A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association has found evidence that holding a cellular phone near your head may increase brain activity. Hold those tomatoes, nay-sayers, the increased brain activity is related to the physical location of the phone, not to any conversation you may be having.

The Magazine of the Society for Science & the Public describes the study group as 47 participants who looked very silly with two cell phones and what I imagine to be a bunch of wires and sensors strapped to their heads. One of the phones was turned off, and the other was dialed in to a 50 minute recording. The active phone was muted so that the lucky listeners wouldn’t know which phone was on and to prevent any brain activity associated with listening to the recording.

After the call ended, the science gizmos and whatsahoozits showed that glucose metabolism was elevated by about seven percent in the parts of the brain closest to the active phone. The parts of the brain closest to the placebo phone didn’t show any noteworthy changes. Brain cells use glucose to work their magic, so this evidence certainly suggests that something about the active cell phone was increasing brain activity.

Well, that sounds pretty great! An active brain is a healthy brain, right?

This article published in the British Medical Journal sure seems to think so. The article’s title is “Mental activity may help prevent dementia” – what more needs to be said?

Fine, fine. The article describes how some researchers followed 469 elderly people around and watched them attend morning mallwalks, play bridge, and do whatever else the elderly do for fun nowadays. These researchers meant business – the elderly people were trailed creepy-stalker-style for up to 21 years.

The not-at-all creepy result of the study is that a bunch of those elderly people developed dementia, but even more of them didn’t. To quote the article:

An increase of one point in the cognitive activity score was significantly associated with a lower risk of dementia.

Increase! Cognitive activity! Lower risk of dementia! Plus, the study’s lead author is Dr. Joe Verghese of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Albert. Effing. Einstein.

So, scientific world, I challenge you! Show me the results of a 21-year study that compares the cognitive benefits of strapping active cell phones to your head with those of doing crossword puzzles, and then determine which method is better for preventing dementia.