Literature Review

Microwave frequency electromagnetic fields (EMFs) produce widespread neuropsychiatric effects including depression

Article· Literature Review (PDF Available)inJournal of chemical neuroanatomy 75(Pt B) · August 2015with 3,845 Reads 
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DOI: 10.1016/j.jchemneu.2015.08.001 · Source: PubMed
Cite this publication
Abstract
Non-thermal microwave/lower frequency electromagnetic fields (EMFs) act via voltage-gated calcium channel (VGCC) activation. Calcium channel blockers block EMF effects and several types of additional evidence confirm this mechanism. Low intensity microwave EMFs have been proposed to produce neuropsychiatric effects, sometimes called microwave syndrome, and the focus of this review is whether these are indeed well documented and consistent with the known mechanism(s) of action of such EMFs. VGCCs occur in very high densities throughout the nervous system and have near universal roles in release of neurotransmitters and neuroendocrine hormones. Soviet and Western literature shows that much of the impact of non-thermal microwave exposures in experimental animals occurs in the brain and peripheral nervous system, such that nervous system histology and function show diverse and substantial changes. These may be generated through roles of VGCC activation, producing excessive neurotransmitter/neuroendocrine release as well as oxidative/nitrosative stress and other responses. Excessive VGCC activity has been shown from genetic polymorphism studies to have roles in producing neuropsychiatric changes in humans. Two U.S. government reports from the 1970's-80's provide evidence for many neuropsychiatric effects of non-thermal microwave EMFs, based on occupational exposure studies. 18 more recent epidemiological studies, provide substantial evidence that microwave EMFs from cell/mobile phone base stations, excessive cell/mobile phone usage and from wireless smart meters can each produce similar patterns of neuropsychiatric effects, with several of these studies showing clear dose-response relationships. Lesser evidence from 6 additional studies suggests that short wave, radio station, occupational and digital TV antenna exposures may produce similar neuropsychiatric effects. Among the more commonly reported changes are sleep disturbance/insomnia, headache, depression/depressive symptoms, fatigue/tiredness,dysesthesia, concentration/attention dysfunction, memory changes, dizziness, irritability, loss of appetite/body weight, restlessness/anxiety, nausea, skin burning/tingling/dermographism and EEG changes. In summary, then, the mechanism of action of microwave EMFs, the role of the VGCCs in the brain, the impact of non-thermal EMFs on the brain, extensive epidemiological studies performed over the past 50 years, and five criteria testing for causality, all collectively show that various non-thermal microwave EMF exposures produce diverse neuropsychiatric effects. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier B.V.
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Accepted Manuscript
Title: Microwave frequency electromagnetic fields (EMFs)
produce widespread neuropsychiatric effects including
depression
Author: Martin L. Pall
PII: S0891-0618(15)00059-9
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1016/j.jchemneu.2015.08.001
Reference: CHENEU 1334
To appear in:
Received date: 13-4-2015
Revised date: 1-8-2015
Accepted date: 9-8-2015
Please cite this article as: Pall, M.L.,Microwave frequency electromagnetic fields
(EMFs) produce widespread neuropsychiatric effects including depression, Journal
of Chemical Neuroanatomy (2015), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jchemneu.2015.08.001
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1
Microwave frequency electromagnetic fields (EMFs) produce widespread
neuropsychiatric effects including depression
Martin L. Pall
Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry and Basic Medical Sciences
Washington State University
638 NE 41
st
Ave., Portland, OR 97232-3312, USA
martin_pall@wsu.edu
Abstract:
Non-thermal microwave/lower frequency electromagnetic fields (EMFs) act via voltage-
gated calcium channel (VGCC) activation. Calcium channel blockers block EMF effects
and several types of additional evidence confirm this mechanism. Low intensity
microwave EMFs have been proposed to produce neuropsychiatric effects, sometimes
called microwave syndrome, and the focus of this review is whether these are indeed well
documented and consistent with the known mechanism(s) of action of such EMFs.
VGCCs occur in very high densities throughout the nervous system and have near
universal roles in release of neurotransmitters and neuroendocrine hormones. Soviet and
Western literature shows that much of the impact of non-thermal microwave exposures in
experimental animals occurs in the brain and peripheral nervous system, such that
nervous system histology and function show diverse and substantial changes. These may
be generated through roles of VGCC activation, producing excessive
neurotransmitter/neuroendocrine release as well as oxidative/nitrosative stress and other
responses. Excessive VGCC activity has been shown from genetic polymorphism studies
to have roles in producing neuropsychiatric changes in humans. Two U.S. government
reports from the 1970’s-80’s provide evidence for many neuropsychiatric effects of non-
thermal microwave EMFs, based on occupational exposure studies. 18 more recent
epidemiological studies, provide substantial evidence that microwave EMFs from
cell/mobile phone base stations, excessive cell/mobile phone usage and from wireless
smart meters can each produce similar patterns of neuropsychiatric effects, with several
of these studies showing clear dose-response relationships. Lesser evidence from 6
additional studies suggests that short wave, radio station, occupational and digital TV
antenna exposures may produce similar neuropsychiatric effects. Among the more
commonly reported changes are sleep disturbance/insomnia, headache,
depression/depressive symptoms, fatigue/tiredness,dysesthesia, concentration/attention
dysfunction, memory changes, dizziness, irritability, loss of appetite/body weight,
restlessness/anxiety, nausea, skin burning/tingling/dermographism and EEG changes. In
summary, then, the mechanism of action of microwave EMFs, the role of the VGCCs in
the brain, the impact of non-thermal EMFs on the brain, extensive epidemiological
studies performed over the past 50 years, and five criteria testing for causality, all
collectively show that various non-thermal microwave EMF exposures produce diverse
neuropsychiatric effects.
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Key Words: Excessive calcium effects; oxidative/nitrosative stress; low-intensity
microwave electromagnetic fields
Chemicals having roles:
Calcium(2+)
Nitric oxide (NO)
Oxido nitrite (peroxynitrite)
Introduction:
Microwave syndrome (Hocking, 2001; Johnson Liakouris, 1998), a combination of
various neuropsychiatric symptoms originally described in persons with occupational
exposures to microwave frequency EMFs, has been disputed largely because of the lack
of an apparent mechanism for generating these symptoms. It is reported to often include
such symptoms as fatigue, headache, insomnia, dysesthesia (impaired sensation),
irritability, lack of concentration and other symptoms (Hocking, 2001; Johnson
Liakouris, 1998). Similar but more extensive combinations of symptoms have been
reported following occupational exposures in two U.S. government reports from the
1970s/1980s (Naval Medical Research Institute Research Report, 1971; Raines, 1981)
and following environmental exposures as described in two more recent reviews
(Khurana et al, 2010; Levitt and Lai, 2010).
The goal here is not just to review the epidemiology, however, but more importantly to
consider the issue of possible physiological mechanism(s). Hennekens and Buring
(1989), on p. 40 in their textbook Epidemiology in Medicine state "The belief in the
existence of a cause and effect relationship is enhanced if there is a known or postulated
biologic mechanism by which the exposure might reasonably alter risk of developing
disease." It is of critical importance therefore to assess possible biological mechanism
before considering the epidemiological evidence.
Accordingly, this paper considers the mechanism by which low intensity microwave
EMFs impact the cells of our bodies, how that mechanism may be predicted to impact the
nervous system, evidence for such impact from experimental animal studies, genetic
polymorphism evidence for that mechanism acting in humans to produce
neuropsychiatric effects and finally, the epidemiological evidence for such effects in
human populations with repeated low level microwave EMF exposure. Consideration of
each of these types of evidence influences the overall interpretation presented in this
paper.
Microwave/lower frequency EMFs act to activate voltage-gated calcium channels
In 24 different studies reviewed earlier (Pall, 2013) and two additional studies (Li et al,
2014; Lisi et al, 2006), microwave and lower frequency low intensity EMF effects were
blocked or greatly lowered by calcium channel blockers, agents thought to be specific for
blocking voltage-gated calcium channels (VGCCs). In these 26 studies, a total of 5
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distinct types of channel blockers were used, with each type having a distinct structure
and binding to a distinct site, such that it is essentially certain that these must be acting by
blocking VGCCs, which is their only known common property. In each of these 26
studies, each of the responses studied, were blocked or greatly lowered by calcium
channel blockers, showing that VGCC activation has roles in producing a wide variety of
EMF effects. There is a large literature on changes in calcium fluxes and in calcium
signaling following microwave EMF exposure (partially reviewed in Walleczek 1992;
Adey 1993); each of these, including calcium efflux changes, can be explained as being
due to VGCC activation, again suggesting a widespread role of VGCC activation in
producing biological responses to EMFs. Pilla (2012) showed that pulsed microwave
field exposure, produced an almost instantaneous increase in calcium/calmodulin-
dependent nitric oxide (NO) signaling, providing strong evidence that these fields can
produce an almost instantaneous VGCC activation. It is likely, that these EMFs act
directly on the voltage sensor of the VGCCs to produce VGCC activation (Pall, 2015)
with the voltage sensor being exquisitely sensitive to these EMFs because of its physical
properties and location in the plasma membrane.
