Cognitive and physiological responses in humans exposed to a TETRA base station signal in relation to perceived electromagnetic hypersensitivity
Article first published online: 6 JUN 2011
Copyright © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Volume 33, Issue 1, pages 23–39, January 2012
How to Cite
Wallace, D., Eltiti, S., Ridgewell, A., Garner, K., Russo, R., Sepulveda, F., Walker, S., Quinlan, T., Dudley, S., Maung, S., Deeble, R. and Fox, E. (2012), Cognitive and physiological responses in humans exposed to a TETRA base station signal in relation to perceived electromagnetic hypersensitivity. Bioelectromagnetics, 33: 23–39. doi: 10.1002/bem.20681
- Issue published online: 1 DEC 2011
- Article first published online: 6 JUN 2011
- Manuscript Accepted: 1 MAY 2011
- Manuscript Received: 12 OCT 2010
- Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research Programme. Grant Number: RUM 26
- provocation study;
- electromagnetic hypersensitivity;
- idiopathic environmental intolerance
Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA) technology (“Airwave”) has led to public concern because of its potential interference with electrical activity in the brain. The present study is the first to examine whether acute exposure to a TETRA base station signal has an impact on cognitive functioning and physiological responses. Participants were exposed to a 420 MHz TETRA signal at a power flux density of 10 mW/m2 as well as sham (no signal) under double-blind conditions. Fifty-one people who reported a perceived sensitivity to electromagnetic fields as well as 132 controls participated in a double-blind provocation study. Forty-eight sensitive and 132 control participants completed all three sessions. Measures of short-term memory, working memory, and attention were administered while physiological responses (blood volume pulse, heart rate, skin conductance) were monitored. After applying exclusion criteria based on task performance for each aforementioned cognitive measure, data were analyzed for 36, 43, and 48 sensitive participants for these respective tasks and, likewise, 107,125, and 129 controls. We observed no differences in cognitive performance between sham and TETRA exposure in either group; physiological response also did not differ between the exposure conditions. These findings are similar to previous double-blind studies with other mobile phone signals (900–2100 MHz), which could not establish any clear evidence that mobile phone signals affect health or cognitive function. Bioelectromagnetics 33:23–39, 2012. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.