Mobile phone emissions and human brain excitability

Authors

  • Florinda Ferreri MD,

    1. Department of Neurology, University Campus Biomedico, Isola Tiberina
    2. Associazione Fatebenefratelli per la Ricerca, Department of Neuroscience, Hospital Fatebenefratelli, Isola Tiberina
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  • Giuseppe Curcio PhD,

    1. Department of Neurology, University Campus Biomedico, Isola Tiberina
    2. Department of Psychology, University “La Sapienza,” Rome
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  • Patrizio Pasqualetti PhD,

    1. Associazione Fatebenefratelli per la Ricerca, Department of Neuroscience, Hospital Fatebenefratelli, Isola Tiberina
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  • Luigi De Gennaro PhD,

    1. Department of Psychology, University “La Sapienza,” Rome
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  • Rita Fini Tech,

    1. Department of Neurology, University Campus Biomedico, Isola Tiberina
    2. Associazione Fatebenefratelli per la Ricerca, Department of Neuroscience, Hospital Fatebenefratelli, Isola Tiberina
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  • Paolo Maria Rossini MD, PhD

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Neurology, University Campus Biomedico, Isola Tiberina
    2. Associazione Fatebenefratelli per la Ricerca, Department of Neuroscience, Hospital Fatebenefratelli, Isola Tiberina
    3. Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico Centro S. Giovanni di Dio, Hospital Fatebenefratelli, Brescia, Italy
    • Department of Neuroscience, Hospital Fatebenefratelli, Isola Tiberina 39, 00186 Rome, Italy
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Abstract

Objective

To test—via Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)—the excitability of each brain hemisphere after ‘real’ or ‘sham’ exposure to the electromagnetic field (EMF) generated by a mobile phone operating in the Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM).

Methods

Fifteen male volunteers attended two experimental sessions, one week apart, in a cross-over, double-blind paradigm. In one session the signal was turned ON (EMF-on, real exposure), in the other it was turned OFF (EMF-off, sham exposure), for 45 minutes. Motor Evoked Potentials (MEPs) were recorded using a paired-pulse paradigm (testing intracortical excitability with 1 to 17 ms interstimulus intervals), both before and at different times after exposure to the EMF. Short Intracortical Inhibition (SICI) and Facilitation (ICF) curves were evaluated both on the exposed and non-exposed hemispheres. Tympanic temperature was collected during each session.

Results

The intracortical excitability curve becomes significantly modified during real exposure, with SICI being reduced and ICF enhanced in the acutely exposed brain hemisphere as compared to the contralateral, non-exposed hemisphere or to sham exposure. Tympanic temperature showed no significant main effect or interactions.

Interpretation

These results demonstrate that GSM-EMFs modify brain excitability. Possible implications and applications are discussed. Ann Neurol 2006

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