October 2008

Review of epidemiological evidence of mobile phone use and cancer.

Kundi published a review on epidemiological studies of mobile phone use and cancer including the discussion of the numerous methodological issues in exposure assessment. A total of 33 studies, published by the Hardell group and the Interphone group were included in his review. Results indicate that combined odds ratio (OR) were 1.5 (Confidence Interval (CI) 1.2-1.8) for glioma, 1.2 (CI 0.95-1.9) for acoustic neuroma, and 1.1 (CI 0.8-1.4 ) for meninigioma. Kundi concludes that overall, the evidence may indicate an increased risk but, at this time, the magnitude of the risk from mobile phone radiofrequency fields exposure is not known because of methodological issues and the lack of information on long-term evidence.

Kundi M. The controversy about a possible relationship between mobile phone use and cancer. Environ Health Perspect Ahead of print 26 Sep 2008.

For more see “Research – Epidemiological – Cell phone studies
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Researchers investigate psychological symptoms related to short-term exposure to radiofrequency fields from base stations in 57 participants.

The goal of the study was to examine with a well-being questionnaire the health effects (good mood, alertness, calmness) of radiofrequency fields emitted from mobile phone base stations. Participants were randomly assigned to one of three exposure groups (high, medium, low). They were then submitted to five 50 minutes periods for each exposure level. Results of the study show that subjects in high and medium exposure groups were significantly calmer compared to subjects in the low exposure group. Symptoms of good mood and alertness were similar in the three exposure levels. The authors conclude that exposure to base station radiofrequency fields could influence well-being and reduce psychological arousal. 

Augner C, Florian M, Pauser G, Oberfeld G, Hacker GW. GSM base stations: Short-term effects on well-being. Bioelectromagnetics Ahead of print 19 Sep 2008.

For more see “Research – Clinical – General
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Double blind design to investigate the effect of radiofrequency field (RF) exposure from mobile phone on spatial memory and learning in humans.

The authors investigated whether RF exposure from 884 MHz signal from mobile phones would affect cognitive functions such as memory and learning. A double blind design was performed and average exposure was a SAR of 1.4 W/kg. A spatial navigation task was used to measure the effect of RF. There were two groups of participants: mobile phone users with and without symptoms attributed to mobile phone use. Results indicate that the symptomatic group improved their performance in the spatial navigation task when exposure to RF. The non-symptomatic group did not show any effect when exposed to RF. The authors indicate that the positive study result needs to be replicated and they can only speculate about the reason they found this result.

Wiholm C, Lowden A, Kuster N, Hillert L, Arnetz BB, Åkerstedt T, Moffat SD. Mobile phone exposure and spatial memory. Bioelectromagnetics Ahead of print 15 Sep 2008.

For more see “Research – Clinical – Cognitive function
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Study does not confirm causal link in subjects reporting having hypersensitivity symptoms after RF exposure from base stations.

A double blind provocation study was designed to assess the effects of mobile phone base stations radiofrequency field (RF) exposure in subjects with mobile phone related symptoms (MPRS) supposedly more susceptible than controls. The participants, 11 MPRS individuals and 43 controls, were each exposed to 4 exposure (W-CDMA) scenarios of 30 minutes; (1) continuous exposure, (2) intermittent, (3) sham exposure with and (4) without noise. Psychological and cognitive symptoms as well as autonomic functions were measured pre and post-exposure. Each participant had to report their perception of exposure to radiofrequency fields and also their level of discomfort for each scenario. Results indicate that the MPRS participants did not perceive more frequently than controls exposure to RF but they were reporting more discomfort during the experiments even if no functional changes were measured. The authors conclude that no evidence was found to prove hypersensitivity symptoms reported by some individuals are due to RF exposure from mobile phone base stations.

Furubayashi T, Ushiyama A, Terao Y, Mizuno Y, Shirasawa K, Pongpaibool P,  Simba AY, Wake K, Nishikawa M, Miyawaki K, Yasuda A, Uchiyama M, Yamashita HK, Masuda H, Hirota S, Takahashi M, Okano T, Inomata-Terada S, Sokejima S, Maruyama E, Watanabe S, Taki M, Ohkubo M, Ugawa Y. Effects of short-term W-CDMA mobile phone base station exposure on women with or without mobile phone related symptoms. Bioelectromagnetics Ahead of print 8 Sep 2008.