EMFs have been proposed to act to produce a wide variety of responses in the cell, via
downstream effects of VGCC activation (Pall, 2013, 2014, 2015), including elevated
intracellular calcium [Ca2+]i, excessive calcium and nitric oxide signaling and also
excessive peroxynitrite, free radicals and oxidative stress.
VGCC activation has been shown to have a universal or near-universal role in the release
of neurotransmitters in the brain and also in the release of hormones by neuroendocrine
cells (Berridge, 1998; Dunlap et al, 1995; Wheeler et al, 1994), with such release being
produced by calcium signaling. There are high densities of diverse VGCCs occuring in
neurons throughout the nervous system. Both the high VGCC density and their function
in neurotransmitter and neuroendocrine release throughout the nervous system suggests
that the nervous system is likely to be highly sensitive to low intensity EMFs.
Genetic Polymorphism Studies
Genetic polymorphism studies are powerful tools for looking at the roles of specific
proteins in human populations. In Table 1, a series of genetic polymorphism studies have
been performed that show that an allele producing increased expression of the gene
encoding the channel of the main L-type VGCC in the brain, produces diverse
neuropsychiatric effects. These studies clearly show that excess L-type VGCC activity
can cause neuropsychiatric effects. They also predict, therefore, that increased VGCC
activity produced by microwave EMFs may be able to also produce widespread
neuropsychiatric effects.
Table 1 Influence of Genetic Polymorphism of the CACNA1C in Producing
Diverse Neuropsychiatric Effects
Citation Genetic Polymorphism Changes produced by allele of gene
Bhat e
t al,
Polymorphism
Review: The polymorphism Is associated with
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2012 producing Increased
expression of
CACNA1C L-type
VGCC subunit
increased susceptibility to bipolar disorder,
“depression, schizophrenia, autism spectrum
disorders, as well as changes in brain function
and structure in control subjects who have no
diagnosable psychiatric illness.”
Bigos et al,
2010 Polymorphism
producing Increased
expression of
CACNA1C L-type
VGCC subunit
Associated with increases in both bipolar
disorder and schizophrenia
Krug et al,
2010 Polymorphism
producing increased
expression of
CACNA1C L-type
VGCC subunit
Negatively influences language production on a
semantic level
Krug et al,
2014 Polymorphism
producing increased
expression of
CACNA1C L-type
VGCC subunit
Influences episodic memory and retrieval
Soeiro-de-
Souza et
al, 2012
Polymorphism
producing increased
expression of
CACNA1C L-type
VGCC subunit
Produces impaired facial emotion recognition
Tesli, et al,
2013 Polymorphism
producing increased
expression of
CACNA1C L-type
VGCC subunit
Produces increased activation of the amygdala
during emotional processing
Thimm et
al, 2011 Polymorphism
producing increased
expression of
CACNA1C L-type
VGCC subunit
Associated with attention deficits including
alerting, orienting and executive control of
attention
Histological and Functional Changes in Central Nervous System (CNS) and Peripheral
Nervous System ((PNS) in Animals Exposed to Microwave EMFs
The most extensive literature on histological and functional changes in animals is from
the Soviet literature from the 1950s/1960s with additional Western literature from the
same time period. Both Soviet and non-Soviet literature were reviewed in an English
language Publication by Tolgskaya and Gordon (1973). This publication is, therefore,
the main focus of this section. That publication was divided into thermal and non-
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thermal exposure studies, with the non-thermal studies which occupy the majority of the
text (pp. 53-137) being of sole interest here.
Table 2 Histological and Functional Changes in Brain Function in Animals
following Exposure to Non-Thermal Microwave EMFs
Observations including page numbers Comment from Author
The majority of the histological changes seen following
non-thermal exposures, occurred in the nervous system,
despite its being only about 2% of the tissue mass in
rodents; this suggests that the nervous system is highly
sensitive to such exposures. Elsewhere (p.129,136), it
is suggested that the nervous system is the most
sensitive tissue, followed by the heart and the testis,
among all of the tissues of the body. The most severe
histological changes produced by these non-thermal
EMF exposures occur in the nervous system (p. 136).
High CNS sensitivity to EMFs
is predicted by the high density
of VGCCs that occur in
neurons throughout the
nervous system, plus the
VGCC role in neurotransmitter
and neuroendocrine release.
Pulsed fields were more active than non-pulsed fields
in producing histological changes (p. 71,97) Pulsed fields have often been
found to be more biologically
active than are non-pulsed
fields in many different studies
from many countries (Pall,
2015, Panagopoulos et al,
2013; Belyaev, 2015)
Nervous system regions impacted by non-thermal
microwave and lower frequency fields include: cortex,
diencephalon including the hypothalamus and
thalamus, hippocampus, autonomic ganglia, sensory
fibers, pituitary gland including neurohypophysis
Neuroendocrine changes seem to undergo change over
increased time of exposure. Neurosecretion in the
hypothalamus and in the pituitary each go through a
complex sequence over time, where EMF exposure
initially produces increased hormone secretion but
where over time, the neurosecretory cells become
“exhausted”, leading to lowered secretion and in some
cases cell death (pp.77-96).
Elevated [Ca2+]i stimulates
hormone secretion. However
when such elevated [Ca2+]i
occurs over extended time
periods it is highly damaging
to the cell, leading in some
cases to apoposis; thus this
time course of action should
not be surprising.
Histological changes include boutons/argyrophilia,
smaller neurons, vacuole formation in neuroendocrine
cells, bead-like thickening along dendrites
(p.66,70,71,73,97,98,100,111,115-117,121-125).
Spines near the ends of dendrites become deformed and
with still more sessions of irradiation, disappeared
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entirely (p.70). Sensory neurons, following exposures,
developed changes characteristic of irritation, with
“marked tortuosity of the nerve fibers.” Many
histological changes are seen in the hypothalamic cells
(p.87-92) as their neuroendocrine function becomes
impacted. Histological changes were found even with
exposures that produced no apparent functional
changes.
Many histological and functional changes are reported
to initially be reversible, following cessation of
exposure, but progressively become irreversible with
longer exposure. (p.64,72,74). Paralleling the
development of irreversibility, it is found that
“Repeated exposure leads to gradual increase in
severity of observed changes.” … including
“increasingly severe disturbance of conditioned reflex
activity in the animals, changes in responses of
animals particularly sensitive to acoustic stimulation…
.” (p. 104)
If this is also true in humans,
then claims that there cannot
be non-thermal effects, claims
which act to prolong
exposures, may be causing
irreversible damage to many
humans.
EEG changes (p. 55,60,102), including seizure activity
following sensory provocation Lai, 1997 has an extensive
review of EEG changes in
animals following non-thermal
microwave EMF exposures
Neurodegeneration is reported in a number of places in
this review (p.72,83,117).
Synaptic connections in regions of the brain are
disrupted (p.65-74, 97,113,121,136), and at the
extreme, some neurons are completely asynaptic (p.73).
Synaptic connections are
known to be disrupted in
autism; could this suggest that
autism may be generated by
EMF exposure? No doubt, we
need much more evidence on
this.
“after prolonged and repeated irradiation with low-
intensity centimeter waves, with no elevation of the
body temperature and when the animal’s condition
remained satisfactory, changes were nevertheless found
in the sensory fibers of the skin and viscera in the form
of irritation phenomena. These findings concur with
the view in the literature that the receptor system as a
whole and, in particular its preterminal portions are
highly sensitive.” P.76. This description is similar to
what is reported to occur in electromagnetic
hypersensitivity (EHS). Other such studies are
described and include cumulative changes over time,
that may also explain changes reported in EHS
(p.75,99,100,104).
