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Italian Supreme Court Accepts Mobile Phone-Tumor Link 190

An anonymous reader writes with a link to this Reuters story, from which he excerpts: "Italy's supreme court has upheld a ruling that said there was a link between a business executive's brain tumor and his heavy mobile phone usage, potentially opening the door to further legal claims. The court's decision flies in the face of much scientific opinion, which generally says there is not enough evidence to declare a link between mobile phone use and diseases such as cancer and some experts said the Italian ruling should not be used to draw wider conclusions about the subject. 'Great caution is needed before we jump to conclusions about mobile phones and brain tumors,' said Malcolm Sperrin, director of medical physics and clinical engineering at Britain's Royal Berkshire Hospital. The Italian case concerned company director Innocenzo Marcolini who developed a tumor in the left side of his head after using his mobile phone for 5-6 hours a day for 12 years. He normally held the phone in his left hand, while taking notes with his right hand. Marcolini developed a so-called neurinoma affecting a cranial nerve, which was apparently not cancerous but nevertheless required surgery that badly affected his quality of life."
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Italian Supreme Court Accepts Mobile Phone-Tumor Link

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  • Scientific proof (Score:2, Insightful)

    by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Sunday October 21, 2012 @04:35AM (#41720243)

    Well, Italy hardly stands alone. Here in the United States, idiot judges and legislators have been doing whack-ass stuff like declaring women pregnant two weeks before conception (by law). Other legislators have passed resolutions effectively banning global warming research, or attempting to legislate how said research is conducted so as to prevent certain conclusions from being reached. All around us, worldwide, science is under attack from the idiocracy.

    Science is dangerous because is allows people like you and me to understand the world. Knowledge is power, and science as an institution makes no bones about who gets it. That's why the Dark Ages happened, and why we're just one major disaster or war away from it happening again. Every time science shows us a way to improve the lives of everyone, it gets locked down, barricaded behind licensing and laws, shuffled into a box marked "top secret", and buried. Pharmaceuticals spend billions developing new versions of dick hardening pills, while research into HIV, cancer, and other serious quality of life diseases languish. It seems that lifelong illnesses are only ever treated anymore, never cured. Curing a patient means denying yourself all that profit from name-brand life-saving drugs. I could come up with a hundred more examples from every industry in every country worldwide -- but you get the point.

    Soon, we're going to have to start hiding printing presses and books in our basement, writing down how to rebuild our technology after our governments fail and the world plunges into darkness... all because we tolerate allowing people to become too rich and powerful, and invariably they turn into sociopaths and destroy us. :(

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 21, 2012 @04:41AM (#41720263)

    Here comes the storm of posts defending mobile phones, wifi and radio waves of all kinds, so my post should stay nicely buried at -1.

    I wouldn't go as far as to claim that the human brain is some infinite mystery, but right now we are VERY far away from understanding its processes clearly.

    What exactly takes place inside the brain during orgasm? That's pretty common. Or how about when we are drunk? Surely that one is completely understood. But the merest scan of wikipedia or a more in-depth piece of researching will show you that we understand very little about either.

    But when it involves gadgets that throw out radio waves at various frequencies, well that's obviously fine. Because we love gadgets, and many of us are scientists. In fact on slashdot, the only radio waves that seem to be capable of harm are used by the TSA. TSA bad (admittedly, they are).

    If we can't measure what is happening during orgasm or drunkenness inside our head, then why do we assume that we know what happens when we hold radio transmitters next to our heads for many hours a day?

    I'm not saying that radio waves are actually harmful - I'm saying that we don't know either way, and it could be decades before we have proof of the long term safety of mobile phones etc. In the meantime, as empirical thinkers it is our duty to leave the possibility open.

  • by cynop ( 2023642 ) on Sunday October 21, 2012 @04:46AM (#41720285)

    How egotistic would USA readers be, for this clarification to be necessary?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 21, 2012 @04:55AM (#41720305)

    You are missing the context. Texas has many times come up with similarly hair brained declarations.

  • by MaskedSlacker ( 911878 ) on Sunday October 21, 2012 @05:03AM (#41720343)

    How much money have cellphone operators spent on studies showing that mobile phones are completely harmless? And how much was spent by independent organizations? Which figure do you think is higher?

    Irrelevant horseshit.

    There is not only no evidence supporting a link between cellphones and cancer, there is no plausible theoretical basis for it besides "OMGZORZ RADIATORS R TEH BAD!!!!!1" The frequencies involved are too low to be ionizing. Dielectric heating could be a problem, but not at the power levels involved. That leaves what? The tumor gremlins who live in every Samsung handset?

  • Controls? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by srussia ( 884021 ) on Sunday October 21, 2012 @05:07AM (#41720351)
    FTFS:The Italian case concerned company director Innocenzo Marcolini who developed a tumor in the left side of his head after using his mobile phone for 5-6 hours a day for 12 years.

    Heck, I'd probably get a tumor too if I held a rock against ear 5-6 hours a day for 12 years.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 21, 2012 @05:21AM (#41720407)

    More doctors smoke Camels.

    In another 20 years or so, scientists will have done a lot more research on the human brain which could have a major effect on our perception of how the brain is affected by radio waves. But you seem to have omniscience. Everything is already known to you. During the Manhatten Project, Edward Teller raised the speculative possibility that an atomic bomb might "ignite" the atmosphere because of a hypothetical fusion reaction of nitrogen nuclei. It's a shame you hadn't been there, because you could have laughed in his face and shouted: "That can't happen. It's so OBVIOUS! Why are you so dumb?".

    Socrates said "I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing.". Come back and post again once you figure out what he was talking about.

