EMF Health-effects Research

Ultrawideband radiation and pentylenetetrazol-induced convulsions in rats

Miller SA, Bronson ME, Murphy MR

Bioelectromagnetics 20(5):327-329, 1999

New non-ionizing pulsed systems using ultrawideband (UWB) require safety assessment before they can be used by either military or civilian communities. The development of directed energy weaponry intended for use against electronically vulnerable targets, as well as ground-probing radar systems, have used fast-rise-time high-peak-power electromagnetic pulses characteristic of UWB emitters.

It has been postulated that these ultrashort pulses might produce electromagnetic transients resulting in tissue damage. Several challenges to this notion have been posed, however. One report found that rats exposed to UWB after receiving a convulsant drug tended toward longer latency to the onset of convulsions than the no-exposure group. Although not statistically significant, the presence of this trend prompted the present study.

An ED99 dose of the convulsant pentylenetetrazol (PTZ) or saline was given just before UWB or sham exposure and resultant seizure activity was recorded. The data from the current study show no effect of UWB exposure on PTZ-induced seizure activity, thereby not supporting the tissue damage concerns, at least for the exposure parameters used here.

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