Microwave news has just reported that Joachim Schüz will take charge of the Interphone Study Group. Christopher Wild selected him for this position (see “Joachim Schüz Moves to IARC,” http://www.microwavenews.com./index.html).
Who are these guys and why is it important?
Joachim Schüz is an author of the 100% industry-funded Danish Cellphone cohort study. In the same article, Microwave News reported, “Schüz said that his outlook on long-term risk [of brain tumors from cellphone use] is largely based, not on Interphone, but on his and Johansen’s Danish cohort studies …”
This cohort study was a study of Danish cellphone subscribers and their risk of cancer and other neurological diseases. Three papers have been published. It found that being a Danish cellphone subscriber provided statistically significant protection from the following diseases, unless otherwise stated, in men (85% of cohort):
- All cancers RR=0.86, 95% CI: 0.83 to 0.90 ;
- All cancers RR=0.93, 95% CI: 0.92 to 0.95 
- Pharynx cancer, RR=0.62, 95% CI: 0.42 to 0.88 ;
- Esophageal cancer, RR=0.74, 95% CI: 0.53 to 0.99 ;
- Esophageal cancer, RR=0.83, 95% CI: 0.71 to 0.96 ;
- Pancreatic cancer, RR=0.86, 95% CI 0.75 to 0.97 ;
- Stomach cancer, RR=0.78, 95% CI: 0.60 to 0.99 ;
- Liver cancer, RR=0.60, 95% CI: 0.36 to 0.96 ;
- Liver Cancer, RR=0.80, 95% CI: 0.65 to 0.97 ;
- Lung cancer, RR=0.65, 95% CI: 0.58 to 0.73 ;
- Lung cancer, RR=0.82, 95% CI: 0.78 to 0.87 ;
- Buccal cavity/pharynx cancer, RR=0.63, 95% CI: 0.53 to 0.75 ;
- Brain cancer (glioma), parietal lobe, RR=0.58, 95% CI: 0.36 to 0.89 ;
- Epilepsy RR=0.8, CI: 0.7 to 0.9 ;
- Brain cancer, men & women, >10 years, RR=0.66, 95% CI: 0.44 to 0.95 ;
- Alzheimer disease, men & women, RR=0.7, 95% CI: 0.6 to 0.9 ;
- Vascular dementia, men & women, RR=0.7. 95% CI: 0.5 to 0.9 ;
- Other dementia, men & women, RR=0.7, 95% CI: 0.6 to 0.8 ;
- Parkinson disease, men & women, RR=0.8, 95% CI: 0.7 to 0.9 ;
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, men & women, >10 years, RR=0.7, 95% CI: 0.3 to1.4 ;
- Multiple sclerosis, men & women, >10 years, RR=0.9, 95% CI: 0.6 to 1.3 ;
Statistically significant protection is prima facie evidence of a flawed study (unless you believe that being a cellphone subscriber will protect your from all of the above diseases). The companies that provided funds for this study had a financial conflict-of-interest in the results of the study. Funding bias is a well-known and understood problem in science.
Microwave News also reported, “Schüz has received industry funding under a six-year contract [2006-2012] with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) …” and “Schüz has consulted for Wissenschaftlicher Beirat Funk (WBF), an Austrian mobile phone advisory group that has received funding from telecom companies.”
Schüz will report to Christopher Wild and will be second in command at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).
Christopher Wild is a molecular biologist by training. In January 2009 Wild replaced the previous Director of the World Health Organization’s IARC.
In a May 11, 2009 article Microwave News stated, “When Christopher Wild took over as the head of IARC in January 2009, he sought to break the deadlock over Interphone.” (http://www.microwavenews.com./docs/MWN.May11-2009.pdf)
It has taken 5 ½ years since the Interphone data collection ended to have about 40% of the full 13-country Interphone study results published. Much of this delay was because of arguments within the Interphone Study Group between groups that felt cellphones pose a health risk and those that did not believe cellphones pose a health risk. Joachim Schuz was one who felt that cellphones do not pose a health risk.
There could not be a more telling comment about Wild’s appointment of Schüz than what Microwave News reported. “Schüz believes that a doubling of the risk following 10-15 year of cell phone use is ‘very unlikely.’”
- Because of Schüz’s clear conflicts-of-interest,
- Because of his authorship in the Danish cohort study which found protection from “All cancers” and some 17 other diseases,
- Because he is was part of the Interphone’s “no-risk” faction and this faction appears to be the main cause for the considerable publication delay, and
- Because Christopher Wild forced the Interphone Study Group to publish the long delayed study, thus overcoming the intransigence of the “no-risk” faction.
It is hard to imagine a worse appointment, if the goal is to finish the remainder of the considerable Interphone results that remain unpublished. However, if the purpose of the appointment was to continue to downplay the serious warnings already found in the Interphone’s published studies and to create further publication delays, then this was an appropriate appointment.
Berkeley, California, USA
June 10, 2010
 RR is Relative Risk
 Commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.