One wonders whether almost
60 years ago, the Soviet
literature may have already
described a possible animal
model for EHS. None is
known to exist today, and
because of that, EHS studies
are severely constrained.
Clearly one needs to be
skeptical about this
interpretation, but it is of great
importance that this be further
studied.
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These were all derived from the Tolgskaya and Gordon,1973 review and page numbers
listed are page numbers from that document. All refer to changes produced by non-
thermal exposures in the nervous system of experimental animals, with most being in
rats.
This discussion scrolls down through Table 2.
The majority of the histological changes seen in these mostly rodent studies, are seen in
the nervous system, despite its being less than 2% of the rodent cell mass. There are
statements made that the nervous system, both central and peripheral, is the most highly
sensitive tissue to these non-thermal microwave and lower frequency EMFs. Following
the nervous system in sensitivity are the myocardium and the testis; myocardial cells are
known to have very high densities of VGCCs with especially high densities in the
pacemaker cells and the testis is known to have high densities specifically of the T-type
VGCCs. Pulsed EMFs are more active in producing histological changes in the brain
than are non-pulsed fields, in two studies reviewed; there is a much larger literature
showing that in most cases pulsed fields are more biologically active (Pall, 2015,
Panagopoulos et al, 2013, Belyaev, 2015).
A wide variety of brain and peripheral nervous system tissues show histological changes
following non-thermal exposures. Among the important tissues impacted are the
hypothalamus and pituitary gland, where both show similar patterns of changes in
neuroendocrine activities. There Is an initial increase in neuroendocrine activity (this
may be produced directly by VGCC stimulation of secretion), followed over time by
“exhaustion” of neuroendocrine activity (this may be produced by tissue damage
produced from long term intracellular calcium [Ca2+]i elevation).
There are widespread histological changes produced in neuronal and neuroendocrine
tissues. These were repeatedly reported to be largely reversible on cessation of EMF
exposure. They become, however, irreversible when exposure is extended in time. There
are changes in EEG activity, which may be an easily measurable monitor of neurological
damage.
In a summary statement, Tolgskaya and Gordon, 1973 state “This does not confirm the
view,so widely held in the past among Soviet investigators and still maintained to a large
extent even at the present time in the West, that the action of microwaves is entirely
thermal.”
While there were many studies of brain impact of non-thermal EMFs performed in the
1950s/60s that make the information content of Tolgskaya and Gordon, 1973 quite high,
there is also a substantial recent literature on brain effects of non-thermal microwave
EMF exposures (see, for example: Ammari et al, 2008a; Ammari et al, 2008b; Bas et al,
2009; Brillaud et al, 2007; Carballo-Quintás, et al, 2011; Eberhardt et al, 2008; Dasdag et
al, 2009 & 2012; Grafström et al, 2008; Kumlin et al, 2007; López-Martín, 2006;
Mausset-Bonnefont et al, 2004; Odacia et al, 2008; Rağbetli, et al, 2010; Salford et al,
2003; Sonmez et al, 2010).
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Older Epidemiological Reviews and Other Related Studies
Two U.S. Government reports each listed many apparent neuropsychiatric effects of
microwave/radiofrequency EMFs and a third recognized the role of non-thermal effects
on our bodies, but had only a little consideration of neuropsychiatric effects.
The earliest to these was a Naval Medical Research Institute (NMRI) Research Report
(1971) which listed 40 apparent neuropsychiatric changes produced by non-thermal
exposures:, including 5 central/peripheral nervous system (NS) changes, 9 CNS effects, 4
autonomic system effects, 17 psychological disorders, 4 behavioral changes and 2 misc.
effects. This NMRI report also provided a supplementary document listing over 2300
citations documenting these and other effects of microwave exposures in humans and in
animals.
The Raines (1981) NASA report reviewed extensive literature based on occupational
exposures to non-thermal microwave EMFs, with that literature coming from U.S.,
Western European and Eastern European studies. There are no obvious differences in the
literature coming from these different regions. Based on multiple studies, Raines (1981)
reports 19 neuropsychiatric effects to be associated with occupational
microwave/radiofrequency EMFs.
The Bolen (1994) report put out by the Rome Laboratory of the U.S. Air Force,
acknowledged the role of non-thermal effects of microwave EMFs on humans. This
report states in the Conclusion section that “Experimental evidence has shown that
exposure to low intensity radiation can have a profound effect on biological processes.
The nonthermal effects of RF/MW radiation exposure are becoming important measures
of biological interaction of EM fields.” Clearly Bolen (1994) rejects the claim that only
thermal effects occur. Bolen (1994) discusses a specific non-thermal neuropsychiatric
effect, where anesthetized animals are awakened when the head is irradiated with
microwave EMFs. This suggests a similar mechanism to that acting in humans where
such EMFs produce insomnia (see below).
Specific Epidemiological Studies on Neuropsychiatric Effects of Microwave EMFs
There are 26 different epidemiological studies described in Table 3. Although 4 of these
only studied a single neuropsychiatric effect, 22 of these each provide substantial
evidence for the pattern described in the earlier U.S. reports, that a wide range of
neuropsychiatric effects are produced by exposure to various non-thermal microwave
frequency EMFs. Perhaps the most important of these 26 is the Santini et al, 2003 study
of people living near cell phone base stations.
Table 3: Neuropsychiatric Symptoms Apparently Produced by Exposure to
Various Electromagnetic Fields
Citation EMF exposure Apparent neuropsychiatric symptoms
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Abdel-Rassoul
et al, 2007 Living near mobile
phone base station Significant increases in neuropsychiatric
complaints included: headache, memory
changes, dizziness, tremors, depressive
symptoms, sleep disturbance; attributed to
effects of EMFs on the human nervous
system
Al-Khlaiwi &
Meo, 2004 Mobile phone use Higher prevalence of fatigue, headache,
dizziness, tension and sleep disturbance;
the authors conclude that mobile phone use
is a risk factor for developing these
symptoms
Altpeter et al,
2000 Short-wave broadcasting
tower, ranging from 6.1
to 21.8 MHz
Sleep disruption shown to occur, correlated
with exposures and apparent increase over
time; short term suppression of melatonin
shown, based on melatonin increases during
a 3 day period when the tower was turned
off.
Bortkiewicz A
et al, 2004 Living near cell phone
base station EMFs Sleep disturbance, irritability, depression,
blurred vision, concentration difficulties,
nausea, lack of appetite, headache, vertigo
Bortkiewicz A
et al, 2012 Living near mobile
phone base stations Dose response relationships for sleep
disturbance, irritability, depression, blurred
vision, concentration difficulties, nausea,
lack of appetite,
Chu et al, 2011;
Also Chia et al,
2000; Oftedal
et al 2000
Mobile phone use Headache during prolonged mobile phone
use or within an hour following such use,
with pain occurring on the ipsilateral side of
the head; similar observations obtained in
each of the 3 studies in column 1; see also
Frey 1998
Conrad RH,
2013 Smart meter EMF
exposure 14 common new symptoms (both severe
and moderate) among those exposed and
symptomatic, 13 apparent neuropsychiatric:
Insomnia, tinnitus, pressure in the head,
concentration difficulty, headaches,
memory problems, agitation, dizziness,
fatigue, skin tingling/burning, involuntary
muscle contractions, eye/vision problems,
numbness; These ranged in prevalence
from 63% to 19% of those experiencing
symptoms, such that most symptomatic
people experienced multiple symptoms
Dasdag et al,
1992 People working in MW
broadcasting or at a
television transmitter
station
These groups suffered from headache,
fatigue, irritability, stress, sleepiness, loss of
appetite, loss of hearing
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Dwyer and
Leeper, 1978 People working in
radiofrequency EMFs Headache, eyestrain, dizziness, disturbed
sleep, daytime sleepiness, moodiness,
mental depression, memory impairment,
muscle and/or cardiac pain, breathing
difficulties, increased perspiration,
difficulty with sex life
Eger & Jahn,
2010 Living near mobile
phone base station Neuropsychiatric symptoms, with most
showing dose-response relationships:
depression; headache; cerebral symptoms;
dizziness; disorders of optical and acoustic
sensory systems; sleep disturbance; skin
changes; with the exception of dizziness, all
of these had p<0.001
Johnson
Liakouris AG,
1998
Study of personnel in
U.S. embassy in
Moscow exposed to
microwave EMFs
Statistically significant increases in
neurological (peripheral nerves and
ganglia), dermographism (skin responses),
irritability, depression, loss of appetite,
concentration difficulties, peripheral gangia
and nerve dysfunction
Khan MM,
2008 Excessive mobile phone
use Complaints of headache, fatigue, impaired
concentration, memory disturbance,
sleeplessness, hearing problems
Kolodinski &
Kolodinska
1996
Children living near a
Radio Location Station,
Latvia
Memory dysfunction, attention dysfunction,
lowered motor function, slowed reaction
time, lowered neuromuscular endurance
Lamech F,
2014 Exposure to wireless
smart meter radiation in
Victoria, Australia
The most frequent symptoms to develop
after smart meter radiation exposure were
insomnia, headache, tinnitus, fatigue,
cognitive disturbances, dysesthesias
(abnormal sensation), dizziness
Navarro et al,
2003 Living near cell phone
base station Statistically significant dose response
relationships for fatigue, irritability,
headache, nausea, loss of appetite, sleep
disorder, depressive tendency, feeling of
discomfort, difficulty of concentration, loss
of memory, visual disorder & dizziness
Oberfeld et al,
2004 Living near cell phone
base station Statistically significant dose-response
relationships for headache, fatigue,
irritability, loss of appetite, visual disorder,
nausea, sleeping disorders, dizziness, poor
concentration, memory loss
Oto et al, 1994 Occupational exposure
of 25 workers to either
UHF television
broadcasting (10) or to
1062 KHz me
dium
10 neuropsychiatric changes were assessed,
all showing statistically significant changes
compared with controls: Somatization*,
obsessive compulsivity*, interpersonal
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wave broadcasting (15) phobic anxiety*, paranoid ideation,
psychoticism*, sleeping disturbance.
