Croft RJ, Leung S, McKenzie RJ, Loughran SP, Iskra S, Hamblin DL, Cooper NR. Effects of 2G and 3G mobile phones on human alpha rhythms: Resting EEG in adolescents, young adults, and the elderly. Bioelectromagnetics April 28, 2010 Ahead of print.
It has been reported that exposure to mobile phones increases spontaneous resting alpha power on the human electroencephalogram (EEG). Alpha waves reflect the brain electrical activity in a calm and relaxed state and are also related to several active processes in the brain, including active inhibition of task-irrelevant processes, regulation of degree and direction of attention.
The objective of this study was to assess alpha rhythm as a function of exposures from second generation (2G) and third generation (3G) mobile phones in adolescents, young adults and people of older age, and to determine whether adolescents and/or the elderly are more sensitive to such exposures.
The participants were 41 adolescents (13–15 years of age, 21 male), 42 young adults (19–40 years, 21 male) and 20 elderly (55–70 years, 10 male) healthy non-smoking volunteers. A double-blind, counterbalanced, crossover design was used: EEG for each participant was recorded under sham, 2G and 3G conditions on 3 separate days at least 4 days apart. Baseline resting EEG was also recorded, and alpha activity during exposure relative to baseline was compared between conditions. A Nokia 6110 test phone was used for the 2G (GSM) exposure (900 MHz, maximum peak spatial SAR averaged over 10 g - 0.7 W/kg). 3G exposure was achieved by a model simulating a WCDMA signal (1900 MHz, maximum peak spatial SAR averaged over 10 g - 1.7 W/kg).
Alpha power was greater under the 2G conditions compared to sham condition in the young adults. There was no effect of exposure to the 2G mobile phone on the alpha power in the adolescents or the elderly. Exposure to the 3G mobile phone had no effect in either age group.
Interpretation and Conclusion
The results suggest that “adolescents may not represent a more sensitive population in terms of mobile phone alpha effects, and that, consistent with previous research, the effect on alpha waves may be restricted to 2G mobile phones.”