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02/12/2014 - December 2014 - Science Update

The following is a quick summary of another twenty papers that have come out over the last few months related to effects of electromagnetic radiation. All papers with a green background are highlighted as being particularly important or relevant.

Please note: after extensive scientific discussions we have significantly modified our news article dated 31st October 2014 regarding a recent scientific paper on childhood cancer and corona ions from powerlines.

1. P Reale M et al, (August 2014) Neuronal cellular responses to extremely low frequency electromagnetic field exposure: implications regarding oxidative stress and neurodegeneration, PLoS One. 2014 Aug 15;9(8):e104973. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0104973. eCollection 2014 [View Author's abstract conclusions] [View on Pubmed]

Neurodegenerative diseases comprise both hereditary and sporadic conditions characterized by an identifying progressive nervous system dysfunction and distinctive neuopathophysiology. The majority are of non-familial etiology and hence environmental factors and lifestyle play key roles in their pathogenesis. The extensive use of and ever increasing worldwide demand for electricity has stimulated societal and scientific interest on the environmental exposure to low frequency electromagnetic fields (EMFs) on human health. Epidemiological studies suggest a positive association between 50/60-Hz power transmission fields and leukemia or lymphoma development. Consequent to the association between EMFs and induction of oxidative stress, concerns relating to development of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer disease (AD), have been voiced as the brain consumes the greatest fraction of oxygen and is particularly vulnerable to oxidative stress. Exposure to extremely low frequency (ELF)-EMFs are reported to alter animal behavior and modulate biological variables, including gene expression, regulation of cell survival, promotion of cellular differentiation, and changes in cerebral blood flow in aged AD transgenic mice. Alterations in inflammatory responses have also been reported, but how these actions impact human health remains unknown. We hence evaluated the effects of an electromagnetic wave (magnetic field intensity 1 mT; frequency, 50-Hz) on a well-characterized immortalized neuronal cell model, human SH-SY5Y cells. ELF-EMF exposure elevated the expession of NOS and O2(-), which were countered by compensatory changes in antioxidant catylase (CAT) activity and enzymatic kinetic parameters related to CYP-450 and CAT activity. Actions of ELF-EMFs on cytokine gene expression were additionally evaluated and found rapidly modified. Confronted with co-exposure to H2O2-induced oxidative stress, ELF-EMF proved not as well counteracted and resulted in a decline in CAT activity and a rise in O2(-) levels. Together these studies support the further evaluation of ELF-EMF exposure in cellular and in vivo preclinical models to define mechanisms potentially impacted in humans.

Powerwatch CommentsAlthough carried out at a high field of 1 mT (1000 μT), this work shows important and concerning changes - even after one hour of exposure. Inducible Nitric Oxide Synthase (iNOS) levels are statistically doubled which will lead to more oxidative stress on cells. Transforming growth factor beta (TGFβ) is increased and interleukin 18 (IL18) levels increase, strongly suggesting an inflammatory response to the ELF EMF exposure. The 1 mT level is only twice the ICNIRP occupational maximum guidance level and 5 time the general public level. Safety margins for chemical hazards are typically at least 1000-fold lower than where biological effects are seen - that would suggest a maxmimum background level of 1 μT or less (as in Switzerland) instead of the 200 μT current ICNIRP public guidance level. This paper certainly shows the need for funding further good investigative work.

2. N Zhang Y et al, (August 2014) Short term effects of extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields exposure on Alzheimer's disease in rats, Int J Radiat Biol. 2014 Aug 13:1-35. [Epub ahead of print] [View Author's abstract conclusions] [View on Pubmed]

With the development and widespread use of electromagnetic field (EMF) technology, recent studies are focusing on the effects of EMF on human health. Recently, extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields (ELF-EMF) have been studied with great interest due to their possible effects on Alzheimer's disease (AD). The objective of the present study was to investigate the interaction between ELF-EMF exposure and memory impairment in rats. Materials and methods: Twenty healthy male Sprague Dawley (SD) rats were randomly divided into two groups (n=10). Animals were exposed to 100 µT/50Hz ELF-EMF or subjected to sham exposure when 12 weeks old. After 12 weeks, Morris water maze (MWM) was used to test the changes in cognitive and memory ability. Amyloid-beta (Aβ) content in cortex, hippocampus and plasma were measured by ELISA assays. The morphology of neuron was detected by HE staining. Results: After exposure, the body weight of rats showed no difference compared with control group. The application of ELF-EMF did not induce any cognitive and memory impairment compared with sham exposure group. The determination of Aβ showed no significant change between two groups. And there was no histological change in ELF-EMF exposure group. Conclusion: The present study indicated that short term exposure of 100 µT/50Hz ELF-EMF had no effects on cognition and memory of rats, and did not alter the expression of Aβ and the neuron morphology. However, more comprehensive studies are still required to elucidate the possible effects and underlying mechanisms of ELF-EMF exposure on living organisms.