*p<0.001
Sadcikova,
1974 Occupational exposure
to microwave radiation,
including at <.07
mW/cm
2
Heaviness in head*, fatigue*, irritability*,
sleepiness, memory loss*, cardiac pain*,
dermographism (skin sensitivity)*,
hyperhidrosis*
* significant increase with time of exposure
Salama et al,
2004 High cell (mobile)
phone use Most common effects were headache, ear
ache, sense of fatigue, sleep disturbance,
concentration difficulty, face burning
sensation. The first three of these had very
high statistical significance for correlation
with extent of cell phone use.
Santini et al,
2003 Living near cell phone
base stations Each of the following neuropsychiatric
symptoms showed statistical significant
dose-response relationships: nausea, loss of
appetite, visual disturbance, irritability,
depressive tendencies, lowered libido,
headache, sleep disturbance, feeling of
discomfort, fatigue
Schüz et al,
2009 Mobile phone use Found a small, statistically significant
increase in migraine and vertigo. Also
found an apparent lowered occurrence of
Alzheimer’s, other dementia, Parkinson’s
and epilepsy – these latter were interpreted
as being due to perhaps early symptoms of
the developing diseases lowering
probability of acquiring a mobile phone
Söderqvist et
al, 2008 Use of mobile phone
among adolescents Increased mobile phone use was associated
with increases in tiredness, stress, headache,
anxiety, concentration difficulties and sleep
disturbances
Thomée et al,
2011 High mobile phone use High mobile phone use was associated with
statistically significant rises in stress and
sleep disturbance, with somewhat weaker
association with depression
Waldmann-
Selsam C, et al.
2009
Digital TV signaling Constant headaches, pressure in head,
drowsiness, sleep problems, tightness in
chest, shortness of breadth, depressive
mood, total apathy, loss of empathy,
burning skin, inner burning, leg weakness,
pain in limbs, stabbing pain in various
organs, weight increase
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There are three recent studies on the generation of headache during or shortly following
long mobile phone calls (listed under Chu et al, 2011 in Table 3). The timing of
development of these headaches and the finding that they occur on the ipsilateral side of
the head, the side receiving much higher EMF exposure during the call, both argue
strongly that these headaches are caused by the long mobile phone calls. Such causality
was concluded earlier by Frey, 1998 based on earlier studies and is now still more
strongly documented.
Criteria for Assessing Causality In Epidemiological Studies
It is important to consider the different criteria that allow one to judge whether a cause
and effect relationship is justified by the studies listed in Table 3 and the individual
studies cited in Raines, 1981. There are five such criteria that should be considered in
making that judgment (See pp.39-43 in Hennington and Buring, 1987):
Strength of Association: Is there a strong correlation between exposure and the
neuropsychiatric symptoms? There clearly is for several studies cited in Raines, 1981.
One example is the Dwyer and Leeper, 1978 study (see Table 3) where there is a large
increase in symptoms and where that increase is greater with longer occupational
exposure. Another example is the Lerner, 1980 study of 1300 microwave workers,
where workers with relatively low exposure levels had an approximate doubling of
neurological complaints and where those with substantially higher exposure levels had an
approximate tripling of neurological complaints over controls. Sadcikova, 1974 found
that 7 of 8 neuropsychiatric symptoms studied, showed a statistically significant rise in
prevalence with longer occupational exposure (see Table 3). Sadcikova, 1974, also found
that microwave workers had increases of 3 to over 10-fold in: feeling of heaviness in the
head; tiredness; irritability; sleepiness; partial loss of memory; and skin sensitivity.
There is also a strong association where important new exposures occur – this is clearly
the case with all of the studies of people living near cell/mobile phone base stations,
listed in Table 3 and also with the two studies of people who become exposed to radiation
from smart meters. The studies listed in Table 3 under Chu et al, 2011 (see also Chia et
al, 2000; Oftedal et al 2000) are of a special type. Here people making very long (over 1
h.) cell/mobile phone calls develop headaches an hour or more following the initiation of
the long call. So these occur within a specific time range following initiation of these
long calls, such that headache would only occur very infrequently in that time frame by
chance. So here again, there is a strong association. While there is no question that many
of these studies show high strength of association, it is also clear that it is becoming
progressively more difficult to do these studies. As exposures become almost universal
in countries around the world, it is getting difficult if not impossible to find good negative
controls. There may be a similar problem in doing animal studies, such that it may be
necessary to raise animals in Faraday cages in order to avoid exposures that would
otherwise occur as a consequence of our near ubiquitous EMFs.
Biological credibility is extremely strong here, with three aspects of the biology
predicting that these low intensity fields cause widespread neuropsychiatric effects. This
was discussed above and is reconsidered in the following section.
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Consistency within the different epidemiological studies and with other types of studies:
The epidemiological studies listed in Table 3 and also those showing neuropsychiatric
effects that were cited in Raines, 1981 have been performed in many different countries
with different cultures. They have been performed in multiple countries in Western
Europe, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and in East Asia, as well as in the U.S. and
Australia. They are, therefore, not limited to one or two cultural contexts. This is
deemed, therefore, an important indicator of causality. We also have a surprising
consistency of apparent neuropsychiatric effects of different fields, including various
occupational exposures and exposures to cell/mobile phone base stations, exposure to the
phones themselves, exposure to smart meter pulses, and other EMFs (see Table 3).
Pulsation patterns, frequencies and exact intensities may produce various biological
responses (Pall, 2015, Panagopoulos et al, 2013, Belyaev, 2015) so it is a bit surprising
that we have as much consistency as we do have across different types of exposures. We
also have consistency with the biology discussed in the previous section. Because
elevated VGCC activity produced by genetic polymorphism (Table 1) produces diverse
neuropsychiatric effects, it is not surprising that elevation of VGCC activity produced by
microwave EMF exposure apparently also produces diverse neuropsychiatric effects.
Similarly because non-thermal EMF exposures produce widespread changes in brain
structure and function in animals (Tolgskaya and Gordon, 1973), it is not surprising that
the neuropsychiatric symptoms, which are produced as a consequence of brain
dysfunction are produced by such EMFs.
Time sequence: It is clear that the all of these effects follow exposure in the various
studies that have been published. In some studies, it is also clear that longer occupational
exposure times produce increased symptom prevalence. These include Dwyer and
Leeper, 1978 and Baranski and Edelwejn, 1975. These observations all support a causal
relationship between exposure to EMF and the development of neuropsychiatric
symptoms.
