Heavy mobile usage may cause cancer of salivary glands: Study
Dr Stuti Bhargava, an assistant professor in the department of oral medicine and radiology in VSPM Dental College and Research Centre, has done the study in three phases over the last three years. Consisting of over 300 subjects, the research led to the conclusion that several functional changes and an increase in the size of the parotid glands are observed in people with longer exposure to the radio frequency radiation (RFR) emerging from hand-held phones. These effects could range from migraine to potential indicator of cancer of the parotids.
"Previous researchers had spoken about the dangers to organs like brain and auditory canal. While these are protected by the skull, the parotid glands are not. They are also at a closer proximity to mobile phones when the devices are in use. This made me believe that they would be potentially at greater risk of adverse effects from phone use," said Dr Bhargava, explaining the reason for the study.
Based on this hypothesis, people using mobile phones for longer durations in a day were observed. It was seen that they showed a marginal increase in protein content in the glands, increase in their size, increase in amount of saliva generated (salivary flow rate), and increased blood flow rate in the glands. "All these changes are indicative of possible neoplastic changes in a heavy user in the near future. These people also had other minor complaints including tingling sensation of skin, heating of skin and many of them suffered from migraine," said Dr Bhargava.
The study has won much acclaim having been published in multiple international journals. The first phase of the study was even awarded the best paper award at a national symposium. After completion, it was presented at Asia Pacific Dental Congress Dubai 2014 for which the travel grant was sanctioned by Maharashtra University of Health Sciences.
Other than Dr Bhargava, several people from VSPM Dental College were associated with the study including Dr Mukta Motwani and the late Dr Vinod Patni as the guides, Dr Arpita S and Dr Amit S as contributors. Dean Dr Usha Radke and vice-dean of Dr Ramakrishna Shenoi also contributed.