3. P Marjanovic AM et al, (August 2014) Cell oxidation-reduction imbalance after modulated radiofrequency radiation, Electromagn Biol Med. 2014 Aug 13:1-6. [Epub ahead of print] [View Author's abstract conclusions] [View on Pubmed]

The aim of this study was to evaluate an influence of modulated radiofrequency field (RF) of 1800 MHz, strength of 30 V/m on oxidation-reduction processes within the cell. The assigned RF field was generated within Gigahertz Transversal Electromagnetic Mode cell equipped by signal generator, modulator, and amplifier. Cell line V79, was irradiated for 10, 30, and 60 min, specific absorption rate was calculated to be 1.6 W/kg. Cell metabolic activity and viability was determined by MTT assay. In order to define total protein content, colorimetric method was used. Concentration of oxidised proteins was evaluated by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) marked with fluorescent probe 2',7'-dichlorofluorescin diacetate were measured by means of plate reader device. In comparison with control cell samples, metabolic activity and total protein content in exposed cells did not differ significantly. Concentrations of carbonyl derivates, a product of protein oxidation, insignificantly but continuously increase with duration of exposure. In exposed samples, ROS level significantly (p < 0.05) increased after 10 min of exposure. Decrease in ROS level was observed after 30-min treatment indicating antioxidant defence mechanism activation. In conclusion, under the given laboratory conditions, modulated RF radiation might cause impairment in cell oxidation-reduction equilibrium within the growing cells.

Powerwatch CommentsThis paper gives potentially important pointers as to one way that lots of short term cell phone exposures with gaps between the (like in normal real-life use) caould seriously damage cell health and viability. Triggering elevated ROS levels after 10 minutes use and before cellular defense mechanisms become active.

4. P Chiu CT et al, (August 2014) Mobile phone use and health symptoms in children, J Formos Med Assoc. 2014 Aug 9. pii: S0929-6646(14)00207-1. doi: 10.1016/j.jfma.2014.07.002. [Epub ahead of print] [View Author's abstract conclusions] [View on Pubmed]

This study was designed to investigate the mobile phone (MP) use for talking in relation to health symptoms among 2042 children aged 11-15 years in Taiwan. A nationwide, cross-sectional study, using the computer assisted telephone interview (CATI) technique, was conducted in 2009 to collect information on children's utilization of MPs and the perceived health symptoms reported by their parents. The overall prevalence of MP use in the past month was estimated at 63.2% [95% confidence interval (CI) = 61.1-65.3%]. MP use was associated with a significantly increased adjusted odds ratio (AOR) for headaches and migraine (1.42, 95% CI = 1.12-1.81) and skin itches (1.84, 95% CI = 1.47-2.29). Children who regularly used MPs were also considered to have a health status worse than it was 1 year ago (β = 0.27, 95% CI = 0.17-0.37). Although the cross-sectional design precludes the causal inference for the observed association, our study tended to suggest a need for more cautious use of MPs in children, because children are expected to experience a longer lifetime exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) from MPs.

Powerwatch CommentsThis paper gives support to existing evidence that mobile phone use by children can cause adverse health effects, including headaches and migraines. The authors state that their results suggest that a more cautious approach to the use of mobile phones by children is advisable.

