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Investigating the presentation of non-specific symptoms attributed to electromagnetic fields

Researchers 

Dr Adam Verrender, University of Wollongong 

Professor Rodney Croft, University of Wollongong 

Associate Professor Sarah Loughran, Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency 

Institutions 

The University of Wollongong and the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency 

Timeframe 

Expected completion by mid-2023 

Funding 

$65,000 

Project abstract 

The University of Wollongong and the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) are trying to determine what causes electromagnetic hypersensitivity.  

Electromagnetic hypersensitivity is a collection of non-specific health symptoms such as headaches, body pain, lethargy, tinnitus (ringing in the ear), nausea, burning sensations, heart arrhythmia and anxiety that sufferers attribute to electromagnetic field exposures.  

However, there is no empirical evidence to link radio wave exposure with this condition.  

This project will add to previous research conducted by the University of Wollongong. 

In an earlier study, it was found that the belief of being exposed to electromagnetic energy fields was enough to trigger physiological changes, like stress, in healthy participants. However, the limitation of that experiment was that participants self-reported the physiological changes they experienced.  

The study design of this new research will overcome that limitation by measuring the stress hormone cortisol in saliva, which is a more objective measure than self-reporting.  

Results are expected to be published in 2023.