Dose-response relationship: It is assumed, here, that biological effects have a positive
correlation with the intensity of the apparent causal stressor. This is not necessarily true
of EMF effects, because it has been shown that there are “window effects” where specific
intensities have larger biological effects, than do either lower or higher intensities (Pall,
2015, Panagopoulos et al, 2013, Belyaev, 2015). Nevertheless, where different
intensities were studied in these epidemiological studies, they do show the dose-response
relationship assumed here including Altpeter et al, 2000; Dwyer and Leeper, 1978; Eger
and Jahn, 2003; Lerner, 1978; Navarro et al, 2003; Oberfeld et al, 2004; Salama et al,
2004; Santini et al, 2003; Thomée et al, 2011. Thus these data do fit well to the assumed
dose-response relationship, found in most causal roles. The Altpeter et al, 2000 study
showed a special type of evidence for causality: during a 3-day period when the
broadcasting tower was turned off, the melatonin levels recovered to near-normal levels.
The studies of headache occurrence on prolonged cell/mobile phone calls (typically well
over one hour) listed under Chu et al, 2011 in Table 3 also suggest the assumed dose-
response relationship (see also Chia et al, 2000; Oftedal et al 2000 and earlier citations
listed in Frey, 1998). Because such headaches only occur with prolonged cell/mobile
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phone calls, these studies also provide evidence for a dose-response relationship because
low doses are ineffective. Furthermore these same studies provide evidence for such a
dose-response relationship from another type of observation. Because the headaches
occur predominantly on the ipsilateral side of the head which receives much higher EMF
exposure intensity, rather than on the contralateral side of the head, which receives much
lower intensities, this provides an additional type of evidence for the predicted dose-
response relationship.
While the evidence is convincing that the various neuropsychiatric apparent
consequences of microwave EMF exposure are in fact caused by such exposures, there
may be somewhat more controversy about another EMF-neuropsychiatric linkage. Havas
et al (2010) have reported a similar list of neuropsychiatric symptoms in electromagnetic
hypersensitivity (EHS) patients. They found that each of the following symptoms were
common in EHS: poor short term memory; difficulty of concentration; eye problems;
sleep disorder; feeling unwell; headache; dizziness; tinnitus; chronic fatigue; tremors;
body pain; difficulty speaking; tingling sensation in feet or hands; difficulty writing;
difficulty walking; migraine. The similarity of these symptoms to the most commonly
found symptoms following non-thermal microwave EMF exposures (Table 3), suggests
that EHS is a genuine sensitivity to EMFs. In the bottom row in Table 2, sensitivities
were found in rodent studies following non-thermal exposure, that suggest a possible
animal model for the study of EHS. Each of these EHS-related issues needs to be
followed up experimentally.
Discussion and Conclusions:
In the previous section, each of the five criteria for assessing whether an epidemiological
association is causal were considered. Those five are (Hennekens and Buring, 1989): 1.
Strength of association; 2. Biological credibility; 3. Consistency; 4. Time sequence; 5.
Dose-response relationship. Each of these five provide strong support for causality such
that the combination of all five provide compelling evidence for causality. Low-intensity
microwave frequency EMFs do cause diverse neuropsychiatric symptoms. While each of
these five is important here, the one that is most important is the criterion of biological
credibility.
Three related sets of biological observations each predict that low-intensity microwave
EMFs produce widespread neuropsychiatric effects:
1. Such EMFs act via activation of VGCCs, acting through the VGCC voltage
sensor which is predicted to be exquisitely sensitive to these EMFs (Pall, 2015).
VGCCs occur in high densities throughout the nervous system and have essential
roles throughout the nervous system in releasing neurotransmitters and
neuroendocrine hormones. These properties predict, therefore, that these low
intensity non-thermal microwave EMFs cause widespread changes in the nervous
system, causing, in turn, diverse neuropsychiatric effects.
2. Elevated VGCC activity, produced by an allele of the CACNA1C gene which
encodes the channel of the main L-type VGCC in the brain, produces various
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neuropsychiatric effects (Table 1). This predicts, that low intensity non-thermal
microwave frequency EMFs which also produce elevated L-type and other VGCC
activity, therefore produce widespread neuropsychiatric effects.
3. Studies reviewed in the Tolgskaya and Gordon, 1973 publication (Table 2) have
shown that the cells of the mammalian nervous system show high sensitivity to
various non-thermal microwave and lower frequency EMFs, being apparently
more sensitive than any other organ in the body of rodents. These studies predict
that the human nervous system is likely to be similarly sensitive to these EMFs,
predicting, therefore, widespread neuropsychiatric effects in humans.
We not only have biological credibility but more importantly, each of these distinct but
interrelated biological considerations predicts that low-intensity, non-thermal microwave
EMFs produce widespread neuropsychiatric effects. That common prediction is verified
by extensive data summarized in citations provided by the Naval Medical Research
Institute Research Report, June 1971, data provided by The Raines, 1981 NASA report,
and by 26 epidemiological studies summarized in Table 3.
The most commonly reported neuropsychiatric symptoms from these studies are
summarized in Table. 4.
Table 4. Commonly Reported Neuropsychiatric Symptoms following Microwave
EMF Exposure
Symptom(s) Numbers of studies
reporting
Sleep disturbance/insomnia 17
Headache 14
Fatigue/tiredness 11
Depression/depressive symptoms 10
Dysesthesia (vision/hearing/olfactory dysfunction) 10
Concentration/attention/cognitive dysfunction 10
Dizziness/vertigo 9
Memory changes 8
Restlessness/tension/anxiety/stress/agitation/feeling of
discomfort 8
Irritablity 7
Loss of appetite/body weight 6
Skin tingling/burning/inflammation/dermographism 6
Nausea 5
A total of 22 different studies described in Table 3 were used for data for this table, but
not 4 others that only assessed a single neuropsychiatric end point. The Altpeter study
which only assessed sleep disturbance/melatonin depletion and the three studies listed
under Chu et al which only assessed headache occurrence following long cell phone calls,
listed in Table 3 were not included. Because many of the studies only assessed from 3 to
7 specific symptoms, it is not surprising that the numbers of studies reporting a specific
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symptom fall far below 22. Where several symptom descriptions were included under
one heading, such as dysesthesia, if a study had more than one of these symptom
descriptions, it was only counted once.
All the symptoms listed in Table 4 should be considered established parts of microwave
syndrome (Hocking, 2001; Johnson Liakouris, 1998). Even if the statistical significance
in each study was of the lowest statistical significance (p<.05) one would expect only 1
positive study to occur at random out of the 22 studies included here. Because many
individual symptoms were not surveyed in many individual studies, the expectation is
substantially lower than that. Each of these, having shown positive results in 5 or more
studies, are highly unlikely, therefore, to have occurred by chance. Stong statistical
significance is also seen for individual neuropsychiatric effects reported to have p<0.001
in the Eger and Jahn, 2010 and Otto et al, 1994 studies (see Table 3).
EEG changes may well be part of microwave syndrome, as well. While none of the
studies described in Table 3 measured EEGs, six studies of human occupational exposure
cited in the Raines, 1981 showed EEG changes (Baranski and Edelwejn, 1975; Bise,
1978; Dumanskij and Shandala, 1974; Lerner, 1980; Hauf and Weisinger, 1973;
Sheppard and Eisenbud,1977). Murbach et al, 2014 cited 10 human studies in support of
their statement that “The most consistently reported effects (of mobile phone use) in
various studies conducted by different laboratories are changes in the
electroencephalogram (EEG) power spectrum.” Three recent studies (Lustenberger et al,
2013; Schmid et al, 2012a,b) and several earlier studies cited in Wagner et al (1998) have
each shown EEG changes in sleeping humans exposed to non-thermal pulsed microwave
fields. Two recent studies showed EEG changes in persons exposed to Wi-Fi fields
(Maganioti, 2010; Papageorgiou, 2011). Lai, 1997 described 8 animal studies showing
changes in EEG patterns in animals exposed to non-thermal EMFs and three additional
animal studies were described in Tolgskaya and Gordon, 1973. With the exception of the
6 studies cited in the second sentence in this paragraph, all of these are direct
experimental studies which are not, therefore, susceptible to the questions of causality
that can be raised about epidemiological studies. It is the author’s view that future
studies should consider studying EEG changes as an objectively measurable assessment
of brain physiology and that before and after increased exposure studies should be
considered when a new EMF source is to be introduced into human populations. While
such studies must be done carefully, given the complexity of EEGs, even very small
numbers of individuals may produce highly statistically significant results in well
designed studies analyzed with paired t-tests.
One of the citations from the previous paragraph, Bise, 1978 reviewed earlier studies of
low level microwave frequency exposures in humans and concluded that such EMFs
produced the following neuropsychiatric effects: headache, fatigue, irritability, dizziness,
loss of appetite, sleepiness, sweating, difficulty of concentration, memory loss,
depression, emotional instability, dermographism, tremor, hallucinations and insomnia.
