April 2006

RF exposure does not affect cognitive function in new study

In a study that was part of the Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research Programme in the UK, Russo and colleagues tested the effect of RF exposure generated by cell phones on cognitive function. Both GSM modulated and CW signals were used. Their study was designed to overcome some of the defects of other studies. They used a large sample size (168 participants), and the subjects were tested in a double blind fashion. They found no significant effects of RF exposure on performance of four tasks of cognitive function, including those that had been found in previous studies to be affected by RF exposure.

For more, see “Research – Clinical – cognitive function”.

Reference: Russo R, Fox E, Cinel C, Boldini A, et al. Does acute exposure to mobile phones affect human attention? Bioelectromagnetics 2006;27:215-220.

Review of cell phones and tumour risk

In a recent article, Ahlbom and colleagues review results from recent studies that examined the risk of brain tumours in association with the use of cell phones. They discuss the first two INTERPHONE studies to report (although there have been others more recently). They also review others that were published previously. As with other reviews, the main point that emerges is the lack of consistency in the results. Interpretation is also difficult because of the small number of cases that have used cell phones for 10 years or more.

For more on this subject, see “Research – Epidemiology”.

Reference: Ahlbom A, Feychting M, Lonn S. Mobile phones and tumor risk: Interpretation of recent results. Radio Science Bulletin 2005;314:30-33.

Electromagnetic hypersensitivity

Another article in Radio Science Bulletin, this time in the December issue, discusses electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS). Some individuals report health symptoms that they relate to exposure to EMF. On occasion these effects can have profound effects on the individuals' way of life. They complain of a variety of non-specific symptoms, which vary from individual to individual, and include general complaints like tiredness and dizziness, as well as skin, digestive, and other symptoms. There are more reports of EHS in Scandinavian countries than elsewhere. Provocation studies have almost all shown that individuals with EHS cannot detect EMF exposure any more accurately than non-EHS individuals. A WHO workshop on EHS in Prague in 1994 concluded that: "The symptoms are certainly real and can vary widely in their severity. Whatever its cause, EHS can be a disabling problem for the affected individual. EHS has no clear diagnostic criteria and there is no scientific basis to link EHS symptoms to EMF exposure".

For a Fact Sheet on the subject, see WHO's web site at www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs296/en/

Reference: Lin JC. Hypersensitivity to mobile phones and subjective symptoms. Radio Science Bulletin 2005;315:44-46.

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