5. P Liu DD et al, (June 2014) Melatonin protects rat cerebellar granule cells against electromagnetic field-induced increases in Na(+) currents through intracellular Ca(2+) release, J Cell Mol Med. 2014 Jun;18(6):1060-70. doi: 10.1111/jcmm.12250. Epub 2014 Feb 18 [View Author's abstract conclusions] [View on Pubmed]

Although melatonin (MT) has been reported to protect cells against oxidative damage induced by electromagnetic radiation, few reports have addressed whether there are other protective mechanisms. Here, we investigated the effects of MT on extremely low-frequency electromagnetic field (ELF-EMF)-induced Nav activity in rat cerebellar granule cells (GCs). Exposing cerebellar GCs to ELF-EMF for 60 min. significantly increased the Nav current (INa ) densities by 62.5%. MT (5 µM) inhibited the ELF-EMF-induced INa increase. This inhibitory effect of MT is mimicked by an MT2 receptor agonist and was eliminated by an MT2 receptor antagonist. The Nav channel steady-state activation curve was significantly shifted towards hyperpolarization by ELF-EMF stimulation but remained unchanged by MT in cerebellar GC that were either exposed or not exposed to ELF-EMF. ELF-EMF exposure significantly increased the intracellular levels of phosphorylated PKA in cerebellar GCs, and both MT and IIK-7 did not reduce the ELF-EMF-induced increase in phosphorylated PKA. The inhibitory effects of MT on ELF-EMF-induced Nav activity was greatly reduced by the calmodulin inhibitor KN93. Calcium imaging showed that MT did not increase the basal intracellular Ca(2+) level, but it significantly elevated the intracellular Ca(2+) level evoked by the high K(+) stimulation in cerebellar GC that were either exposed or not exposed to ELF-EMF. In the presence of ruthenium red, a ryanodine-sensitive receptor blocker, the MT-induced increase in intracellular calcium levels was reduced. Our data show for the first time that MT protects against neuronal INa that result from ELF-EMF exposure through Ca(2+) influx-induced Ca(2+) release.

Powerwatch CommentsThis is a very important confirmation of how important a good melatonin diurnal cycle is to many protective cellular processes. Another reason to consider dark (WiFi free!) nights, bright mornings and possibly taking a bed-time melatonin supplement.

6. P Turner MC et al, (September 2014) Occupational exposure to extremely low-frequency magnetic fields and brain tumor risks in the INTEROCC study, Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2014 Sep;23(9):1863-72. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-14-0102. Epub 2014 Jun 16 [View Author's abstract conclusions] [View on Pubmed]

Occupational exposure to extremely low-frequency magnetic fields (ELF) is a suspected risk factor for brain tumors, however the literature is inconsistent. Few studies have assessed whether ELF in different time windows of exposure may be associated with specific histologic types of brain tumors. This study examines the association between ELF and brain tumors in the large-scale INTEROCC study.

Cases of adult primary glioma and meningioma were recruited in seven countries (Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Israel, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom) between 2000 and 2004. Estimates of mean workday ELF exposure based on a job exposure matrix were assigned. Estimates of cumulative exposure, average exposure, maximum exposure, and exposure duration were calculated for the lifetime, and 1-4, 5-9, and 10+ years before the diagnosis/reference date. There were 3,761 included brain tumor cases (1,939 glioma and 1,822 meningioma) and 5,404 population controls. There was no association between lifetime cumulative ELF exposure and glioma or meningioma risk. However, there were positive associations between cumulative ELF 1 to 4 years before the diagnosis/reference date and glioma [odds ratio (OR) = 90th percentile vs. < 25th percentile, 1.67; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.36-2.07; PLinear trend < 0.0001], and, somewhat weaker associations with meningioma (OR = 90th percentile vs. < 25th percentile, 1.23; 95% CI, 0.97-1.57; PLinear trend = 0.02). Results showed positive associations between ELF in the recent past and glioma. Occupational ELF exposure may play a role in the later stages (promotion and progression) of brain tumorigenesis.

Powerwatch CommentsThis important international occupational study reports a highly statistically significant confirmation of a association between recent cumulative ELF EMF (magnetic field) exposure and diagnosis of malignant glioma brain cancer (which is almost always fatal within a few years). As brain cancer usually has a long latency time between initiation and diagnosis, the study results point to ELF EMF being a promotional factor rather than the primary cause.

7. N van der Mark M et al, (June 2014) Extremely low-frequency magnetic field exposure, electrical shocks and risk of Parkinson's disease, Int Arch Occup Environ Health. 2014 Jun 18. [Epub ahead of print] [View Author's abstract conclusions] [View on Pubmed]