The strong similarity of this list from 37 years ago and the list in Table 4 should be noted.
The Bise, 1978 list is based on occupational exposure studies whereas the current list in
Table 4 is based primarily on EMF exposures from cell/mobile phone base stations, from
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heavy cell phone usage and from smart meters, three types of exposures that did not exist
in 1978. The strong similarity between the Bise, 1978 list and the current one 37 years
later alone produces a compelling argument that the 11 neuropsychiatric effects found on
both lists are caused by exposure to multiple types of low-intensity microwave EMFs.
The pattern of evidence is compelling in support of the earlier statement of Levitt and Lai
(2010) that “The primary questions now involve specific exposure parameters, not the
reality of complaints or attempts to attribute such complaints to psychosomatic causes,
malingering or beliefs in paranormal phenomena.”
We can barely imagine how the combinations of neuropsychiatric effects, including those
in Table 4, will influence human behavior and social interactions, now that the majority
of the human populations on earth are exposed to ever increasing intensities and diversity
of microwave frequency EMFs. You may recall that three of the occupational exposure
studies cited in (Raines, 1981 showed increasing prevalence of neuropsychiatric
symptoms with years of exposure to consistent patterns of EMF exposure intensities
(Dwyer and Leeper, 1978, Sadcikova, 1974 and Baranski and Edelwejn, 1975). With
ever increasing exposures in human populations, we have no idea what the consequences
of these ever increasing exposures will be.
The author declares no conflict of interest.
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Highlights:
Microwave EMFs activate voltage-gated Ca2+ channels (VGCCs) concentrated in
the brain
Animal studies show such low level MWV EMFs have diverse high impacts in
the brain
VGCC activity causes widespread neuropsychiatric effects in humans (genetic
studies)
26 studies have EMFs assoc. with neuropsychiatric effects; 5 criteria show
causality
MWV EMFs cause at least 13 neuropsychiatric effects including depression in
humans
  • ... Those with relatively low-level EMF exposure experienced a doubling of neuropsychiatric symptoms. Those workers who were exposed to higher levels of EMF experienced a tripling of neuropsychiatric symptoms (Pall, 2016). Workers who installed wireless smart meters outside homes report increase in insomnia, tinnitus, pressure in the head, and difficulty concentrating which increased in severity with increased exposure (Conrad, 2013). ...
    ... Many hypersensitive patients appear to have impaired detoxification systems that become overloaded by excessive oxidative stress (Korkina, 2009;De Luca et al., 2014). Patients can have neurologic, neuro-hormonal and neuro-psychiatric symptoms following exposure to EMF as a consequence of neural damage and over-sensitized neural responses (Dwyer and Leeper, 1978;Pall, 2016). EMF can induce changes in calcium signaling cascades (Liboff, 1984;Blackman et al., 1985;Smith et al., 1987;Pall, 2013Pall, , 2015, significant activation of free radical processes and overproduction of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in living cells (Irmak et al., 2002;Zmyslony et al., 2004;Friedman et al., 2007;Blank and Goodman, 2009;De Iuliis et al., 2009;Georgiou, 2010;Avci et al., 2012;Jing et al., 2012;Bilgici et al., 2013;Burlaka et al., 2013) as well as altered neurological and cognitive functions (Frey, 1961;Thomas et al., 1986;Carrubba et al., 2007;Nittby et al., 2009;Xu et al., 2010;Molot, 2013;Yakymenko et al., 2016;Pall, 2016;Kim et al., 2017) and disruption of the blood-brain barrier (Salford et al., 2008;Nittby et al., 2009). ...
    ... Patients can have neurologic, neuro-hormonal and neuro-psychiatric symptoms following exposure to EMF as a consequence of neural damage and over-sensitized neural responses (Dwyer and Leeper, 1978;Pall, 2016). EMF can induce changes in calcium signaling cascades (Liboff, 1984;Blackman et al., 1985;Smith et al., 1987;Pall, 2013Pall, , 2015, significant activation of free radical processes and overproduction of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in living cells (Irmak et al., 2002;Zmyslony et al., 2004;Friedman et al., 2007;Blank and Goodman, 2009;De Iuliis et al., 2009;Georgiou, 2010;Avci et al., 2012;Jing et al., 2012;Bilgici et al., 2013;Burlaka et al., 2013) as well as altered neurological and cognitive functions (Frey, 1961;Thomas et al., 1986;Carrubba et al., 2007;Nittby et al., 2009;Xu et al., 2010;Molot, 2013;Yakymenko et al., 2016;Pall, 2016;Kim et al., 2017) and disruption of the blood-brain barrier (Salford et al., 2008;Nittby et al., 2009). Magnetite crystals absorbed from combustion air pollution could have an important role in brain effects of EMF (Maher et al., 2016). ...
    Article
    Electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS), known in the past as “Microwave syndrome”, is a clinical syndrome characterized by the presence of a wide spectrum of non-specific multiple organ symptoms, typically including central nervous system symptoms, that occur following the patient's acute or chronic exposure to electromagnetic fields in the environment or in occupational settings. Numerous studies have shown biological effects at the cellular level of electromagnetic fields (EMF) at magnetic (ELF) and radio-frequency (RF) frequencies in extremely low intensities. Many of the mechanisms described for Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) apply with modification to EHS. Repeated exposures result in sensitization and consequent enhancement of response. Many hypersensitive patients appear to have impaired detoxification systems that become overloaded by excessive oxidative stress. EMF can induce changes in calcium signaling cascades, significant activation of free radical processes and overproduction of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in living cells as well as altered neurological and cognitive functions and disruption of the blood-brain barrier. Magnetite crystals absorbed from combustion air pollution could have an important role in brain effects of EMF. Autonomic nervous system effects of EMF could also be expressed as symptoms in the cardiovascular system. Other common effects of EMF include effects on skin, microvasculature, immune and hematologic systems. It is concluded that the mechanisms underlying the symptoms of EHS are biologically plausible and that many organic physiologic responses occur following EMF exposure. Patients can have neurologic, neuro-hormonal and neuro-psychiatric symptoms following exposure to EMF as a consequence of neural damage and over-sensitized neural responses. More relevant diagnostic tests for EHS should be developed. Exposure limits should be lowered to safeguard against biologic effects of EMF. Spread of local and global wireless networks should be decreased, and safer wired networks should be used instead of wireless, to protect susceptible members of the public. Public places should be made accessible for electrohypersensitive individuals.
  • ... The 5G spectrum will cover radio frequencies from < 1 GHz to microwave frequencies up 300 GHz; part of these frequencies (< 5 GHz) overlap with existing 4G LTE and WiFi spectrums. Low band a1111111111 a1111111111 a1111111111 a1111111111 a1111111111 spectrums (<1 GHz) will enable connection to remote areas, whereas mid-band (1)(2)(3)(4)(5)(6) and the spectrum range >24 GHz will ensure better and wider connectivity to individual devices as well as device-to-device connectivity through the Internet of Things (IoT) [1,2]. As we move to higher spectrum ranges transmitted among our devices, the potential for health effects from higher radiofrequency radiation (RFR) should be examined. ...
    ... Although no part of the radio or microwave range constitutes ionizing radiation, several studies have associated RFR exposures with adverse health effects such as neuropsychiatric problems, carcinogenicity, neurodegenerative diseases, genotoxicity, lowered sperm quality and impacts on the circulatory, immune, endocrine and skeletal systems [3][4][5][6]. Some of these effects are almost certainly thermal in origin, resulting from tissue absorption of higher energy photons with increasing frequency [5,7]. ...
    ... The possibility remains that developmental RFR exposures may produce molecular or later life stage effects not evaluated in this initial study. For example, the subtle startle response effect could be an early indicator of adult neuropsychiatric outcomes, like those detected in previous RFR studies [6]; though we note that published data suggesting non-thermal RFR effects associated with the low Hz (extreme low frequency; ELF) range is generally more conclusive than the published data suggesting non-thermal effects from exposure to the high MHz-low GHz range. It is also possible that 3.5 GHz RFR at a SAR of 8.27 W/Kg simply does not interact with and perturb normal vertebrate development. ...
