EMF Health-effects Research

Characteristics of microwave evoked body movements in mice.

Brown DO, Lu ST, Elson EC

Bioelectromagnetics 15(2):143-161, 1994

Microwave evoked body movements were studied in mice. A resonant cavity was used to provide head and neck exposure of the mouse to pulsed and gated continuous wave (CW) 1.25 GHz microwaves. No difference in response to pulsed and gated CW stimuli of equal average power was found. The incidence of the microwave evoked body movements increased proportionally with specific absorption (dose) when the whole-body average specific absorption rate was at a constant level (7300 W/kg).

Under a constant average specific absorption rate, the response incidence reached a plateau at 0.9 kJ/kg. For doses higher than 0.9 kJ/kg, response incidence was proportional to the specific absorption rate and reached a plateau at 900 W/kg. Body movements could be evoked by a single microwave pulse. The lowest whole-body specific absorption (SA) tested was 0.18 kJ/kg, and the corresponding brain SA was 0.29 kJ/kg.

Bulk heating potentials of these SAs were less than 0.1 degree C. For doses higher than 0.9 kJ/kg, the response incidence was also proportional to subcutaneous temperature increment and subcutaneous heating rate. The extrapolated absolute thresholds (0% incidence) were 1.21 degrees C temperature increment and 0.24 degree C/s heating rate.

Due to high subcutaneous heating rates, these microwaves must be perceived by the mouse as an intense thermal sensation but not a pain sensation because the temperature increment was well below the threshold for thermal pain. Results of the present study should be considered in promulgation of personnel protection guideline against high peak power but low average power microwaves.

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