Previous studies did not provide strong evidence for an increased Parkinson's disease (PD) risk after exposure to extremely low-frequency magnetic fields (ELF-MF), but were limited in their scope to address other exposures related to the use of electricity such as electrical shocks. We evaluated the associations of PD with exposure to ELF-MF, electrical shocks and having worked in "electrical occupations". We conducted a hospital-based case-control study, including 444 PD patients and 876 age- and sex-matched controls. Occupational histories were collected in telephone interviews and were linked to job-exposure matrices on ELF-MF exposure and on electrical shocks. In addition, questions on use of household appliances involving ELF-MF exposure, experienced electrical shocks and potential confounders were asked. No association of PD risk with any of the evaluated exposures related to electricity was observed. We did, however, observe quite consistently reduced risk estimates across the majority of the exposure categories explored. Given the results of the previous studies and the absence of any postulated mechanism, this is unlikely to represent a true protective effect of ELF-MF or electrical shocks on the occurrence of PD. The results of this study suggest that no association exists between PD and exposure to ELF-MF, electrical shocks or having worked in "electrical occupations".

8. P Alsaeed I et al, (October 2014) Autism-relevant social abnormalities in mice exposed perinatally to extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields, Int J Dev Neurosci. 2014 Oct;37:58-64. doi: 10.1016/j.ijdevneu.2014.06.010. Epub 2014 Jun 23. [View Author's abstract conclusions] [View on Pubmed]

The incidence of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) has been rising, but the causes of ASD remain largely unidentified. Collective data have implicated the increased human exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF) in the increasing incidence of ASD. There are established biological effects of extremely low-frequency (ELF) EMF, but the relation to ASD is not investigated enough. In this study we examined the effects of perinatal exposure to ELF EMF on some ASD-relevant behavioral parameters in mice. The EMF was delivered via a Helmholtz coil pair. Male BALB/C mice were used and divided into exposed and control groups (n=8 and n=9, respectively). Tests were used to assess sociability, preference for social novelty, locomotion, anxiety, exploratory behavior, motor coordination, and olfaction. The examined mice were all males and exposed to EMF during the last week of gestation and for 7 days after delivery. The exposed mice demonstrated a lack of normal sociability and preference for social novelty while maintaining normal anxiety-like behavior, locomotion, motor coordination, and olfaction. Exposed mice also demonstrated decreased exploratory activity. We concluded that these results are supportive of the hypothesis of a causal link between exposure to ELF-EMF and ASD; however, replications of the study with further tests are recommended.

9. P Zhao G et al, (September 2014) Relationship between exposure to extremely low-frequency electromagnetic fields and breast cancer risk: a meta-analysis, Eur J Gynaecol Oncol. 2014;35(3):264-9 [View Author's abstract conclusions] [View on Pubmed]

The objective of this study was to comprehensively analyse the relationship between human exposure to extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields (ELF-EMFs) and breast cancer and to discuss the potential risk of ELF-EMFs to human breast cancer. Sixteen research reports of case-control studies which were published from 2000 to 2007 were collected. The fixed effect model (FEM) or the random effect model (REM) was chosen to calculate total ORs depending on the outcomes of the test of homogeneity (Q test): the subgroup was analyzed with the menopause and the non-menopause. Sixteen research outcome was ORDL = 1.10, 95% CI = (1.01, 1.20), the OR(MH) of the non-menopause status group was 1.25, 95% CI = (1.05, 1.49), the OR(MH) of the menopause status group was OR(MH) = 1.04, 95% CI = (0.93, 1.18). The authors found that ELF-EMFs may be increase the risk of human breast cancer. The women's exposure to ELF-EMFs may be the risk factor of breast cancer when they are non-menopausal.

10. P Lee SK et al, (September 2014) Extremely low frequency magnetic fields induce spermatogenic germ cell apoptosis: possible mechanism, Biomed Res Int. 2014;2014:567183. doi: 10.1155/2014/567183. Epub 2014 Jun 15 [View Author's abstract conclusions] [View on Pubmed]

The energy generated by an extremely low frequency electromagnetic field (ELF-EMF) is too weak to directly induce genotoxicity. However, it is reported that an extremely low frequency magnetic field (ELF-MF) is related to DNA strand breakage and apoptosis. The testes that conduct spermatogenesis through a dynamic cellular process involving meiosis and mitosis seem vulnerable to external stress such as heat, MF exposure, and chemical or physical agents. Nevertheless the results regarding adverse effects of ELF-EMF on human or animal reproductive functions are inconclusive. According to the guideline of the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP; 2010) for limiting exposure to time-varying MF (1 Hz to 100 kHz), overall conclusion of epidemiologic studies has not consistently shown an association between human adverse reproductive outcomes and maternal or paternal exposure to low frequency fields. In animal studies there is no compelling evidence of causal relationship between prenatal development and ELF-MF exposure. However there is increasing evidence that EL-EMF exposure is involved with germ cell apoptosis in testes. Biophysical mechanism by which ELF-MF induces germ cell apoptosis has not been established. This review proposes the possible mechanism of germ cell apoptosis in testes induced by ELF-MF.

