"We think it is interesting, but many associations seen in studies of this type occur due to chance," Olsen said, adding that parents can comfort themselves with the fact that the vast majority of children who have been exposed to cell phones, both in and out of the womb, do not exhibit behavioral problems.
The study is far from the first to attempt to explore some of the possible adverse health effects of cellular phones. And, as with past studies, the conclusion of this most recent study is that more research is needed in order to determine whether there is anything to be worried about.
"Current scientific evidence doesn't indicate any adverse health outcomes associated with exposure to radio frequency energy from cell phones," said U.S. Food and Drug Administration spokeswoman Peper Long, who agreed that the public should be cautious in interpreting the most recent study.
"Although there have been reports of negative health effects from low levels of radio frequency energy, these reports have not been replicated or confirmed," she said.
Olsen noted that there are many reasons to explore all conceivable health impacts of cell phone use, as it is a technology that is becoming ever more pervasive in our highly connected society. The results of the study, Olson said, could provide avenues to other researchers studying the potential effects of cell phone radiation.
Still, epidemiological experts said, the findings may not be ready for public consumption.
"I think this is a competently and well-done study, but I think there are enough red flags that this should probably not be something the U.S. public needs to be alarmed about," said Dr. Tim Byers, professor of epidemiology and community health at the University of Colorado in Aurora. "I am particularly concerned about mothers and fathers who may constantly be worried about whether something they did caused their child's behavioral problems."
"This study is well worth publishing [in a medical journal]," Poole said. "But, given its highly preliminary and unexpected nature, and its liability to any number of methodologic problems, it is not the kind of study that should be making news in the general public.
"No one connected with the study should be doing anything to encourage media attention on it -- that includes the journal, the funding source, the institutions with which the authors are affiliated and the authors themselves," Poole added. "In my opinion, that would constitute sensationalism."