Analgetic effects of non-thermal GSM-1900 radiofrequency electromagnetic fields in the land snail Helix pomatia

Department of Neurosurgery, The Rausing Laboratory, Lund University, Lund, Sweden.
International Journal of Radiation Biology (Impact Factor: 1.69). 11/2011; 88(3):245-52. DOI: 10.3109/09553002.2012.644257
Source: PubMed


To investigate whether mobile phone radiation might affect snail nociception, employing radiofrequency (RF) electromagnetic fields (EMF) which, to our knowledge, have hitherto not been studied in a snail model. Exposure to extremely low frequency (ELF) magnetic fields has however been shown to significantly affect nociceptive responses.
In the present study, we exposed 29 land snails of the strain Helix pomatia to global system for mobile communications (GSM) EMF at 1900 MHz at the non-thermal level 48 mW/kg for 1 hour each and 29 snails were sham controls. The experiments took place during the onset of summer, with all snails being well out of hibernation. Before and after GSM or sham exposure, the snails were subjected to thermal pain by being placed on a hot plate. The reaction time for retraction from the hot plate was measured by two blinded observers.
Comparing the reaction pattern of each snail before and after exposure, the GSM-exposed snails were less sensitive to thermal pain as compared to the sham controls, indicating that RF exposure induces a significant analgesia (Mann-Whitney p < 0.001).
This study might support earlier findings, describing beneficial effects of EMF exposure upon nociception.

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Available from: Jacob Louis Eberhardt, Sep 30, 2015
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    • "Findings from these studies do not consistently suggest an increased level of adverse subjective symptoms relating to mobile phone-induced EMF exposure. As for the potential beneficial effects of GSM EMF exposure, a recent animal study found profound hypoalgesia in land snails (Helix pomatia) [Nittby et al., 2012]. After a 1900 MHz GSM exposure for 1 h, the snails were subjected to thermal pain stimulus (hot plate). "
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    ABSTRACT: 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. Bioelectromagnetics © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Bioelectromagnetics 06/2013; 34(7). DOI:10.1002/bem.21801 · 1.71 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: This article presents a systematic review of published scientific studies on the potential ecological effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) in the range of 10 MHz to 3.6 GHz (from amplitude modulation, AM, to lower band microwave, MW, EMF). Methods: Publications in English were searched in ISI Web of Knowledge and Scholar Google with no restriction on publication date. Five species groups were identified: birds, insects, other vertebrates, other organisms, and plants. Not only clear ecological articles, such as field studies, were taken into consideration, but also biological articles on laboratory studies investigating the effects of RF-EMF with biological endpoints such as fertility, reproduction, behaviour and development, which have a clear ecological significance, were also included. Results: Information was collected from 113 studies from original peer-reviewed publications or from relevant existing reviews. A limited amount of ecological field studies was identified. The majority of the studies were conducted in a laboratory setting on birds (embryos or eggs), small rodents and plants. In 65% of the studies, ecological effects of RF-EMF (50% of the animal studies and about 75% of the plant studies) were found both at high as well as at low dosages. No clear dose-effect relationship could be discerned. Studies finding an effect applied higher durations of exposure and focused more on the GSM frequency ranges. Conclusions: In about two third of the reviewed studies ecological effects of RF-EMF was reported at high as well as at low dosages. The very low dosages are compatible with real field situations, and could be found under environmental conditions. However, a lack of standardisation and a limited number of observations limit the possibility of generalising results from an organism to an ecosystem level. We propose in future studies to conduct more repetitions of observations and explicitly use the available standards for reporting RF-EMF relevant physical parameters in both laboratory and field studies.
    Environment international 12/2012; 51C:116-140. DOI:10.1016/j.envint.2012.10.009 · 5.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In 1984, it was initially discovered in mice that an extremely low frequency magnetic field (ELF-MF) could attenuate opiate induced analgesia. In the past 30 years, we defined some of ELF-MF exposure and subject state conditions that can both increase and decrease nociception in snails and mice and can induce analgesia in humans. In our search for mechanisms and our desire to translate our findings to the treatment of chronic pain in humans, we pioneered the use of electroencephalography and magnetic resonance imaging to monitor effects during exposure. We have contributed to an understanding of the phenomena but a considerable amount remains to be done by us and those who have undertaken corroboratory and complimentary work. As the recipient of the 2013 d'Arsonval Award, I was invited to prepare an article for Bioelectromagnetics that highlights research findings that led to the award. Here, I have focused on our main findings associated with the effects of nociception of exposure to ELF-MF. To enrich the value of this contribution, I have put our research into the context of work of others. Further, I have suggested future directions of research and the potential for linkages and synergies associated with the extensive literature on animal orientation. Hence, it needs to be acknowledged that this is a report of our contributions and not intended as a balanced review. Bioelectromagnetics. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Bioelectromagnetics 05/2015; 36(5). DOI:10.1002/bem.21918 · 1.71 Impact Factor