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EMF Study
(Database last updated on Dec 1, 2018)

ID Number 225
Study Type Human / Provocation
Model 900 MHz (GSM) exposure to humans and analysis of EEG, cerebral circulation, auditory evoked brainstem responses and thermal pain threshold.

Human subjects were exposed to 900 MHz GSM from a cellular telephone for 7.5 - 15 minute periods at maximal power (2 watts) in anechoic chamber while in a half-laying position with eyes closed and positioning the cellular telephone as it is commonly place during use. Slight changes in EEG were observed during and after exposure, but the level of the measured changes did not exceed the normal physiological variation. The largest changes were reported to occur during the first exposure period in the spectral power of peak frequency of EEG in the alpha band without significant shifting peak frequency. Simultaneous decreases in cerebral circulation were also observed during the exposure. Changes in the level of anxiety and blood pressure were also observed suggesting a possible stress in the procedure. Analysis of auditory brain response (ABR), auditory event related brain potentials (AERP), and reaction time (RT) were also performed. Exposure was reported to result in changes in the threshold values, latency, and amplitude that corresponded to a 15-18 dB hearing deficiency above 2 KHz, as well as increased reaction time (decreased reaction performance). The authors suggest these effects might be caused by RF interactions with the cochlea. AUTHORS' ABSTRACT: Vecsei et al. 2013 (IEEE #5282): One of the most frequently investigated effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF EMFs) on the behavior of complex biological systems is pain sensitivity. Despite the growing body of evidence of EMF-induced changes in pain sensation, there is no currently accepted experimental protocol for such provocation studies for the healthy human population. In the present study, therefore, we tested the effects of third generation Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) RF EMF exposure on the thermal pain threshold (TPT) measured on the surface of the fingers of 20 young adult volunteers. The protocol was initially validated with a topical capsaicin treatment. The exposure time was 30 min and the genuine (or sham) signal was applied to the head through a patch antenna, where RF EMF specific absorption rate (SAR) values were controlled and kept constant at a level of 1.75 W/kg. Data were obtained using randomized, placebo-controlled trials in a double-blind manner. Subjective pain ratings were tested blockwise on a visual analogue rating scale (VAS). Compared to the control and sham conditions, the results provide evidence for intact TPT but a reduced desensitization effect between repeated stimulations within the individual blocks of trials, observable only on the contralateral side for the genuine UMTS exposure. Subjective pain perception (VAS) data indicated marginally decreased overall pain ratings in the genuine exposure condition only. The present results provide pioneering information about human pain sensation in relation to RF EMF exposure and thus may contribute to cover the existing gap between safety research and applied biomedical science targeting the potential biological effects of environmental RF EMFs.

Findings Effects
Status Completed With Publication
Principal Investigator Res. Inst. for Radiobiol & Radiohyg, Hungary -
Funding Agency Ministry of Welfare, Hungary
  • Kellenyi, L et al. Neurobiology, (1999) 7:79-81
  • Vecsei, Z et al. Bioelectromagnetics., (2013) 34:530-541
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