    Article
    Full-text available
    The rapid deployment of 5G spectrum by the telecommunication industry is intended to promote better connectivity and data integration among various industries. However, since exposures to radio frequency radiations (RFR) >2.4 GHz are still uncommon, concerns about their potential health impacts are ongoing. In this study, we used the embryonic zebrafish model to assess the impacts of a 3.5 GHz RFR on biology- a frequency typically used by 5G-enabled cell phones and lies within the 4G and 5G bandwidth. We established a plate-based exposure setup for RFRs, exposed developing zebrafish to 3.5 GHz RFR, specific absorption rate (SAR) ≈ 8.27 W/Kg from 6 h post fertilization (hpf) to 48 hpf, and measured a battery of morphological and behavioral endpoints at 120 hpf. Our results revealed no significant impacts on mortality, morphology or photomotor response and a modest inhibition of startle response suggesting some levels of sensorimotor disruptions. This suggests that the cell phone radiations at low GHz-level frequencies are likely benign, with subtle sensorimotor effects. Through this assessment, we have established a robust setup for zebrafish RFR exposures readily amenable to testing various powers and frequencies. Future developmental exposure studies in zebrafish will evaluate a wider portion of the radio frequency spectrum to discover the bioactive regions, the potential molecular targets of RFR and the potential long-term effects on adult behavior.
  • ... Despite a decades-old call by a panel convened by the National Institute for Mental Health to study the link between environmental pollution and mental health, this area of research has received limited attention [24]. Over the last decade, several reviews of epidemiologic literature have addressed various aspects of individual toxicant exposures in relation to mental health outcomes as systematic [25][26][27][28][29][30][31][32][33], scoping [34][35][36], and narrative reviews [37][38][39][40][41][42][43][44]. However, some of these reviews only focused on individual metals [30,31,44,45], certain components of air pollution like ozone [28] or particulate matter [46], and particular pesticides like organophosphate (OP) pesticides [33,37]. ...
    Article
    Purpose of review: Despite a call for better understanding of the role of environmental pollutant influences on mental health and the tremendous public health burden of mental health, this issue receives far less attention than many other effects of pollutants. Here we summarize the body of literature on non-occupational environmental pollutant exposures and adult depression, anxiety, and suicide-in PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, and PsychINFO through the end of year 2018. Recent findings: One hundred twelve articles met our criteria for further review. Of these, we found 88 articles on depression, 33 on anxiety, and 22 on suicide (31 articles covered multiple outcomes). The earliest article was published in 1976, and the most frequent exposure of interest was air pollution (n = 33), followed by secondhand smoke (n = 20), metals (n = 18), noise (n = 17), and pesticides (n = 10). Other exposures studied less frequently included radiation, magnetic fields, persistent organic pollutants (POPs), volatile organic compounds, solvents, and reactive sulfur compounds. The current literature, although limited, clearly suggests many kinds of environmental exposures may be risk factors for depression, anxiety, and suicide. For several pollutants, important limitations exist with many of the studies. Gaps in the body of research include a need for more longitudinal, life-course studies, studies that can measure cumulative exposures as well as shorter-term exposures, studies that reduce the possibility of reverse causation, and mechanistic studies focused on neurotoxic exposures.
  • ... EMF can induce changes in calcium signaling cascades, 5 significant activation of free radical processes and overproduction of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in living cells 6 7 as well as altered neurological and cognitive functions 8 and disruption of the blood-brain barrier. 9 Many hypersensitive patients appear to have impaired detoxification systems that become overloaded by excessive oxidative stress. ...
    Presentation
    Full-text available
    Numerous studies have shown biological effects at the cellular level of electromagnetic fields (EMF) at magnetic (ELF) and radio-frequency (RF) frequencies in extremely low intensities. Many of the mechanisms described for Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) apply with modification to Electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS), known in the past as "Microwave syndrome" - a clinical syndrome characterized by the presence of a wide spectrum of nonspecific multiple organ symptoms, typically including central nervous system symptoms. Repeated exposures result in sensitization and consequent enhancement of response. EMF can induce changes in calcium signaling cascades, significant activation of free radical processes and overproduction of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in living cells as well as altered neurological and cognitive functions 8 and disruption of the blood-brain barrier. Many hypersensitive patients appear to have impaired detoxification systems that become overloaded by excessive oxidative stress. Studies in humans demonstrate acute exposure to non-thermal levels of EMF affects brain metabolism, brain electric function, demyelination, effects on the immune system, skin, microvasculature, and hematologic systems. Autonomic nervous system effects of EMF could also be expressed as symptoms in the cardiovascular system. Magnetite crystals absorbed from combustion air pollution could have a role in brain effects of EMF. At the Electromagnetic Radiation research clinic, patients presented at various stages of EHS (acute, mild chronic). 9M, 10F, ages 9-75 (median 44). Mostly neurologic symptoms: headache (89%), “brain fog” (74%) – concentration/ short-term memory difficulties, forgetting words/ places; sleep difficulties (68%), severe anxiety (89%), fatigue/weakness (89%), nausea (26%), dizziness (37%), other neurologic symptoms including syncope (84%). 2(10.5%) patients developed absence-like "blackouts". Earache/tinnitus (32%), muscle tingling/ twitching (47%), abdominal cramps (32%), heightened sensitivity to noise/ light (47%). 4(21%) patients reported changes in electrical conductance. Other symptoms within minutes of exposure: palpitations (42%), "chest tightness" (58%), shortness of breath (21%), joint/ tendon/ muscle pain (58%), skin sensations/ rash (68%). 5(26%) patients reported "internal burning" attacks. 5(26%) patients co-diagnosed fibromyalgia. Long-term: hand/leg dysfunction (42%), edema (21%), immune problems (47%), lymph node swelling (16%). All patients reduced/ avoided exposure. 15(79%) patients took long sick leave from work. 13(68%) quit workplaces. 6(32%) of the workplaces accommodated. 37% of the patients moved house to reduce EMR exposure. Both the new (G5) and the existing technology (G3-G4) have an effect on human and wildlife population. Adding millions of radiation sources has a potentially harmful effect on climate change (multiple energy sources required for all radiation sources and wireless devices; heating effect of microwave antennas on water molecules in the environment). Economic evaluation is needed since chronic exposure to antennas near citizens' homes would raise the odds of more people becoming electrohypersensive, and leaving their workplace or home to avoid exposure.
  • ... There is a far-reaching history of research on the health effects of wireless radiation (Belpomme et al. 2018;Desai et al. 2009;Di Ciaula 2018;Doyon & Johansson 2017;Havas 2017;Kaplan et al. 2016;Kostoff & Lau 2013, 2017Lerchl et al. 2015;Levitt & Lai 2010;Miller et al. 2019;Pall 2016Pall , 2018Panagopoulos 2019;Panagopoulos et al. 2015;Russell 2018;Sage & Burgio 2018;Van Rongen et al. 2009;Yakymenko et al. 2016). Kostoff et al. (2020) summarize these findings reporting that exposure to radio frequency radiation below the American Federal Communications Commission guidelines can result in the genesis of several types of cancer, DNA and chromatin damage and/or dysfunction, mutagenesis, teratogenesis, neurodegenerative and neurocognitive disorders, reproductive problems, excessive reactive oxygen species/oxidative stress, inflammation, apoptosis, blood-brain barrier disruption, pineal gland/melatonin production dysfunction, sleep disturbance, headache, irritability, fatigue, concentration difficulties, depression, dizziness, tinnitus, burning and flushed skin, digestive disturbance, tremor, cardiac irregularities, and general dysfunction of the neural, circulatory, immune, endocrine, and skeletal systems. ...
    Preprint
    Full-text available
    A history of research on radio frequency radiation, and recent scant research on the newly emerging 5G suggests that the expansion of 5G poses a possible public health issue. The media play a decisive role in how the public responds to a public health issue, and what it knows about it. However, there is an increasing amount of misinformation on health topics in the media. The present case study investigated whether the Croatian news website Index.hr manipulates information on the health effects of 5G. We constructed one experimental corpus, containing all articles by Index.hr on health effects of 5G, and two control corpora, one with articles about health effects of 5G published by reliable mainstream media, and one with articles about science (but not 5G) published by Index.hr. We assessed the presence of references, scientific references, misinformation, opinion expression, and opinion subjectivity. Compared to Index.hr science articles, Index.hr 5G articles were 10.78 times likelier to contain no references, 4.20 times likelier to contain no scientific references, 10.78 times likelier to contain misinformation, 288.14 times likelier to express the author’s opinion on the issue, and 16.95 times likelier to express a subjective opinion. The simultaneous increase in misinformation and reduction in referencing suggests that misinformation doesn’t stem from other unreliable sources of information, but that the misinformation is produced within Index.hr. An increase in opinion expression, and opinion subjectivity in the context of misinformation suggests that Index.hr is manipulating the information on health effects of 5G. This is corroborated by the fact that the two types of misinformation identified in the present study included erroneous referencing, and denial of the existence of scientific literature on the topic. Furthermore, all articles on both 5G, and scientific topics were written by different authors, indicating that this phenomenon is systematic within Index.hr. We conclude that our data point to a manipulation of information on health effects of 5G by Index.hr. Still, the small sample size warrants a degree of caution.
