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Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Field Exposure and the Resting EEG: Exploring the Thermal Mechanism Hypothesis

1
Australian Centre for Electromagnetic Bioeffects Research (ACEBR), Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute, School of Psychology, University of Wollongong, Northfields Ave, Wollongong NSW 2522, Australia
2
Centre for Population Health Research on Electromagnetic Energy (PRESEE), School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne VIC 3004, Australia
3
Centre for Human and Applied Physiology, School of Medicine, University of Wollongong, Wollongong NSW 2522, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(9), 1505; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16091505
Received: 27 February 2019 / Revised: 8 April 2019 / Accepted: 25 April 2019 / Published: 28 April 2019
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Abstract

There is now strong evidence that radiofrequency electromagnetic field (RF-EMF) exposure influences the human electroencephalogram (EEG). While effects on the alpha band of the resting EEG have been repeatedly shown, the mechanisms underlying that effect have not been established. The current study used well-controlled methods to assess the RF-EMF exposure effect on the EEG and determine whether that effect might be thermally mediated. Thirty-six healthy adults participated in a randomized, double-blind, counterbalanced provocation study. A water-perfusion suit (34 °C) was worn throughout the study to negate environmental influences and stabilize skin temperature. Participants attended the laboratory on four occasions, the first being a calibration session and the three subsequent ones being exposure sessions. During each exposure session, EEG and skin temperature (8 sites) were recorded continuously during a baseline phase, and then during a 30 min exposure to a 920 MHz GSM-like signal (Sham, Low RF-EMF (1 W/kg) and High RF-EMF (2 W/kg)). Consistent with previous research, alpha EEG activity increased during the High exposure condition compared to the Sham condition. As a measure of thermoregulatory activation, finger temperature was found to be higher during both exposure conditions compared to the Sham condition, indicating for the first time that the effect on the EEG is accompanied by thermoregulatory changes and suggesting that the effect of RF-EMF on the EEG is consistent with a thermal mechanism. View Full-Text
Keywords: radiofrequency electromagnetic fields; body temperature; electroencephalogram; mobile phones; exposure limits radiofrequency electromagnetic fields; body temperature; electroencephalogram; mobile phones; exposure limits
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Loughran, S.P.; Verrender, A.; Dalecki, A.; Burdon, C.A.; Tagami, K.; Park, J.; Taylor, N.A.S.; Croft, R.J. Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Field Exposure and the Resting EEG: Exploring the Thermal Mechanism Hypothesis. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 1505.

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