Mayo 2001


Responses to stress not affected by RF radiation

There have been reports of abnormal responses to stress in humans and animals exposed to RF radiation. A recent study from California has shown that this response might be related to factors other than the radiation. Stress-related responses including core body temperature, blood levels of adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) and corticosterone, and brain levels of ornithine decarboxylase and Fos and Jun mRNAs were studied in rats. There were significant stress responses in the animals when they were immobilised in the manner necessary for near-field experiments with RF radiation. There was no further increase in the stress responses after exposure to pulse-modulated fields at 1.6 GHz, and there were no differences between RF-irradiated and sham-exposed animals. RF fields at SARs up to 5 W/kg were used.

This study suggests that responses attributed to RF radiation may be due to the conditions of the laboratory experiment rather than the radiation.

Reference: Stagg RB, Hawel LH, Pastorian K, Cain C, et al. Effect of immobilization and concurrent exposure to a pulse-modulated field on core body temperature, plasma ACTH and corticosteroid, and brain ornithine decarboxylase, Fos and Jun mRNA. Radiation Research 2001;155:584-592.

No effect on brain cancer in rats from RF radiation.

In FAQ 11, we review animal experiments that have examined the effect of RF radiation on cancer rates. Now another study has reported that 860 MHz radiation failed to induce tumours in rats. In addition there was no evidence that rats pretreated with ENU, a cancer-producing agent, developed tumours at a higher rate when exposed to the radiation, compared with controls.

Reference: Zook BC, Simmens SJ. The effects of 860 MHz radiofrequency radiation on the induction or promotion of brain tumours and other neoplasms in rats. Radiation Research 2001;155:572-583.

Mobile phone users do better on attention tests

A recent report from Hong Kong showed that a group of teenagers who were mobile phone users did better on one of three measures of attention than a control group who did not use mobile phones. The subjects were not tested while using a mobile phone. The authors, and an accompanying editorial, point out that the results could be explained by self-selection - that is, "individuals who are better at attention-demanding tasks are more likely to choose to use such phones".

References: Lee TMC, Ho SMY, Tsang LYH, Yang SYC, et al. Effect on human attention of exposure to the electromagnetic field emitted by mobile phones. NeuroReport 2001;12:729-731.
Petrides M. Use of cellular telephones and performance on tests of attention. NeuroReport 2001;12:A21.

More on the NCI study of brain tumours

In the January and February 2001 "What's New" we discuss the National Cancer Institute study from the USA that examined cell phone use and brain tumours. There is correspondence about this study in the April 26 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. The authors of the study respond to three letters about the findings.

Reference: Erman M, et al; Kundi M; Kane RC; Inskip PD, et al. Cellular telephones and brain tumors. New England Journal of Medicine 2001;344, No. 17.

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