Memory can be Altered by Electromagnetic Fields Generated by Cellular Phones

WESTPORT, Apr 12 (Reuters Health) - Electromagnetic fields emitted by cellular telephones significantly modify memory response, according to a report by investigators in Finland.

Dr. Christina M. Krause, from the University of Turku, and colleagues asked 16 healthy subjects to undergo EEG and perform an auditory memory task twice while a cellular phone was mounted to their heads, one while the phone’s electromagnetic field was turned on and again with the electromagnetic field turned off. The researchers collected data on four EEG frequency bands 4 to 6 Hz, 6 to 8 Hz, 8 to 10 Hz and 10 to 12 Hz.

Their findings, published in the March 20th issue of NeuroReport, indicate that among the 14 subjects for whom data could be analyzed, there was no significant EEG alteration by the electromagnetic field except in the 8 to 10 Hz frequency band.

However, during the memory retrieval part of the task, "the exposure to the electromagnetic field significantly altered the event-related de-synchronization and event-related synchronization responses in all frequency bands studied," Dr. Krause and colleagues say. They note that in certain frequency bands these responses have been associated with attention and semantic memory functions. According to the research group, the study results, combined with previous findings that exposure to electromagnetic fields decreases reaction times, suggest that "the presence of an electromagnetic field alters the level of cortical activity applied during information processing which would be related to accelerated mental operation."

NeuroReport 2000;11761-764.

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