11. P Li C et al, (July 2014) The extremely low-frequency magnetic field exposure differently affects the AMPAR and NMDAR subunit expressions in the hippocampus, entorhinal cortex and prefrontal cortex without effects on the rat spatial learning and memory, Environ Res. 2014 Jul 18;134C:74-80. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2014.06.025. [Epub ahead of print] [View Author's abstract conclusions] [View on Pubmed]

In the present study, we investigated the effects of chronic exposure (14 and 28 days) to a 50Hz, 0.5mT extremely low-frequency magnetic field (ELF-MF) on the NMDAR and AMPAR subunit expressions and rat spatial learning and memory. Using the Western blotting method, we found ELF-MF exposure specifically decreased the expressions of GluA2 in the EC post 28 day exposure and GluA3 of AMPAR subunits in the PFC after 14 day exposure, while it did not affect the AMPAR subunit expression in the hippocampus at both time points. As for NMDAR subunits, 14 day ELF-MF exposure significantly increased the levels of GluN2A and GluN2B in the hippocampus. Moreover, the levels of GluN1 and GluN2A were enhanced in the EC and PFC after two weeks of ELF-MF exposure. Interestingly, 28 day ELF-MF exposure induced a different expression pattern for NMDAR subunits. The increased GluN2A expression observed at 14 day post ELF-MF exposure was recovered after prolonged exposure in the hippocampus and PFC. In the EC, the increased expression of GluN1 achieved to control level and, specifically, a decrease in GluN2A level was observed. Surprisingly, neither 14 nor 28 day ELF-MF did affect the rat spatial reference memory as assessed by water maze. These results indicate that the dynamic and brain-region specific changes in ionotropic glutamate receptor expression induced by ELF-MF are insufficient to influence the rat spatial learning ability.

12. N de Groot MW et al, (September 2014) Assessment of the neurotoxic potential of exposure to 50Hz extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields (ELF-EMF) in naive and chemically stressed PC12 cells, Neurotoxicology. 2014 Sep;44:358-64. doi: 10.1016/j.neuro.2014.07.009. Epub 2014 Aug 8 [View Author's abstract conclusions] [View on Pubmed]

Increasing exposure to extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields (ELF-EMF), generated by power lines and electric appliances, raises concern about potential adverse health effects of ELF-EMF. The central nervous system is expected to be particularly vulnerable to ELF-EMF as its function strongly depends on electrical excitability. We therefore investigated effects of acute (30min) and sub-chronic (48h) exposure to 50Hz ELF-EMF on naïve and chemically stressed pheochromocytoma (PC12) cells. The latter have higher levels of iron and/or reactive oxygen species (ROS) and display increased vulnerability to environmental insults. Effects of ELF-EMF on Ca(2+)-homeostasis, ROS production and membrane integrity were assessed using Fura-2 single cell fluorescence microscopy, H2-DCFDA and CFDA assays, respectively. Our data demonstrate that acute exposure of naïve PC12 cells to 50Hz ELF-EMF up to 1000µT fails to affect basal or depolarization-evoked [Ca(2+)]i. Moreover, sub-chronic ELF-EMF exposure up to 1000µT has no consistent effects on Ca(2+)-homeostasis in naïve PC12 cells and does not affect ROS production and membrane integrity. Notably, in chemically stressed PC12 cells both acute and sub-chronic ELF-EMF exposure also failed to exert consistent effects on Ca(2+)-homeostasis, ROS production and membrane integrity. Our combined findings thus indicate that exposure to 50Hz ELF-EMF up to 1000µT, i.e. 10,000 times above background exposure, does not induce neurotoxic effects in vitro, neither in naïve nor in chemically stressed PC12 cells. Though our data require confirmation, e.g. in developing neuronal cells in vitro or (developing) animals, it appears that the neurotoxic risk of ELF-EMF exposure is limited.

