Mast hysteria ... again

I blogged about the dangers of radiation from mobile phone masts back in April and like the perennial weeds that pop up uninvited in my garden all summer, they’ve raised their ugly heads again. The September issue of The Psychologist runs an article entitled: ‘Psychological origins of phone mast symptoms’. It reports on a study from Essex University where researchers asked 44 self-reported 'electro-sensitive' individuals and 114 ‘controls’ to take part in an experiment. Unpleasant symptoms were reported by the 44 but not by the 114 when they stood close to phone masts (but none knew when the signal was on or when it was off). The researchers concluded that the symptoms the 44 reported were merely psychosomatic - i.e. 'all in the mind'. Well that’s the first time I have heard of leukaemia being labelled ‘psychosomatic’….. (oops – bit of politics there!) Of course, the results might also mean that the 114 were merely less susceptible to any effects from the masts….

So, let’s follow this train of thinking. Whenever I turn on the TV and listen to a cabinet minister holding forth about some new government plan to cut health service funding, raise taxes or send more troops to Afghanistan, and I get an uneasy, nauseous feeling inside me, am I just being oversensitive? Whilst my Government supporting colleagues nod sagely in agreement, does this mean that for me it is all in the mind? Or does it simply mean that I have a better inbuilt bull**** detector than they do? Perhaps we should be told….

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