Salford LG, Brun AE, Eberhardt JL, Malmgren L, et al. (2003)

This group of Swedish researchers has previously reported that exposure to RF radiation causes leakage of albumin across the blood-brain barrier. In the present experiment they exposed rats, aged 12 to 26 weeks, to 2 hours to electromagnetic fields of varying strength from a GSM mobile phone. Three groups of eight rats were exposed to peak power densities of 0.24, 2.4, and 24 W/m ² respectively. The whole-body SARs were 2, 20, and 200 mW/kg. A further group of 8 rats acted as non-exposed controls. The rats were sacrificed 50 days after exposure and their brains of were examined for evidence of leakage of albumin through the blood-brain barrier and of nerve cell damage. Microscopic analysis of the brains was performed blind to the test situation.

Exposed animals, in contrast to controls, showed albumin leakage around the finer blood vessels. The albumin had spread in the tissue between the nerve cell bodies.

There was a significant difference between the groups in the proportion of damaged nerve cells, and a dose-response relationship was seen.

The authors say that their choice of 12 - 26 week old rats was made because they are "comparable to human mobile phone addicted teenagers with respect to age". They postulate that repeated exposure to radiation from mobile phones could have negative effects on brain function.

This publication omits some important details. The SARs could have varied depending on the different sizes of the animals (although the quoted SARs are low and it is unlikely that they would exceed allowable levels even in the smallest rats). There is inadequate detail of the staining procedures used to show albumin leakage and nerve damage. It is not clear how many slides were examined microscopically.

The conclusions of the researchers seem somewhat excessive. It is clear that the study should be replicated.

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