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28/10/2008 - October 2008 - Scientific Update

The following is a quick summary of another eight papers that have come out recently related to effects of electromagnetic radiation.


1. N Huang TQ et al, (September 2008) Molecular responses of Jurkat T-cells to 1763 MHz radiofrequency radiation, Int J Radiat Biol. 2008 Sep;84(9):734-41 [View Author's abstract conclusions] [View on Pubmed]

Researchers from Korea investigated the affect of 1800 MHz (at 10 W/kg SAR) on immune cells and concluded that "These results indicate that the alterations in cell proliferation, cell cycle progression, DNA integrity or global gene expression was not detected upon 1763 MHz RF radiation under 10 W/kg SAR for 24 h to Jurkat T cells". Interestingly, they found small effects on both genetic expression and regulation, both in the direction that would suggest possible small effects from RF exposure. We would be interested if any cellular biologists out there could explain what the affects might have, and on what systems, if any.

2. P Mathur R, (2008) Effect of chronic intermittent exposure to AM radiofrequency field on responses to various types of noxious stimuli in growing rats, Electromagn Biol Med. 2008;27(3):266-76 [View Author's abstract conclusions] [View on Pubmed]

Rats exposed to mobile phone levels of RF (SAR = 0.4 W/kg) for 2 hours per day over 45 days found that the exposure had a number of statistically significant effects on the way they responded to pain-inducing stimuli. This is, as far as we are aware, the first study looking at secondary effects to response times on other environmental stimuli, but suggests that neurological responses are being affected. If true, and present in humans, this could have severe implications on Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity, such as exposure to EMFs in itself being insufficient to cause adverse health effects, but it may cause responses to other environmental stimuli to become more severe.

3. N Hoyto A et al, (September 2008) Radiofrequency radiation does not significantly affect ornithine decarboxylase activity, proliferation, or caspase-3 activity of fibroblasts in different physiological conditions, Int J Radiat Biol. 2008 Sep;84(9):727-33 [View Author's abstract conclusions] [View on Pubmed]

As a follow up to their earlier study, Finnish researchers have been investigating ODC activity in a number of cell types. This research looked at Fibroblasts (responsible for connective tissues and tissue healing) and found that whilst a single statistically significant difference was observed at one endpoint, there were no consistent effects from exposure to radiofrequency radiation. Their earlier study found significant effects in astrocytes (glial cells involved in, amongst other things, the function of the blood brain barrier), and this latest paper does not affect those results.

4. P Eberhardt JL et al, (2008) Blood-brain barrier permeability and nerve cell damage in rat brain 14 and 28 days after exposure to microwaves from GSM mobile phones, Electromagn Biol Med. 2008;27(3):215-29 [View Author's abstract conclusions] [View on Pubmed]

Whilst on the subject of blood brain barrier effects, a Swedish team have found statistically significant (P < 0.02) effects of neuronal damage in post-mortally examined rats having been exposed to extremely low levels of RF radiation (0.12 mW/kg up to 120 mW/kg). This is a similar exposure to those chronically exposed to Mobile Phone base stations (typically 1-3 mW/kg at a distance of 25m), and is concerning. Due to the examination requiring the death of the subject, it is not possible to analyse humans for an effect in the same manner. This supports a number of earlier papers by the same authors on cellular and neurological effects[Salford 2003, Belyaev 2005, Markova 2005, Belyaev 2006, Belyaev 2008].

5. P Franzellitti S et al, (October 2008) HSP70 Expression in Human Trophoblast Cells Exposed to Different 1.8 GHz Mobile Phone Signals, Rad. Res. 2008 Oct;170(4): 488-497 [View Author's abstract conclusions]

A paper from Italy has found strong but inconsistent effects on 1 (of 4 tested) gene transcript in human trophoblasts from GSM (but not CW) RF radiation exposure. Oddly, GSM-217 enhanced levels of protein expression and GSM-talk reduced levels of protein expressions. They summarise that the effects may not be direct effects but may be secondary effects caused by more subtle alterations not detected at the protein level. It is not clear what impact this has on the existing literature on HSP effects from radiofrequency EMF exposure.


6. P Kim YW et al, (October 2008) Effects of 60 Hz 14 microT magnetic field on the apoptosis of testicular germ cell in mice, Bioelectromagnetics. 2008 Oct 6. [Epub ahead of print] [View Author's abstract conclusions] [View on Pubmed]

A team of researchers from Hallym university in Chuncheon, Korea, has found strongly significant (P < 0.001) increases in cell apoptosis in mouse testicular germ cells from exposure to 14 µT 60 Hz magnetic fields. This is a long way above typical chronic background exposure, but is also considerably below ICNIRP guidance levels. Much of the work evaluating the effect of electromagnetic radiation on fertility has been on radiofrequency radiation and mobile telephony[Fejes 2005, Erogul 2006, Agarwal 2008, Baste 2008, Agarwal Sept 2008]. This latest research suggests that ELF exposure may also have an effect on fertility.

7. N Bernard N et al, (October 2008) Assessing the Potential Leukemogenic Effects of 50 Hz and their Harmonics Using an Animal Leukemia Model, J Radiat Res (Tokyo). 2008 Oct 4. [Epub ahead of print] [View Author's abstract conclusions] [View on Pubmed]

A French laboratory team have investigated the leukaemogenic effects of 50 Hz magnetic fields by exposing a rat model (induced with B acute lymphoblastic leukaemia) to 100 µT magnetic fields. The development and proliferation of the leukaemia was analysed, and not found to be affected by the electromagnetic field exposure. It is hard to understand why such high field levels were used when the public concern is around 0.4 µT levels. Whilst we do not understand the mechanism involved (if any), it is inappropriate to assume that "if 0.4 µT is leukaemogenic, 100 µT will be to". It is unclear whether this paper contributes much to the existing literature.

8. - Schuz J, Ahlbom A, (October 2008) Exposure to electromagnetic fields and the risk of childhood leukaemia: a review, Radiat Prot Dosimetry. 2008 Oct 16. [Epub ahead of print] [View Author's abstract conclusions] [View on Pubmed]

Profs Joachim Schuz and Anders Ahlbom have published a review assessing the association between electromagnetic fields and an increase in risk of childhood leukaemia. Acknowledging the consistent findings of an increased risk in the epidemiological literature, the authors caveat the association by stating that "No mechanism to explain this finding has been established and no support for a causal link emerged from experimental studies".