EMF Health-effects Research

Can electromagnetic fields emitted by mobile phones stimulate the vestibular organ?

Pau HW, Sievert U, Eggert S, Wild W.

Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 132(1):43-49, 2005

Objectives Pulsating electromagnetic (EM) radiation emitted by mobile phones is often incriminated for causing tissue alterations by caloric effects. In particular, the eye and the ear were regarded as possible "hot spots," with heating up to 1 degrees C, in which EM radiation might have negative effects. If so, these temperature increments should be large enough to cause vestibular excitation. In this study, we attempted to verify this theory by clinical testing and in vitro experiments.

Methods and measures In our laboratory, a simulated GSM signal (889.6 MHz/2.2 W) was applied to 1 ear at a time, while video nystagmography was performed. The experimental setup was similar to that used for caloric (hot and cold water) testing of the peripheral vestibular organ. Data were evaluated by a computer system.

There were 13 volunteers (26 ears) included in our study. In an additional experiment, temperatures of human temporal bones were measured by thermography, while a continuous or pulsating EM field was applied.

Results In no volunteer could EM radiation-induced nystagmus be recorded. This corresponds well to our findings that in the human temporal bone very weak caloric effects could only be found in the tissue layers next to the radiation source (antenna of the mobile phone), whereas deeper regions (horizontal semicircular canal) seemed unaffected (at least less than 0.1 degrees C).

Clinical significance These results do not support the theory that mobile phone-induced EM radiation may cause caloric negative effects in the human ear.

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