Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.
I’ve addressed how cell phones may affect brain function, and how both cell phones and Wi-Fi may affect male fertility, but what about the effects of Wi-Fi on brain functioning?
“The possible existence of cognitive effects of [these kinds of radiofrequency energies] has been one of the more contentious discussions in the forever-contentious issue of whether exposure…has any health consequences” whatsoever.
Wi-Fi has been called an “uncontrolled global experiment on the health of [hu]mankind.” The effects of radiofrequency fields gained new urgency after the World Health Organization officially declared cell phone radiation to be “a ‘possible’…human carcinogen,” based on brain tumor risks. But, their decision “has no [direct] relevance to [the] possible health effects of Wi-Fi,” since the exposures are so much different. We may absorb 100 times less radiation in a typical exposure to Wi-Fi compared to cell phones, but you don’t know if there are effects…until you put it to the test.
“Can Wi-Fi affect brain function?” “To date, more than 100 studies have been published on the effects of [these kinds of] emissions on [human brain wave patterns, as measured by EEG].” “While the results are mixed, a fairly consistent finding is that [even a] short [duration of] exposures to the head [can] produce small, but statistically significant, changes in the EEG of resting and sleeping subjects.” This effect is acknowledged by most health agencies, but the question is: what do you do with that information? For example, a review sponsored by the European governing body concluded that the ‘‘relevance of such small…changes remains unclear,” and we don’t even know how it’s happening at all. Some have suggested it’s an artifact of the test, and that EEG wires may be acting “as antennas that carry” the waves straight to the brain, in effect contributing to the changes that it’s been set up to measure.
Either way, you don’t see the kind of neurocognitive effects with Wi-Fi exposure that you do to cell phones. For example, “[no] measurable effects [were found on] reaction time…or sustained attention.” Now, this was testing 2.4 gigahertz Wi-Fi, but if anything, we “would expect even lower levels of exposure” from the newer 5 gigahertz Wi-Fi “due to the shallower penetration depth.”
Though more accurately, “a person who spends hours a day glued to a smartphone or tablet may very well experience all sorts of neurocognitive effects—[but] from the use of the technology, not from [the radiation].”
It’s interesting; there’s a large literature out there about the “health implications of [these] new… technologies” for young people, but it’s about the content. For example, never before in history has such “[s]exually explicit material [been] indiscriminately available to youth,” and we need to ask ourselves as a society what effect that may be having. “[G]irls and boys were being exposed to a ‘colossal’ amount of digital media on smartphones,” which makes access to pornographic material all too easy, cheap, and anonymous.
No longer confined to homes and bedrooms, “young people can [now] watch pornography in school,” out in public, just a touch of a button away, and researchers have only begun cataloguing the effects this may have on young people’s attitudes and behaviors.
Most college students these days report seeing online pornography as a minor, before age 18. Of 1,500 high school boys surveyed, the vast majority admit to accessing web porn, and nearly one in three for more than an hour at a time. What is that teaching our next generation of men?
Researchers sat through and content coded 400 videos from mainstream Internet porn sites, and more than a third of the videos displayed acts of physical violence against women, such as gagging or choking. Yeah, but does watching such material lead to sexually aggressive behaviors? Fifteen hundred 10 to 15-year-olds were followed for years to see if there was link between intentional exposure to such material and later sexually aggressive behaviors, such as sexual assault. They found that exposure to violent porn over time “predicted an almost 6-fold increase in the odds of self-reported sexual [aggression].” The question, of course, though, is which came first? A major difficulty with interpreting this kind of research is that teens predisposed to that kind of behavior are of course the ones who may be drawn to that material in the first place; so, no cause-and-effect link can be established. All we can do as parents is “closely monitor what [our] children” are doing, to the best of our abilities.
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