Microwave radiation from cell phones may protect against and even reverse Alzheimer's-like symptoms, according to a new study involving genetically-tweaked mice.
The results were so surprising that study co-author Juan Sanchez-Ramos didn't believe them at first.
"It's such a dramatic and counterintuitive effect," said Sanchez-Ramos, a Unverisity of Florida neuroscientist.
"I joked that the animals must have been mislabeled or that the power wasn't switched on."
The primary culprits in Alzheimer's disease - which is marked by dementia and cognitive decline - appear to be sticky brain deposits known as beta amyloid plaques, which can build up between nerve cells.
In the experiment, scientists examined the effects of cell phone radiation on 96 mice that were genetically-engineered to develop beta amyloid plaques and thus Alzheimer's-like symptoms. The mice normally developed the first signs of the disease around 6 months. By 8 months, they were already experiencing cognitive decline.
Both the Alzheimer's-prone mice and normal mice were then exposed to cell phone-level microwave radiation for two one-hour periods daily for seven to nine months.