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16/04/2008 - Electrical Sensitive objectively different to controls

A team of researchers from Germany have just published a study showing statistically significant evidence that "electrically sensitive" participants demonstrate cognitive and neurobiological alterations pointing to a higher genuine individual vulnerability than their matched controls.

Three new papers have come out in the last few months looking at electrical sensitivity, of which two have concluded that there are definite signs of a difference between "sensitive" and "non-sensitive" participants.

The main study featured in this story[1] looked at 89 EHS and 107 age-gender matched controls. Perception thresholds following single transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) pulses to the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex were determined using a standardized blinded measurement protocol. Cortical excitability parameters were measured by TMS.

According to the study abstract, both discrimination ability and typical EMF-related symptoms were significantly different in the EHS participants (when compared to their controls), with the authors concluding that "these results demonstrate significant cognitive and neurobiological alterations pointing to a higher genuine individual vulnerability of electromagnetic hypersensitive patients".

Powerwatch CommentsThis is a very useful study, backing up their pilot study of the previous year[2], and giving an objective way of analysing enhanced sensitivity in EHS sufferers. It also supports work done the previous month in Finland[3] which found that radiofrequency electromagnetic fields at typical phone SAR levels can significantly affect certain proteins that may highlight a specific difference between sensitive and control participants: "This is the first study showing that molecular level changes might take place in human volunteers in response to exposure to RF-EMF. Our study confirms that proteomics screening approach can identify protein targets of RF-EMF in human volunteers."

Interestingly, more recent work from Essex University (of which we believe their last work was well carried out but very poorly analysed, has again been published failing to find any consistent support for subjective EHS responses in another double blind study[4].


[1] Landgrebe M et al, (March 2008) Cognitive and neurobiological alterations in electromagnetic hypersensitive patients: results of a case-control study, Psychol Med. 2008 Mar 26;:1-11 [Epub ahead of print] [View Abstract]

[2] Landgrebe M et al, (March 2007) Altered cortical excitability in subjectively electrosensitive patients: results of a pilot study, J Psychosom Res. 2007 Mar;62(3):283-8 [View Abstract]

[3] Karinen A et al, (February 2008) Mobile phone radiation might alter protein expression in human skin, BMC Genomics. 2008 Feb 11;9:77 [View Abstract]

[4] Cinel C et al, (April 2008) Exposure to mobile phone electromagnetic fields and subjective symptoms: a double-blind study, Psychosom Med. 2008 Apr;70(3):345-8. Epub 2008 Mar 31 [View Abstract]

Also in the news

France National Library gives up WiFi

The French National Library has placed a moratorium on the installation of a local WiFi hotspot, citing both reliability and security issues (preferring instead to have wired Ethernet) and precautionary concern for the staff of the library.

We go in depth into both of these issues on our WiFi page. It is good to see this decision being made with support from the science, with both references to the BioInitiative report and also appropriate individual papers.


Original Article on Next-Up - View original article on Next-Up
BioInitiative Report - View BioInitiative website
Lee S et al, 2005 - Lee S et al, (August 2005) 2.45 GHz radiofrequency fields alter gene expression in cultured human cells, FEBS Lett. 2005 Aug 29;579(21):4829-36

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