13. N Sorahan T, Mohammed N, (September 2014) Neurodegenerative disease and magnetic field exposure in UK electricity supply workers, Occup Med (Lond). 2014 Sep;64(6):454-60. doi: 10.1093/occmed/kqu105. Epub 2014 Aug 7 [View Author's abstract conclusions] [View on Pubmed]

Previous research has suggested a possible link between neurodegenerative disease and exposure to extremely low-frequency electric and magnetic fields. To investigate whether risks of Alzheimer's, motor neurone or Parkinson's disease are related to occupational exposure to magnetic fields. The mortality experienced by a cohort of 73051 employees of the former Central Electricity Generating Board of England and Wales was investigated for the period 1973-2010. All employees were hired in the period 1952-82, were employed for at least 6 months and had some employment after 1 January 1973. Detailed calculations had been performed by others to enable an assessment to be made of exposures to magnetic fields. Poisson regression was used to calculate relative risks (rate ratios) of developing any of the three diseases under investigation for categories of lifetime, distant (lagged) and recent (lugged) exposure. No statistically significant trends were shown for risks of any of these diseases to increase with estimates of lifetime, recent or distant exposure to magnetic fields. There is no convincing evidence that UK electricity generation and transmission workers have suffered elevated risks from neurodegenerative diseases as a consequence of exposure to magnetic fields.

14. P Seifirad S et al, (August 2014) Effects of extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields on paraoxonase serum activity and lipid peroxidation metabolites in rat, J Diabetes Metab Disord. 2014 Aug 13;13(1):85. doi: 10.1186/s40200-014-0085-2. eCollection 2014 [View Author's abstract conclusions] [View on Pubmed]

Atherogenic effects of ELF-MF exposure have not been studied well so far. Therefore we have hypothesized that ELF-MF exposure might have atherogenic effect by impairing antioxidant function and increasing lipid peroxidation. This study was therefore undertaken to examine the effects of ELF-MF on paraoxonase (PON) activity, antioxidant capacity and lipid peroxidation metabolites. Effects of time on remodeling of antioxidant system were also investigated in this study. Seventy five Wistar rats were randomly allocated into five groups as follows: 1) Sham exposure, 2) Single exposure to 60 Hz, sacrificed immediately after exposure, 3) Single exposure to 60 Hz, sacrificed 72 hours after exposure, 4) Fourteen days of exposure to 60 Hz, sacrificed immediately after exposure, and 5) Fourteen days of exposure to 60 Hz, sacrificed 72 hours after exposure. Blood samples were collected and analyzed. The results were compared using ANOVA and post hoc Tukey HSD for multiple caparisons. Single ELF-MF exposure significantly increased lipid peroxidation (CD and MDA) and increased antioxidant serum activity (HDL, paraoxonase activity, and serum total antioxidant capacity). Chronic ELF-MF exposure increased lipid peroxidation and affected antioxidant system. Free fatty acids levels were significantly increased after both single and two weeks exposure. Chronic exposure led to irreversible changes while acute exposure tended to reversible alterations on above mentioned parameters. According to the results of this study, ELF-MF exposure could impair oxidant-antioxidant function and might increase oxidative stress and lipid peroxidation. Antioxidant capability was dependent on the duration and continuity of ELF-MF exposure.

15. P Zhu H et al, (August 2014) Effects of extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields on human fetal scleral fibroblasts, Toxicol Ind Health. 2014 Aug 21. pii: 0748233714545837. [Epub ahead of print] [View Author's abstract conclusions] [View on Pubmed]

This study investigated the effects of extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields (ELF-EMFs) on human fetal scleral fibroblasts (HFSFs). HFSFs were subjected to 50 Hz artificial ELF-EMFs generated by Helmholtz coils with 0.1, 0.2, 0.5, and 1.0 mT field intensities for 6 to 48 h. The viability and factors involved in scleral structuring of HFSFs were determined. The growth rate of HFSFs significantly decreased after only 24 h of exposure to ELF-EMFs (0.2 mT). The messenger RNA (mRNA) expression of collagen type I (COL1A1) decreased and expression of matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2) increased significantly. There was a decrease in tissue inhibitor of MMP-2 mRNA levels between treated and control cells only at the 1.0 mT intensity level. Transforming growth factor beta-2 mRNA increased in exposed cells, and, simultaneously, fibroblast growth factor-2 mRNA levels decreased. The protein expressions of COL1A1 and MMP-2 were also significantly altered subsequent to exposure (p < 0.05). This study shows that ELF-EMFs had biological effects on HFSFs and could cause abnormality in scleral collagen.