  • It's so strange (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dtmos ( 447842 ) * on Sunday October 21, 2012 @06:41AM (#41720629)

    The funny part is, those corporate researchers that I've met -- and it would be dozens over the years -- all use cell phones, and buy them for their spouses and children. What cold-hearted bastards! Or ignorant fools! Or both!

    And the corporate cell phone designers that I've met -- and it would be hundreds over the years -- all use cell phones and, despite their decades of work on improving the size, weight, battery life, and range of their devices, never once realized that it would be to their competitive advantage to minimize any radiation absorbed by the body, since that represents wasted energy that could have been used to reach the cell tower instead. Idiots!

    But the managerial genius of the corporations! They can stay in the business for twenty years or more, and each hire hundreds of EM researchers and tens of thousands of engineers, without one of them cracking and letting the Great Corporate Secret -- those Top Secret studies that show how dangerous cell phones are -- out to the public. The maintained secrecy would impress the NSA and NRO, while the control of their people would impress Kim Jong-un. Masterful!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 21, 2012 @06:53AM (#41720675)
    Interesting. I once knew someone who developed a brain tumor in his head -- the same head he had been drinking water with for the previous ten years. His tumor didn't develop immediately either, and by the time it was discovered, it had become inoperable. He's not around to tell the story, now, having died. Heck, I've even heard that every single person who has ever died because of a tumor has had a history of water use. Pretty damn scary if you ask me!
  • In Other News (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lobiusmoop ( 305328 ) on Sunday October 21, 2012 @07:12AM (#41720775) Homepage

    Six billion cell phone subscriptions []
    22,910 new brain tumor cases in USA in 2012 [] out of 300M people or 0.008% of the population.

    So practically everybody on the planet old enough to use one has a cellphone, but practically nobody on the planet gets a brain tumor.

  • by coastwalker ( 307620 ) <.acoastwalker. .at.> on Sunday October 21, 2012 @07:20AM (#41720807) Homepage

    There is no scientific proof that dihydrogen oxide is safe either but people continue to use the stuff.

    What we actually have going on here is that you are being terminally stupid, a crime given the couple of million years of evolution that went into the underused mechanism that is your brain. You see you have fallen for the current propoaganda war of the extremely wealthy who are manipulating you and the rest of the zombies.

    Everything we do now and everything we have ever done has been risky, from falling off a horse and breaking your leg to holding your arm up to your head for 5 hours a day for 12 years and developing a fault in your nervous system, everything carries a risk. The thing is that a lot of the risks we face in the present are infintesimaly smaller than the ones we used to face and determining the causality is a lot harder than root causing my broken leg to falling ten feet onto a rock from my horse. So its harder to associate cause with effect today and guess what, people with an agenda have noticed this and are using it to manipulate the way you think, using it to make you do what they want you to do. If I had a ton of money and liked the way things worked I would be very keen to stop any scientifically driven popularist nonsense like reducing my income by spending my investment profits on stupid shit like the environment, health care for the slave class or god forbid mitigating climate change. So lets spend a couple of hundred mil a year with some like minded friends on a concerted campaign to discredit scientific opinion in the minds of the plebs so that we can put our views in their heads instead. It worked like a treat for tobacco for decades so it should be a pushover.

    And it is a pushover, you all bleat the same storyline that the propaganda machine has fed you, there are two sides to the story, science is pretty sure about something but there are a few paid shills who scream at the top of their expense account funded voices that all the rest of them, the rest of the scientific establishment are conspiritorial liers with a funded agenda to fool the public - follow the money they shout, follow the money! With good reason of course because they have to disguise their own immorality somehow.

    So now we have a story with two sides, ninety eight percent of the academic world using the scientific methodology of testing a hypothesis with available evidence belive on the balance of probabilities that a hypothesis is correct, and a few mavericks and funded shills say something else. All of a sudden the 2% view becomes weighted at 50% in the media and a few schills and a couple of nutters can persuade the whole world that black might be white that water may flow uphill and that you might prefer permanant slavery to being a free citizen.

    Well good luck to you and the rest of the zombies, I hope you enjoy your continued slavery and the rotting environment you have chosen to live in. Its not too late to wake up of course, I'm rather hoping that it happens before something serious like arbitary loss making wars to ensure the profitability of oil companies happens though. Ooops it already did, wonder what awefullness is comming next.

    Oh and as for the mobile phone thing, if it bothers you then I suggest you dont use one for five hours a day for twelve years, for one thing your body is likely to end up lopsided.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 21, 2012 @07:38AM (#41720857)

    At least they don't believe the entire universe is only thousands of years old as half of USA thinks.

  • Re:In Other News (Score:4, Insightful)

    by steppedleader ( 2490064 ) on Sunday October 21, 2012 @07:40AM (#41720865)
    Good point. Seems to me the biggest issue with the whole idea of cell phones causing brain tumors is simply the fact that while cell phone use has increased dramatically in the last 20 years, there hasn't been any corresponding increase in brain tumor occurrence. If those two things aren't even correlated, how can anyone conclude that cell phones actually cause brain tumors?

    Someone could claim there is a time lag for tumor development, but these sporadic cases of supposedly cell-phone-linked tumors have been popping up for years and years now, while the overall tumor rate has stayed mysteriously constant.
  • The Real Danger (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sycodon ( 149926 ) on Sunday October 21, 2012 @08:11AM (#41720947)

    The real danger is that some jackass judge from the northeastern states or more likely in LalaLand California, who believes that it is appropriate and necessary to consider FOREIGN laws and precedence when deliberating American laws and precedence, will open the litigation floodgates here in the U.S.

New systems generate new problems.