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New Study Will Examine Effects of Technology on Children’s Brains

Update Date: May 20, 2014 03:31 PM EDT
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With advances in technology, most people regardless of age have at least one media device in their household, whether it is a laptop or a tablet. Due to the increased use of these devices, researchers are planning on studying the effects of these wireless technologies on children's mental development. Many previous studies have been focused on adults only. The new study was launched on Tuesday.

"Scientists remain uncertain as to whether children's developing brains are more vulnerable than adults' brains, due to their developing nervous system, enhanced absorption of energy in head tissue, and increased cumulative exposure over their lifetime," the researchers wrote according to CBS News.

The new project called the Study of Cognition, Adolescents and Mobile Phones (SCAMP) will be headed by researchers from Imperial College London. The research team plans to monitor the mental health of around 2,500 children between the ages of 11 and 12-years-old for three years. Over 160 secondary schools throughout the outer London area will be invited to join the study. Mental development, which involves thinking skills, memory and attention, will be assessed via tests at the beginning and at the end of the study.

"The advice to parents is based on the precautionary principle given in absence of available evidence and not because we have evidence of any harmful effects," lead investigator Dr Mireille Toledano said according to BBC News. "As mobile phones are a new and widespread technology central to our lives, carrying out the study is important in order to provide the evidence base with which to inform policy and through which parents and their children can make informed life choices."

Dr. Toledano added according to WebMD, Dr Toledano says: "Taking part in SCAMP is a fantastic opportunity for schools to bring 'live' science into their classrooms, show children how we conduct health research and, above all, for schools, pupils and parents to make a real contribution to the health of current and future generations."

The study will be funded by the government and the industry.

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