For more see “Research – Clinical – General
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Possible oxidative stress measured in human semen after exposure to radiofrequency field exposure from cell phones.

Agarwal et al. assessed the health effects of radiofrequency (RF) fields emitted by cell phones on ejaculated human semen samples collected from 23 healthy donors and 9 infertile subjects. Each semen sample was then divided in an exposed and unexposed sample and sperm parameters were evaluated. Exposed samples had a significantly lower sperm motility and viability, higher levels of reaction oxygen species (ROS), and lower ROS total antioxidant capacity score. Other parameters such as DNA damage remained unchanged. The authors concluded that RF emitted from cell phones could possibly increase oxidative stress in human semen.

Agarwal A, Desai NR, Makker K, Varghese A, Mouradi R, Sabanegh E, Sharma R. Effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic waves (RF-EMW) from cellular phones on human ejaculated semen: an in vitro pilot study. Fertil Steril. Ahead of print 18 Sep 2008.

For more see “Research – Clinical – Other – Reproduction
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Measured health effects of 900 MHz radiofrequency field include significant increase in caspase 3 activity only in proliferating blood lymphocytes.

The objective of this study was to evaluate cell apoptosis following exposure to 900 MHz GSM radiofrequency  (RF) fields (SAR= 1.35 W/Kg) in Jurkat cells and also quiescent and proliferating blood lymphocytes. Results show that 1 hour of RF exposure produced a significant increase in caspase 3 acitivity (indication of apoptosis) in Jurkat cells and only in proliferating blood lymphocytes. Cell apoptosis and viability were not affected by 900 MHz GSM signal in both types of cells. No differences were also found between control and exposed cells further cell cycle studies when evaluating caspases for other biological functions than apoptosis. The authors conclude that further studies need to look into the biological significance of the results of an increase in caspase 3 activity in cells exposed to radiofrequency fields.

Palumbo R, Brescia F, Capasso D, Sannino A, Sarti M, Capri M, Grassilli E, Scarfi MR. (2008): Exposure to 900 MHz Radiofrequency Radiation Induces Caspase 3 Activation in Proliferating Human Lymphocytes. Radiat Res 170 (3): 327 – 334.

 For more see “Research – Laboratory – Other – Cell death (Apoptosis)
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Study suggests prenatal exposure to radiofrequency fields may affect the development of the dentate gyrus cells in rat hippocampus.

The study was designed to investigate the health effects of GSM 900 MHz of cells in the dentate gyrus (hippocampus) of rats. A control and exposed groups were formed consisting of 5 and 6 pregnant rats, respectively. The treatment group was exposed to GSM 900 MHz for 1 hour per day during gestation. The results of the experiment indicate a decrease in the number of cells in the dentate gyrus of rats. The authors conclude that the results suggest that prenatal GSM 900 MHz exposure changes the development of cells in the hippocampus of rats.

Odaci E, Bas O, Kaplan S. Effects of prenatal exposure to a 900 Mhz electromagnetic field on the dentate gyrus of rats: a stereological and histopathological study. Brain Res. 16 Aug 2008 Ahead of print.

For more see “Research – Laboratory – Brain function
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Histopathological parameters in rat brains are not affected by long-term exposure to GSM 900 MHz mobile phone radiofrequency fields.

The objective of the Grafström study was to assess whether long period of mobile phone radiofrequency exposure would affect histopathological factors in the brain known to have a role in behavior and human ageing. Three groups were formed: (1) exposed, (2) sham-exposure, and (3) cage controls. The first group was exposed weekly for 2 hours during 55 weeks, the second group was sham-exposed and the third group was kept in the cage. The authors assessed 5-7 weeks following the end of exposure, rat brains for histophatological alterations. The result found in this study was that no significant changes were found when assessing the histophatological parameters for all three groups of rats suggesting that long-term exposure to GSM 900 MHz does not change brain functions in rats.

