Does acute exposure to mobile phones affect human attention?

Department of Psychology, University of Essex, Colchester, United Kingdom.
Bioelectromagnetics (Impact Factor: 2.02). 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.

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Potential effects of a 30 min exposure to third generation (3G) Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) mobile phone-like electromagnetic fields (EMFs) were investigated on human brain electrical activity in two experiments. In the first experiment, spontaneous electroencephalography (sEEG) was analyzed (n = 17); in the second experiment, auditory event-related potentials (ERPs) and automatic deviance detection processes reflected by mismatch negativity (MMN) were investigated in a passive oddball paradigm (n = 26). Both sEEG and ERP experiments followed a double-blind protocol where subjects were exposed to either genuine or sham irradiation in two separate sessions. In both experiments, electroencephalograms (EEG) were recorded at midline electrode sites before and after exposure while subjects were watching a silent documentary. Spectral power of sEEG data was analyzed in the delta, theta, alpha, and beta frequency bands. In the ERP experiment, subjects were presented with a random series of standard (90%) and frequency-deviant (10%) tones in a passive binaural oddball paradigm. The amplitude and latency of the P50, N100, P200, MMN, and P3a components were analyzed. We found no measurable effects of a 30 min 3G mobile phone irradiation on the EEG spectral power in any frequency band studied. Also, we found no significant effects of EMF irradiation on the amplitude and latency of any of the ERP components. In summary, the present results do not support the notion that a 30 min unilateral 3G EMF exposure interferes with human sEEG activity, auditory evoked potentials or automatic deviance detection indexed by MMN. Bioelectromagnetics. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Bioelectromagnetics 06/2012; · 2.02 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVES Over the past 10 years there has been increasing concern about the possible behavioural effects of mobile phone use. This systematic review and meta-analysis focuses on studies published since 1999 on the human cognitive and performance effects of mobile phone-related electromagnetic fields (EMF). METHODS PubMed, Biomed, Medline, Biological Sciences, PsychInfo, PsycARTICLES, Environmental Sciences and Pollution Management, Neurosciences Abstracts and Web of Science professional databases were searched and 24 studies selected for meta-analysis. Each study had to have at least one psychomotor measurement result as a main outcome. Data were analysed using standardised mean difference (SMD) as the effect size measure. RESULTS Only three tasks (2-back, 3-back and simple reaction time (SRT)) displayed significant heterogeneity, but after studies with extreme SMD were excluded using sensitivity analysis, the statistical significance disappeared (χ(2)(7)=1.63, p=0.20; χ(2)(6)=1.00, p=0.32; χ(2)(10)=14.04, p=0.17, respectively). Following sensitivity analysis, the effect of sponsorship and publication bias were assessed. Meta-regression indicated a significant effect (b1/40.12, p<0.05) only for the 2-back task with mixed funding (industry and public/charity). Funnel plot inspection revealed a significant publication bias only for two cognitive tasks: SRT (Begg's rank correlation r=0.443; Egger's test b=-0.652) and the subtraction task (Egger's test b=-0.687). CONCLUSIONS Mobile phone-like EMF do not seem to induce cognitive and psychomotor effects. Nonetheless, the existence of sponsorship and publication biases should encourage WHO intervention to develop official research standards and guidelines. In addition, future research should address critical and neglected issues such as investigation of repeated, intensive and chronic exposures, especially in highly sensitive populations such as children.
    Postgraduate medical journal 09/2011; 87(1031):643-51. · 1.38 Impact Factor
  • Source

Full-text (2 Sources)

Available from
May 29, 2014