EMF Health-effects Research

Low-level exposure to pulsed 900 MHz microwave radiation does not cause deficits in the performance of a spatial learning task in mice.

Sienkiewicz ZJ, Blackwell RP, Haylock RG, Saunders RD, Cobb BL

Bioelectromagnetics 21(3):151-158, 2000

There is some concern that short-term memory loss or other cognitive effects may be associated with the use of mobile cellular telephones. In this experiment, the effect of repeated, acute exposure to a low intensity 900 MHz radiofrequency (RF) field pulsed at 217 Hz was explored using an appetitively-motivated spatial learning and working memory task.

Adult male C57BL/6J mice were exposed under far field conditions in a GTEM cell for 45 min each day for 10 days at an average whole-body specific energy absorption rate (SAR) of 0.05 W/kg. Their performance in an 8-arm radial maze was compared to that of sham-exposed control animals. All behavioral assessments were performed without handlers having knowledge of the exposure status of the animals.

Animals were tested in the maze immediately following exposure or after a delay of 15 or 30 min. No significant field- dependent effects on performance were observed in choice accuracy or in total times to complete the task across the experiment.

These results suggest that exposure to RF radiation simulating a digital wireless telephone (GSM) signal under the conditions of this experiment does not affect the acquisition of the learned response.

Further studies are planned to explore the effects of other SARs on learned behavior.

Additional Web Notes

This was an attempt by the UK's NRPB to replicate the memory studies of Dr Henry Lai, but with exposure levels only one-twelth as much (0.05W/kg versus 0.6 W/kg).

At a later conference (Sept 99) in Goteberg, Sweden, they reported that the "animals tested immediately after exposure showed a more erratic performance, and were slower to complete the task."

They also observed that there was an increase in defecation and urination in the animals during exposure at 0.05 W/kg, and speculated that the RF had induced stress in the animals.

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