Article

Exposure to mobile phone electromagnetic fields and subjective symptoms: a double-blind study.

Department of Psychology, University of Essex, Colchester CO4 3SQ, United Kingdom.
Psychosomatic Medicine (Impact Factor: 4.08). 05/2008; 70(3):345-8. DOI: 10.1097/PSY.0b013e31816521f1
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The objective of this study was to examine whether acute exposure to radio frequency electromagnetic fields (REFs) emitted by mobile phone may affect subjective symptoms.
Three large groups of volunteers (total 496) were exposed to REFs emitted by mobile phones in one session and sham signals in a different session. REF and sham exposure sessions were counterbalanced and double blinded. Participants were exposed to either Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM) or unmodulated signals, and the mobile phone was positioned either on the left or on the right side of the head. Before and after REF and sham exposure participants completed a questionnaire to rate five symptoms. Any changes in the severity of the symptoms after REF exposure were compared with changes after sham exposure.
For one group of participants (N = 160), it was found that dizziness was affected by GSM exposure, but this was not consistently found with the other two groups of participants. No other significant effects were found.
We did not find consistent evidence suggesting that exposure to mobile phone REFs affect subjective symptoms. Even though we acknowledge that more research is needed, we believe that our results give an important contribution to the research on mobile phone use and subjective symptoms.

0 Bookmarks
 · 
215 Views
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Medically unsubstantiated 'intolerances' to foods, chemicals and environmental toxins are common and are frequently discussed in the media. Idiopathic environmental intolerance attributed to electromagnetic fields (IEI-EMF) is one such condition and is characterized by symptoms that are attributed to exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF). In this experiment, we tested whether media reports promote the development of this condition. Participants (N=147) were randomly assigned to watch a television report about the adverse health effects of WiFi (n=76) or a control film (n=71). After watching their film, participants received a sham exposure to a WiFi signal (15min). The principal outcome measure was symptom reports following the sham exposure. Secondary outcomes included worries about the health effects of EMF, attributing symptoms to the sham exposure and increases in perceived sensitivity to EMF. 82 (54%) of the 147 participants reported symptoms which they attributed to the sham exposure. The experimental film increased: EMF related worries (β=0.19; P=.019); post sham exposure symptoms among participants with high pre-existing anxiety (β=0.22; P=.008); the likelihood of symptoms being attributed to the sham exposure among people with high anxiety (β=.31; P=.001); and the likelihood of people who attributed their symptoms to the sham exposure believing themselves to be sensitive to EMF (β=0.16; P=.049). Media reports about the adverse effects of supposedly hazardous substances can increase the likelihood of experiencing symptoms following sham exposure and developing an apparent sensitivity to it. Greater engagement between journalists and scientists is required to counter these negative effects.
    Journal of psychosomatic research 03/2013; 74(3):206-12. · 2.91 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: With the rapid increasing use of third generation (3 G) mobile phones, social concerns have arisen concerning the possible health effects of radio frequency-electromagnetic fields (RF-EMFs) emitted by wideband code division multiple access (WCDMA) mobile phones in humans. The number of people, who complain of various symptoms such as headache, dizziness, and fatigue, has also increased. Recently, the importance of researches on teenagers has been on the rise. However, very few provocation studies have examined the health effects of WCDMA mobile phone radiation on teenagers.
    BMC Public Health 05/2014; 14(1):438. · 2.08 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    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; · 2.02 Impact Factor

Full-text (2 Sources)

View
142 Downloads
Available from
May 26, 2014