Does acute exposure to mobile phones affect human attention?

Department of Psychology, University of Essex, Colchester, United Kingdom.
Bioelectromagnetics (Impact Factor: 1.86). 04/2006; 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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Available from: Riccardo Russo, Aug 28, 2015
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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 · 2.83 Impact Factor
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    • "Longitudinal analyses also suggested that digital mobile phone users tend to show more favorable changes in cognitive performance and lower risks of cognitive decline, particularly with MMSE and attention and working memory, although the results were statistically non-significant. These findings are in line with previous studies that reported no discernible deleterious effects of exposure to EMFs on human cognition [Haarala et al., 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007; Russo et al., 2006; Cinel et al., 2008; Eltiti et al., 2009]. "
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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. Copyright © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Bioelectromagnetics 02/2012; 33(2). DOI:10.1002/bem.20698 · 1.86 Impact Factor
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    • "450 MHz (7 Hz), 50% duty cycle, 1 W output power, SAR = 0.0095 W/kg R 8 × 5-7 4 M, 6 F L+R SB C 1 3-5 (repeated 8 times) ✓ D ↑ Errors (Visual Masking Task) Russo et al. 2006 [53] a) 888 MHz GSM, SAR avg = 1.4 W/kg, SAR peak = 11.2 W/kg b) 888 MHz CW, SAR avg = 1.4 W/kg Sham SAR < 0.002 W/kg a) b) R+L 35-40 a) b) 84 69 M, 99 F - D B ✓ 4 ~35-40 ✓ D n.s. "
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    ABSTRACT: The steady increase of mobile phone usage has led to a rising concern about possible adverse health effects of radio frequency electromagnetic field (RF EMF) exposure at intensities even below the existing safety limits. Accumulating evidence suggests that pulse-modulated RF EMF may alter brain physiology. Yet, whereas effects on the human electroencephalogram in waking and sleep have repeatedly been shown in recent years, results on cognitive performance are inconsistent. This review compares 41 provocation studies regarding the effects of RF EMF exposure similar to mobile telephones on cognitive performance measures in humans. The studies were identified via systematic searches of the databases Pub Med and ISI Web of Science and were published in peer-reviewed journals between 1998 and the end of 2009. Based on a critical discussion within the scope of methodological standards it is concluded that state-of-the-art-methods in bio-electromagnetic research on RF EMF effects and cognition have neither been specified nor fully implemented over the last 10-11 years. The lack of a validated tool, which reliably assesses changes in cognitive performance caused by RF EMF exposure, may contribute to the current inconsistencies in outcomes. The high variety of findings may also be due to methodological issues such as differences in sample size and the composition of study groups, experimental design, exposure setup as well as the exposure conditions, and emphasizes the need for a standardized protocol in bioelectromagnetic research. At present, no underlying biological mechanism has been identified which mediates the effects on brain functioning as observed in electroencephalographic (EEG) studies. A future aim must be to identify this mechanism as well as a reliable exposure protocol in order to gain more insights into possible behavioral and related health consequences of high-frequency EMF exposure.
    Environmental Health 01/2011; 10(1):10. DOI:10.1186/1476-069X-10-10 · 2.71 Impact Factor
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