Powerwatch CommentsThis study shows significant adverse ELF magnetic fields effects in foetal connective tissue cells at levels about half that allowed by the UK's Public Health England (HPA) and equal to the current ICNIRP permitted level. It provides yet more scientific evidence that current ELF EMF guidance levels are set too high. A reduction by at least a factor of 10 would be expected for protection from chemical hazards - to about 10 to 20 microteslas.

16. - Vila J et al, (June 2014) Development of a source-based approach to assessing occupational exposure to electromagnetic fields in the INTEROCC study Development of a source-based approach to assessing occupational exposure to electromagnetic fields in the INTEROCC study, Occup Environ Med. 2014 Jun;71 Suppl 1:A35-6. doi: 10.1136/oemed-2014-102362.110 [View Author's abstract conclusions] [View on Pubmed]

Exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF) has become ubiquitous in modern life and concern has increased regarding possible associated health effects. To date, assessment of occupational exposure has relied on job-exposure matrices, with exposure estimates for very broad occupational categories. To move EMF research forward, a new approach was necessary. A source-based strategy, incorporating detailed information on tasks, equipment used and work organisation could allow a more individualised exposure assessment. Information on occupational histories and sources of EMF was collected as part of the INTERPHONE-INTEROCC study, providing an opportunity to assess occupational EMF exposure by assigning exposure to each source used. A source-exposure matrix (SEM) was developed based on measurements identified in the literature and estimates obtained through experts' elicitation, for sources without available measurements. This paper focuses on the SEM development methodology to ensure the quality and representativeness of the estimates. Estimates of exposure for 138 EMF sources were obtained from measurements (1424 aggregated records) extracted from 71 papers and hygiene reports (1974-2013). For each source, exposure was calculated by frequency band and dosimetry type, as the arithmetic and geometric means of all measurements identified. Standard deviations were included in order to characterise the variability of the estimates. A source-exposure matrix has been constructed for the most common sources of EMF in the workplace, based on the responses to the INTERPHONE-INTEROCC study questionnaire. This database currently represents the most comprehensive source of information on occupational EMF exposure and is available on request to researchers.

Powerwatch CommentsA lot of work went into this work which was necessary for the INTEROCC study. However, electrical and electronic equipment design and manufacturing techniques have changed enormously over this time period (1974-2013). Most measurements would have been unlikely to assess VLF fields from equipment, and the way ELF fields fall off with distance has changed considerably for a great deal of electrical equipment (e.g. the change from transformers to switched-mode power supplies and from 50/60 Hz synchronous motors to variable frequency electronically switched drives). We have not seen the database contents yet, but it should be treated with caution, especially as to how it applies to recent exposures.

17. P Isaac Aleman E et al, (September 2014) Effects of 60 Hz sinusoidal magnetic field on in vitro establishment, multiplication, and acclimatization phases of Coffee arabica seedlings, Bioelectromagnetics. 2014 Sep;35(6):414-25. doi: 10.1002/bem.21859. Epub 2014 Jul 17 [View Author's abstract conclusions] [View on Pubmed]

The influence of extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields on net photosynthesis, transpiration, photosynthetic pigment concentration, and gene expression of ribulose 1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase small subunit (RBCS1), during in vitro establishment, in vitro multiplication and acclimatization phases of coffee seedlings were investigated. Untreated coffee plants were considered as control, whereas treated plants were exposed to a 60 Hz sinusoidal magnetic field of 2 mT of magnetic induction during 3 min. This magnetic field was generated by an electromagnet, connected to a wave generator. The results revealed that magnetically treated plants showed a significant increase in net photosynthesis (85.4% and 117.9%, in multiplication and acclimatization phases, respectively), and in photosynthetic pigment concentration (66.6% for establishment phase, 79.9% for multiplication phase, and 43.8% for acclimatization phase). They also showed a differential RBCS1 gene expression (approximately twofold) and a decrease of transpiration rates in regard to their control plants. In conclusion, the findings suggest that the application of 60 Hz magnetic field to in vitro coffee plants may improve the seedlings quality by modifying some photosynthetic physiological and molecular processes, increasing their vigor, and ensuring better plant development in later stages.

Powerwatch CommentsAn interesting paper showing that short-term (3 minutes) exposure to high levels (2 mT) ELF magnetic fields stimulates seedlings in a positive way. The work should be repeated at 100, 200 and 500 microtesla levels so that it can be related to permitted human general public exposure levels.

