The 'cell phone' study that counts
22 December 2000
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: The study that counts (guru)....
Date: Fri, 22 Dec 2000 08:37:13 -0600
From: Roy Beavers <email@example.com>
Organization: EMF-L List...
.........Response from EMF-L.......
Gary has forwarded an exchange with George Carlo which SHINES THE LIGHT upon the JAMA published (Muskat) study...... It is disconcerting -- to say the least (!!) -- that serious science would play such games with the data -- UNDER INDUSTRY INFLUENCE, of course!!!
Nevertheless, I had already discounted the importance (validity) of that study in my earlier message. It is the NEJM (Inskip) study that merits attention ... I believe....... guru.....
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: The study that counts (guru).
Date: Fri, 22 Dec 2000 08:46:52 -0500
From: "Dr. Gary Brown" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
CC: guru <email@example.com>
Here is what Paul Harvey calls "the rest of the story !" As we have all recently heard and read the 2 studies spun from Wheeler's CTIA & Medai camp you will find the following facts more revealing:
Gary: Here is the chronology of the Muscat data shift. Please look at this against the backdrop of what was going on in the book at the time -- spring of 1999. The industry began direct communication with Muscat in March, around me. Up to that point, I handled all of the communication with the WTR's investigators. When the results began to come in, the CTIA cut me out.
9/98 - data collection for the Muscat study is finished. No new patients were entered into the study. Data base for analysis is finalized according to Good Epidemiology Practices. GEP says that once the database is fixed, that is it.
3/3/99 - Muscat gives us data showing 29 cases of neuroepithelial tumors, with 11 cell phone users among them. That yields a statistically significant risk increase of 2.8.
4/7/99 - Muscat presents these data to the FDA and the governmental Inter Agency Working Group.
5/3/99 - Muscat gives us an updated report that we sent out for peer review to Harvard. Now they have 35 cases of neuroepithelial tumors because they have re-done the pathology. This change was approved according to GEP procedures. 14 of the 35 are cell phone users. Risk is 2.4 and statistically significant. The report withstands peer review. This constitutes final report to WTR. That is what we have in the book.
6/20/99 - Muscat presents the 2.4 risk data to State of Science colloquium in Long Beach.
9/9/99 - Muscat submits paper to New England Journal of Medicine for publication that is rejected -- they say not enough data relevant to cell phone users. Risk presented in that paper is now 1.8 and not statistically significant. This is based on a different statistical analysis with control variable worked in on the same 35 cancer cases, 14 of which are cellular phone users.
6/2000 - Muscat signs off on Chapter in my upcoming State of the Science II book, to be published by Kluwer this spring. In the book, he presents the 2.4 risk data that are statistically significant.
12/19/2000 - in JAMA, Muscat presents yet another analysis of the same 35 cancer cases. The risk presented is 2.1. Even though this is more than a doubling in the risk, the authors dismiss it because it is not statistically significant. The headlines carry this as evidence of no brain cancer risk.
3/3 - Muscat in report to WTR shows that in 27 instances, the tumor is on the same side of the head as where the person uses the phone; in 15 instances it is not. They give no statistical data on significance.
12/19/2000 - In JAMA article, they report that in 26 instances the tumor is on the same side as where the person used the phone, and in 15 instances it is not. The P value is .06 (.05 is statistically significant). If the original data of 27 is used, the result becomes statistically significant. No mention of where the missing patient is. The authors dismiss the finding of laterality because it is not statistically significant.
As you know, the media have carried this study as reassuring to consumers. In fact, this and the NCI studies are baseline studies against which future observations of cancer among cell phoneusers can be judged. As I point out in the book, no one could expect epidemiological studies to show much for 15 to 20 years. The fact that we found anything at all is the news. As an epidemologist, the doubling in risk of neuroepithelial tumors, statistical or not, would be a caution for me. Yet in the materials given to the press, this is not even mentioned.
The overinterpretation of the data in the Muscat study is dangerous to consumers. If this leads people to put phones up against the sides of their heads when they otherwise wouldn't, well that is tragic.
The NCI investigators are even handed in how they caveat their study. Note in their study that they say that their study is not adequate to look at rare tumors that would be very close to where the antenna from the phone is. They get it, but nonetheless, their study has been spun by the industry. It is peculiar that the study was made available at 4 p.m. -- many media put it in their stories without even reading it.
I also heard that the pre-release of the NCI study to coincide with the Muscat study was orchestrated by the FDA -- the public pressure that the release of the study cites is actually the FDA. They are now in bed with the CTIA and it appears that these folks are working in concert.
This was a pretty sophisticated media manipulation. How so little data could be used to make such broad assurances of safety is a Houdini trick. And most of the media went for it.
Only in America.
(By the way- GC= George Carlo the former Director of the WTR)
Roy Beavers wrote:
I have looked at the two recent studies (in JAMA and in the NEJM) which give the cell phones a clean bill of health with regard to brain cancer risk. Of the two, it seems to me that the NEJM (Iskip) study is the more deserving of attention.
I provide the direct link below. And I encourage all of my readers to follow that link and read the Iskip study.
It says to me -- that normal cell phone usage MAY NOT increase the brain cancer risk..... Or, alternatively, that the increase (if any) is barely measurable.
It also says to me, rather clearly, that this study provides NO information about the risk that the "heavy user" may experience. It does NOT give a "go ahead" -- in other words -- to those teen agers (and politicians?? like Synar or Atwater) who "live" in a world of high intensity, prolonged exposure with their phones virtually "glued" to their ears over a period of weeks or months......
It also says to me, very clearly, that the study provides NO information about the newest cell phone technology -- the "digital" as opposed to the "analogue" cell phones.
Assuming, therefore, that this study survives the intense examination it is sure to be given by other scientists in the field, it by no means upholds a "forget about any Blue World EMF hazards to health" conclusion -- as it is likely to be represented (to the public) by the Moulders and Adairs of the world.......
I urge all of you to study it carefully, so that you may be aware of the misrepresentations of its findings that -- in my view -- are likely to occur in the public information domain.
The Iskip study link:
Roy Beavers (EMFguru)
It is better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness.....
People are more important than profit$$
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