Narayanan SN, Kumar RS, Potu BK, Nayak S, Mailankot M. (2009). Spatial memory performance of Wistar rats exposed to mobile phone. Clinics. 64(3):231-4.
Background and Objective
Research has demonstrated alterations in brain function related to exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation emitted by mobile phones. The aim of this experiment was to study the effects of mobile phone exposure on spatial memory performance of Wistar rats.
A total of 12 male 10-12 weeks of age Wistar rats were used in the experiment. Six animals were exposed to 50 missed calls per day for 4 weeks from a GSM 900/1800 MHz mobile phone in vibratory mode (no ring tone), and six animals were used as control. After the experimental period, the exposed and the control animals were tested for spatial memory performance using Morris Water Maze test. The escape latency, considered as a measure of the acquisition of spatial navigation abilities, is the time required for a rat to reach a platform submerged in the water. To test for retention of spatial memory, the platform was removed from the maze, a rat was placed into the water as in the training trial; the time taken to reach the target quadrant and the time spent in the target quadrant were recorded.
During training sessions, both groups of animals showed a significant decrease in escape latency with training. The mobile phone exposed animals exhibited longer escape latency than the control animals. In the retention test, the latency time to reach the target quadrant was significantly (~3 times) longer and the time spent in the target quadrant was significantly (~ 2 times) shorter in the exposed animals than in the control.
Interpretation and Conclusion
The results of this experiment indicate that mobile phone exposure leads to behavioral changes in rats. These changes can be related to electromagnetic radiation emitted by the mobile phone or to vibration, or to both. Further study is warranted to determine which factor is more important.