Does acute exposure to mobile phones affect human attention?

Department of Psychology, University of Essex, Colchester, United Kingdom.
Bioelectromagnetics (Impact Factor: 1.71). 04/2006; 27(3):215-20. DOI: 10.1002/bem.20193
Source: PubMed


Recent studies have indicated that acute exposure to low level radiofrequency (RF) electromagnetic fields generated by mobile phones affects human cognition. However, the relatively small samples used, in addition to methodological problems, make the outcomes of these studies difficult to interpret. In our study we tested a large sample of volunteers (168) using a series of cognitive tasks apparently sensitive to RF exposure (a simple reaction task, a vigilance task, and a subtraction task). Participants performed those tasks twice, in two different sessions. In one session they were exposed to RFs, with half of subjects exposed to GSM signals and the other half exposed to CW signals, while in the other session they were exposed to sham signals. No significant effects of RF exposure on performance for either GSM or CW were found, independent of whether the phone was positioned on the left or on the right side.

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Available from: Riccardo Russo,
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    • "For example, Nittby et al. reported that Mobile Communication-900 MHz (GSM-900)-exposed rats had impaired memory for objects and the temporal order of presentation compared to sham-exposed controls after one year of weekly exposures (Nittby et al., 2008). However, other reports have indicated that EMF exposure did not change cognitive function (Haarala et al., 2007; Russo et al., 2006) or improved it (Kumlin et al., 2007). Thus, there is a need to further investigate the effects of EMF on cognitive function. "
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    ABSTRACT: With the rapid increase in the number of mobile phone users, the potential adverse effects of the electromagnetic field radiation emitted by a mobile phone has become a serious concern. This study demonstrated, for the first time, the blood-brain barrier and cognitive changes in rats exposed to 900 MHz electromagnetic field (EMF) and aims to elucidate the potential molecular pathway underlying these changes. A total of 108 male Sprague-Dawley rats were exposed to a 900 MHz, 1 mW/cm2 EMF or sham (unexposed) for 14 or 28 days (3 h per day). The specific energy absorption rate (SAR) varied between 0.016 (whole body) and 2 W/kg (locally in the head). In addition, the Morris water maze test was used to examine spatial memory performance determination. Morphological changes were investigated by examining ultrastructural changes in the hippocampus and cortex, and the Evans Blue assay was used to assess blood brain barrier (BBB) damage. Immunostaining was performed to identify heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1)-positive neurons and albumin extravasation detection. Western blot was used to determine HO-1 expression, phosphorylated ERK expression and the upstream mediator, mkp-1 expression. We found that the frequency of crossing platforms and the percentage of time spent in the target quadrant were lower in rats exposed to EMF for 28 days than in rats exposed to EMF for 14 days and unexposed rats. Moreover, 28 days of EMF exposure induced cellular edema and neuronal cell organelle degeneration in the rat. In addition, damaged BBB permeability, which resulted in albumin and HO-1 extravasation were observed in the hippocampus and cortex. Thus, for the first time, we found that EMF exposure for 28 days induced the expression of mkp-1, resulting in ERK dephosphorylation. Taken together, these results demonstrated that exposure to 900 MHz EMF radiation for 28 days can significantly impair spatial memory and damage BBB permeability in rat by activating the mkp-1/ERK pathway.
    Brain Research 01/2015; 1601. DOI:10.1016/j.brainres.2015.01.019 · 2.84 Impact Factor
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    • "Des études complémentaires incluant des conditions supplémentaires d'exposition [37] et les enfants [38] n'ont pas non plus montré d'effet significatif. Russo et al. [39] et Cinel et al. [40] [41] ont testé l'effet facilitateur de la cognition sur les fonctions d'attention [27], de mémoire [26], sur un large échantillon de 168 sujets pour augmenter le pouvoir statistique, mais aucune des études n'a montré d'effet significatif. Cependant, des arguments expérimentaux complémentaires ont permis de rejeter l'hypothèse des effets facilitateurs. "
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    • "Cependant, des variations faibles mais contradictoires [17] [18] [19] [20] [21] ont été rapportées sur la variabilité de la fréquence cardiaque dans deux études [6] [22]. 3. Effets sur les fonctions cognitives Les principaux effets constatés sur les fonctions cognitives sont une diminution des temps de réaction à certains tests de choix [23] [24] [25] [26] [27], pas toujours reproductibles [28] [29] [30] [31] [32] [33] [34] ; moins d'erreurs sur certains tests de mémoire [35] [36], pas toujours reproductibles non plus [37] [38], voir parfois avec des performances moindres sur d'autres tests [35] [39] ; des performances améliorées sur un test d'attention et un test de rapidité d'exécution [40]. Une étude originale, la seule chez des volontaires avec une exposition répétée pendant un mois, n'a pas montré d'effet cumulatif persistant sur une batterie de tests cognitifs [41]. "
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