This study attempted to replicate the results of Zwamborn’s study (2003), also known as the TNO study. That study reported that a UTMS base station-like exposure at an E-field strength of 1 V/m reduced well-being in hypersensitive and non-sensitive subjects.
A total of 117 healthy subjects (33 self-reported sensitive, 84 non-sensitive subjects) participated in the study. The authors assessed well-being, perceived field strength, and cognitive performance with questionnaires and cognitive tasks. Three experimental sessions were conducted at 1-week intervals, and were conducted in double-blind conditions, with a randomized crossover design.
In both groups, well-being and perceived field strength were not associated with actual exposure levels. Regardless of the actual exposure condition, sensitive subjects generally reported more health problems, and also indicated higher field strength in all conditions. Also, regardless of exposure condition, perceived field strength was positively correlated with impaired well-being.
At 10 V/m the authors observed a slight effect on speed in one of 6 tasks in the sensitive subjects and an effect on accuracy in another task in non-sensitive subjects. Both effects disappeared after multiple end point adjustment (i.e. the effects were probably due to chance – if one carries out multiple statistical tests, it is likely that some tests will appear to be statistically significant purely by chance).
The peak spatial absorption in brain tissue was much smaller than during use of a cell phone.
The authors point out that there are several possible explanations for the discrepancies in their findings from those in the TNO study. These include larger sample sizes, better matching, testing done at weekly intervals and at the same time of day (rather than all on the same day), and the inclusion of an additional E-field strength of 10 V/m.