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EMR Literature Survey - September 2016

Mobile phone use, behavioural problems and concentration capacity in adolescents: A prospective study

By: Roser K, Schoeni A, Röösli M
Published in: Int J Hyg Environ Health 2016


This is a cohort study that investigated the association between mobile phone use and behavioural problems in adolescents. A total of 439 adolescents aged 12-17 were baseline tested between June 2012 and March 2013 and then for a follow-up investigation were tested a year later. Information on mobile phone use was obtained via two methods: questionnaire (self-reported) and records from the operators. Personal radiofrequency RF exposure was also measured in a small subgroup of participants. Overall, the authors did not find indications that RF exposure from mobile phone use affects the behaviour or concentration capacity of adolescents.


Commentary by ARPANSA

Observational studies investigating the effects of RF exposure from mobile phones on health outcomes have the recurring issue of recall bias, since most studies use self-reported information to assess the exposure. This study by Roser et al found that the association between behavioural problems and RF exposure was stronger when the analysis was based on self-reported information, compared to the phone records. This indicates the presence of recall bias. The analysis based on the personal RF exposure measurement also revealed no association.

A review by the Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR, 2015) on RF and health discussed the available evidence regarding mobile phone use on development, cognitive function and behaviour in children and concluded that adverse effects have not been established, but the data are limited and further studies are recommended.

The effect of extremely low-frequency magnetic field (50-60 Hz) exposure on spontaneous apoptosis: The results of a meta-analysis

By: Mansourian M, Marateb HR, Vaseghi G
Published in: Adv Biomed Res 2016; 5: 141


This is a meta-analysis of in vitro studies that investigated the association between extremely low frequency (ELF) magnetic fields (MF) and spontaneous cell death (apoptosis). A total of 8 studies covering the period 2000-2010 were included in the meta-analysis. A total of 18 endpoints were analysed, which are combinations of these three factors: (i) magnetic fields ranging from 0 to 5 millitesla (mT); (ii) Exposure duration ranging from less than 24 hours to more than 5 days; (iii) normal or cancer cells. The overall odds ratio from all 18 endpoints was 1.18 (95% confidence interval = 1.15, 1.20). The authors concluded that exposure to ELF MF may increase the rate of apoptosis in both normal and cancer cells.


Lessons and perspectives from a 25-year bioelectromagnetics research program

By: Wood AW, Lajevardipour A, McIntosh RL
Published in: Int J Environ Res Public Health 2016; 13 (10)


This review looked into the studies on electromagnetic fields (EMF) performed in the last 25 years by a group of researchers based in Australia’s Swinburne University. The work of the group has been mainly on health effects and dosimetry. The group was of the opinion that although human provocation studies are more realistic in investigating effects of exposure in human bodies, in vivo and in vitro studies offer much greater control over exposure and environmental conditions, which is expected to result in greater reproducibility.


Exposure time-dependent thermal effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic field exposure on the whole body of rats

By: Ohtani S, Ushiyama A, Maeda M, Hattori K, Kunugita N, Wang J, Ishii K
Published in: J Toxicol Sci 2016; 41 (5): 655-666


This animal study investigated the effects of RF exposure on core body temperature. Rats were either exposed to RF at a frequency of 2.14 gigahertz (GHz) or sham-exposed. A group of 4 rats was each exposed in one of these four exposure conditions: (i) single 6-hour exposure at specific absorption rate (SAR) of 4 watts per kilogram (W/kg); (ii) three 3-hour exposures at 4 W/kg; (iii) three 6-hour exposures at 0.4 W/kg; or (iv) three 6-hour exposures at 4 W/kg. The authors found that the core body temperature was increased by 1.5°C in those exposed to 4 W/kg (50 times the SAR limit for public exposure stipulated in the Australian RF Standard) while there was no change in core body temperature for those exposed to 0.4 W/kg (5 times SAR limit for public exposure).


Effects of electromagnetic fields emitted by GSM phones on working memory: a meta-analysis

By: Zubko O, Gould RL, Gay HC, Cox HJ, Coulson MC, Howard RJ
Published in: Int J Geriatr Psychiatry 2016


This meta-analysis looked into the studies on RF exposure and working memory. A total of 10 studies met the inclusion criteria which are largely based on blinded human provocation studies. It found no differences between the exposed group and sham-exposed group, in any of the three working memory tasks investigated. The authors found that RF exposure has no effects on working memory.


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