  • ... Nevertheless, several studies have reported that EMF could affect brain function leading to mental and various types of neurological disorders (Pall, 2016;Terzi, Ozberk, Deniz, & Kaplan, 2016;Wyszkowska, Jankowska, & Gas, 2019). Moreover, in our previous studies, we have shown the deleterious effects of exposure to 900 MHz radiofrequency waves (RFW) on brain function including memory impairment and oxidative damage (Akbari, Jelodar, & Nazifi, 2014;Azimzadeh et al., 2018). ...
    Article
    Advances in telecommunication and their broad usage in the community have become a great concern from the health aspect. The object of the present study was to examine the effects of exposure to 900 MHz RFW on brain Iron (Fe), Copper (Cu), Zinc (Zn) and Manganese (Mn) concentration, and the protective role of pre‐treatment of vitamin E on mentioned elements homoeostasis. Twenty adult male Sprague–Dawley rats (200 ± 20 g) randomly were divided into four groups. Control group (without any exposure, received distilled water), treatment control group (orally received 250 mg/kg BW/d vitamin E), treatment group (received 250 mg/kg BW/d vitamin E and exposed to 900 MHz RFW) and sham‐exposed group (exposed to 900 MHz RFW). Animals (with freely moving in the cage) were exposed to RFW for 30 consecutive days (4 hr/day). The levels of the above mentioned elements in the brain tissue were determined on the last day using atomic absorption spectrophotometry. Exposure to 900 MHz RFW induced a significant increase in the Fe, Cu, Mn levels and Cu/Zn ratio accompanied by a significant decrease in Zn level in the sham‐exposed group compare to control group. Vitamin E pre‐treatment improved the level of Fe, Cu, Mn and Cu/Zn ratio, except in the Zn concentration. Exposure to 900 MHz RFW caused disrupted trace elements homoeostasis in the brain tissue and administration of vitamin E as an antioxidant and neuroprotective agent improved the situation.
  • Book
    Full-text available
    Effects [of exposure to 5G] include increased cancer risk, cellular stress, increase in harm- ful free radicals, genetic damages, structural and functional changes of the reproductive systems, learning and memory deficits, neu- rological disorders, and negative impacts on general well-being in humans. Living organisms at all levels, the scientists added, are affected by exposure to electro- magnetic fields produced by smartphone devices and transmission towers. Damage is not limited to humans as there is growing evidence of harmful effects in both plant and animal life.
  • Chapter
    Lifestyle change is the fundamental intervention of functional medicine. In order to implement lifestyle change, the skilled IFMNT practitioner will be able to reach beyond the comprehensive nutritional assessment. They will be able to develop the skills and tools for efficiently, compassionately, and thoroughly assessing the patterns of past, current, and ongoing stress and resilience; exercise and movement; sleep and restoration; and relationships and beliefs, understanding that these are the underlying mediators of ongoing functional physiologic disturbances. A comprehensive understanding of the whole person in the context of their life and ongoing challenges provides opportunities for appropriate support, education, and leveraging change and transformation. Recommended resources, questionnaires, and implementation skills are discussed.
Literature Review
  • Article
    There have been numerous recent reports of headaches occurring in association with the use of hand-held cellular telephones. Are these reported headaches real? Are they due to emissions from telephones? There is reason to believe that the answer is "yes" to both questions. There are several lines of evidence to support this conclusion. First, headaches as a consequence of exposure to low intensity microwaves were reported in the literature 30 years ago. These were observed during the course of microwave hearing research before there were cellular telephones. Second, the blood-brain barrier appears to be involved in headaches, and low intensity microwave energy exposure affects the barrier. Third, the dopamine-opiate systems of the brain appear to be involved in headaches, and low intensity electromagnetic energy exposure affects those systems. In all three lines of research, the microwave energy used was approximately the same-in frequencies, modulations, and incident energies-as those emitted by present day cellular telephones. Could the current reports of headaches be the canary in the coal mine, warning of biologically significant effects?
  • Article
    Full-text available
    This review considers a paradigm shift on microwave electromagnetic field (EMF) action from only thermal effects to action via voltage-gated calcium channel (VGCC) activation. Microwave/lower frequency EMFs were shown in two dozen studies to act via VGCC activation because all effects studied were blocked by calcium channel blockers. This mode of action was further supported by hundreds of studies showing microwave changes in calcium fluxes and intracellular calcium [Ca2+]i signaling. The biophysical properties of VGCCs/similar channels make them particularly sensitive to low intensity, non-thermal EMF exposures. Non-thermal studies have shown that in most cases pulsed fields are more active than are non-pulsed fields and that exposures within certain intensity windows have much large biological effects than do either lower or higher intensity exposures; these are both consistent with a VGCC role but inconsistent with only a heating/thermal role. Downstream effects of VGCC activation include calcium signaling, elevated nitric oxide (NO), NO signaling, peroxynitrite, free radical formation, and oxidative stress. Downstream effects explain repeatedly reported biological responses to non-thermal exposures: oxidative stress; single and double strand breaks in cellular DNA; cancer; male and female infertility; lowered melatonin/sleep disruption; cardiac changes including tachycardia, arrhythmia, and sudden cardiac death; diverse neuropsychiatric effects including depression; and therapeutic effects. Non-VGCC non-thermal mechanisms may occur, but none have been shown to have effects in mammals. Biologically relevant safety standards can be developed through studies of cell lines/cell cultures with high levels of different VGCCs, measuring their responses to different EMF exposures. The 2014 Canadian Report by a panel of experts only recognizes thermal effects regarding safety standards for non-ionizing radiation exposures. Its position is therefore contradicted by each of the observations above. The Report is assessed here in several ways including through Karl Popper's assessment of strength of evidence. Popper argues that the strongest type of evidence is evidence that falsifies a theory; second strongest is a test of "risky prediction"; the weakest confirms a prediction that the theory could be correct but in no way rules out alternative theories. All of the evidence supporting the Report's conclusion that only thermal effects need be considered are of the weakest type, confirming prediction but not ruling out alternatives. In contrast, there are thousands of studies apparently falsifying their position. The Report argues that there are no biophysically viable mechanisms for non-thermal effects (shown to be false, see above). It claims that there are many "inconsistencies" in the literature causing them to throw out large numbers of studies; however, the one area where it apparently documents this claim, that of genotoxicity, shows no inconsistencies; rather it shows that various cell types, fields and end points produce different responses, as should be expected. The Report claims that cataract formation is produced by thermal effects but ignores studies falsifying this claim and also studies showing [Ca2+]i and VGCC roles. It is time for a paradigm shift away from only thermal effects toward VGCC activation and consequent downstream effects.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    In this study, we investigated the biological effects of RF (Radio Frequency) and microwave in terms of neurological and biochemical findings, and CD4/CD8 ratio in people that work at broadcasting and television transmitter stations. The study was carried out on 26 people from 20 to 49 years of age, occupationally exposed to nonionizing radiation. First we gave out a questionnaire consisting of 12 questions to everybody under investigation. Secondly, we determined the levels of ALT, AST, LDH, ALP, CK, phosphorus, total protein, albumin cholesterol, uric acid, urea, creatinin, Na, K, and NSE (Neuron Specific Enolase), and also CD4/CD8, albumin/globulin ratios and percentage of serum proteins. The results obtained in this study were statistically compared to a control group.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    The psychological signs of occupationally exposure to radio frequency and microwave radiation was investigated on 25 voluntary persons. 15 of the persons under investigation have been working at medium wave radio broadcasting transmitter station (1062 kHz) and the others at television transmitter. The psychologic signs were rated by means of Turkish translation of the SCL-90-R. The subjects exhibited high scores on the subscales of somatization, obsession-compulsion, paranoid states and sleeping disturbances.