Grafström G, Nittby H, Brun A, Malmgren L, Persson BR, Salford LG, Eberhardt J. Histopathological examinations of rat brains after long-term exposure to GSM-900 mobile phone radiation. Brain Res Bull. 2008 Sep 6 Ahead of print.

For more see “Research – Laboratory – Brain function
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Chronic exposure to radiofrequency fields from mobile phones (SAR 7.8 W/Kg) does not produce any cellular alterations in mouse heads.

In this experiment, heads of mouse were intermittently exposed to 849 MHz and 1763 MHz radiofrequency fields during a maximum of 1 year. The 3 groups included in the study were; (1) sham-exposed, (2) 849 MHz exposure, and (3) 1763 MHz exposure. The results of the study did not show any difference between the control and exposed groups for body weight, brain histology, cell proliferation, and cell death. The authors conclude that chronic exposition to both types of radiofrequency fields did not produce any cellular changes in mouse heads.

Kim TH, Huang TQ, Jang JJ, Kim MH, Kim HJ, Lee JS, Pack JK, Seo JS, Park WY. Local exposure of 849 MHz and 1763 MHz radiofrequency radiation to mouse heads does not induce cell death or cell proliferation in brain. Exp Mol Med. 2008 Jun 30;40(3):294-303.

For more see “Research – Laboratory
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Estimated SAR in newly designed whole-body exposure chamber for unrestrained rats.

The authors of this study designed a space efficient chamber in order to measure whole-body exposure from 900 MHz radiofrequency fields. The chamber was used with unrestrained rats in a 2-year study and another 5-week study. Estimated whole-body average SAR for the unrestrained rats were 0 (no exposure), 0.4, and 1.3 W/Kg in the 2-year cocarcinogenesis study and 0 (no exposure), 0.27, and 2.7 W/Kg in the 5-week central nervous system study. The SAR variations were between 1.3 and 2.3 dB for lifetime and instantaneous variations, respectively.

Puranen L, Toivo T, Toivonen T, Pitkäaho R, Turunen A, Sihvonen AP, Jokela K, Heikkinen P, Kumlin T, Juutilainen J. Space efficient system for whole-body exposure of unrestrained rats to 900 MHz electromagnetic fields. Bioelectromagnetics Ahead of print 2008 Sep 19.

For more see “Research – exposure assessment
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Carpenter DO, Sage C. 2008:  Setting prudent public health policy for electromagnetic field exposures Rev Environ Health. 23(2):91-117.

The authors discuss the health effects of electromagnetic fields including communication frequencies such as radio, television, WiFi, and mobile phones. They then discuss the hazards these frequencies could pose to human health and the strength of the evidence. Uncertainties toward the biological effects of these exposures in humans are described. The precautionary principle is also discussed in relation to new EMF technologies, long latency diseases, and children.

For more see “Review Panel Reports
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Review of gene expression studies after exposure to radiofrequency (RF) fields and comparison of past results with newly accepted concepts for RF and gene expression.

The authors reviewed high throughput screening techniques (HTSTs) studies (for expression of genes and proteins) of exposure to RF fields emitted from mobile phones. The objective was to compare the HTSTs studies with current accepted concepts in RF exposure and gene expression. The results of the HTSTs studies on RF exposure are still inconclusive because significant positive findings are subject to a number of methodological errors. The authors conclude that the precise role of transcriptomics and proteomics in studies evaluating the health effects of RF from mobile phone exposure is uncertain because of the lack of arguments, either theoretical or experimental.

Vanderstraeten J, Verschaeve L. (2008): Gene and protein expression following exposure to radiofrequency fields from mobile phones. Environ Health Perspect 116:1131-1135.

For more see “Research – laboratory – Cancer studies
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Vogel discusses in the journal Science the two peer reviewed scientific papers indicating that radiofrequency fields from mobile phones could cause DNA breakage. The two papers were under a University of Vienna investigation. The author discusses the faith of two papers.

Vogel G (2008): SCIENTIFIC MISCONDUCT: Fraud Charges Cast Doubt on Claims of DNA Damage From Cell Phone Fields Science 321(5893):1144 – 1145.

For more see “Research – laboratory – Cancer studies
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