18. P Jung IS et al, (October 2014) Effects of extremely low frequency magnetic fields on NGF induced neuronal differentiation of PC12 cells, Bioelectromagnetics. 2014 Oct;35(7):459-69. doi: 10.1002/bem.21861. Epub 2014 Aug 26 [View Author's abstract conclusions] [View on Pubmed]

Extremely low-frequency magnetic fields (ELF-MFs) affect various cellular processes and systems, such as cell proliferation, differentiation and metabolic pathways. The present study investigated ELF-MFs effect on nerve growth factor (NGF) induced neuronal differentiation of PC12 cells using proteomic applications to understand its role in the enhancement of neuronal differentiation. After 50 Hz, 1 mT ELF-MFs 5-day exposure on NGF induced PC12 cells, it was observed to increase neurite length as well as an increase in the number of neurite bearing cells. It was also discovered that there was a decrease in proliferation activity, which is associated with an increase in differentiated cells. Neuronal differentiation related mRNA levels and protein levels were increased in NGF induced PC12 cells. Compared with NGF induced group, ELF-MFs stimulated PC12 cells had different protein expression as measured with two-dimensional electrophoresis (2-DE) gels. Consequently six differentially expressed spots were detected between the 2-DE maps, which were identified by electrospray ionization quadrupole time-of-flight tandem mass spectrometry (ESI-Q-TOF LC/MS/MS) as: peripherin, neurosecretory protein nerve growth factor inducible (VGF8a) precursor, dnaK-type molecular chaperone sp72-ps1 (HSP72-psI), low molecular weight (Mr) phosphotyrosine protein phosphatase isoenzyme AcP1 (LMW-PTP/ACP1), Tubulin alpha-1A (TUBA1A) chain, outcome predictor in acute leukemia 1 homolog (OPA1L). The identification of these proteins provides clues to the mechanism of ELF-MFs stimulation on NGF induced PC12 cells that occur during neuronal differentiation and may contribute to the development novel treatments for neurodegenerative diseases.

19. - Calvente I et al, (September 2014) Characterization of Indoor Extremely Low Frequency and Low Frequency Electromagnetic Fields in the INMA-Granada Cohort, PLoS One. 2014 Sep 5;9(9):e106666. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0106666. eCollection 2014 [View Author's abstract conclusions] [View on Pubmed]

The objective of this study was to characterize the exposure to electric fields and magnetic fields of non-ionizing radiation in the electromagnetic spectrum (15 Hz to 100 kHz) in the dwellings of children from the Spanish Environment and Childhood-"INMA" population-based birth cohort. The study sample was drawn from the INMA-Granada cohort. Out of 300 boys participating in the 9-10 year follow-up, 123 families agreed to the exposure assessment at home and completed a specific ad hoc questionnaire gathering information on sources of non-ionizing radiation electric and magnetic fields inside the homes and on patterns of use. Long-term indoor measurements were carried out in the living room and bedroom. Survey data showed a low exposure in the children's homes according to reference levels of the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection but with large differences among homes in mean and maximum values. Daytime electrostatic and magnetic fields were below the quantification limit in 78.6% (92 dwellings) and 92.3% (108 dwellings) of houses, with an arithmetic mean value (± standard deviation) of 7.31±9.32 V/m and 162.30±91.16 nT, respectively. Mean magnetic field values were 1.6 lower during the night than the day. Nocturnal electrostatic values were not measured. Exposure levels were influenced by the area of residence (higher values in urban/semi-urban versus rural areas), type of dwelling, age of dwelling, floor of the dwelling, and season. Given the greater sensitivity to extremely low-frequency electromagnetic fields of children and following the precautionary principle, preventive measures are warranted to reduce their exposure.

20. - Kim BC et al, (September 2014) Evaluation of radiofrequency exposure levels from multiple wireless installations in population dense areas in Korea, Bioelectromagnetics. 2014 Sep 4. doi: 10.1002/bem.21874. [Epub ahead of print] [View Author's abstract conclusions] [View on Pubmed]

This paper presents the results of measurements from simultaneous human exposure to various radiofrequency (RF) signals at densely populated areas. Measurements were performed at 1260 positions across Korea to determine exposure compliance to electromagnetic fields for the general public. The measured exposure levels were very low compared with the international exposure guidelines and Korean human protection notice. The highest total exposure ratio was 5.1 x 10-3 (approximately 7.1% of guideline limits).