Does acute exposure to mobile phones affect human attention?

Department of Psychology, University of Essex, Colchester, United Kingdom.
Bioelectromagnetics (Impact Factor: 1.86). 05/2006; 27(3):215-20. DOI: 10.1002/bem.20193
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT 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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    ABSTRACT: Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of a 217 Hz magnetic field of mobile phone GSM 900 exposure on the bioelectric activity of F1 neuronal cells of the land snail. Materials and Methods: According to the magnetic field measurement of the mobile phone, a range of flux intensities of magnetic fields (0.46 -229 μT) at a frequency of 217 Hz was produced by magnetic field coils. The bioelectrical activity of F1 nerve cells at different time intervals was recorded, using intracellular recording under current clamp conditions in con-trol, sham and field exposed groups. Results: Magnetic field exposure decreased the amplitude of action potential and the firing frequency of F1 nerve cells. Furthermore, it resulted in a significant (p<0.05) increase in the amplitude of after hyperpolarization (AHP) and duration of action potential. Change in the cell's electrophysiological parameters was associated with a decrease in neuronal excit-ability. Magnetic field exposure affected also the resting membrane potential of F1 cells in a bimodal fashion, including depolarization and hyperpolarization. Considering the exposure condition, most of the alterations in the electrical activity of F1 nerve cells induced by mag-netic fields exposure were reversible. Conclusion: These findings suggest that 217 Hz magnetic fields of mobile phones with dif-ferent intensities affect the spontaneous bioelectrical activity of F1 nerve cells and exert in-hibitory effects on neuronal excitability. There is evidence for the existence of an amplitude window and these electrophysiological alterations occur within this amplitude window. The reversibility of the magnetic field-induced most electrophysiological alterations in the neuro-nal behavior under our experimental conditions was observed.
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    ABSTRACT: Research on long-term exposure to electromagnetic fields on cognition is lacking. We investigated the associations between frequent digital mobile phone use and global and domain-specific cognitive changes in older persons, a vulnerable group experiencing age-associated cognitive decline. We assessed 871 non-demented Chinese participants in the Singapore Longitudinal Ageing Studies cohort on the frequency of digital mobile phone use, neurocognitive performance and confounding variables at baseline, and neurocognitive performance at the 4-year follow-up. Findings showed that digital mobile phone users were typically self-selected to possess characteristics favoring better cognitive functioning and concomitantly demonstrate better performance on cognitive tasks. There was evidently no significant deleterious effect of digital mobile phone use on cognitive functioning in older people. Findings suggest, however, that digital mobile phone use may have an independent facilitating effect on global and executive functioning. Bioelectromagnetics 33:176–185, 2012. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Bioelectromagnetics 02/2012; 33(2). · 1.86 Impact Factor
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