the cohort by the number expected in the Danish population. The SHRs were increased by 10-20% for migraine and vertigo. No associations were seen for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, multiple sclerosis or epilepsy in women. SHRs decreased by 30-40% were observed for dementia (Alzheimer disease, vascular and other dementia), Parkinson disease and epilepsy among men. In analyses restricted to subscribers of 10 years or more, the SHRs remained similarly increased for migraine and vertigo and similarly decreased for Alzheimer disease and other dementia and epilepsy (in men); the other SHRs were close to unity. In conclusion, the excesses of migraine and vertigo observed in this first study on cellular telephones and CNS disease deserve further attention. An interplay of a healthy cohort effect and reversed causation bias due to prodromal symptoms impedes detection of a possible association with dementia and Parkinson disease. Identification of the factors that result in a healthy cohort might be of interest for elucidation of the etiology of these diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cell Phone / statistics & numerical data*
  • Central Nervous System Diseases / etiology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Denmark
  • Female
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors