EMF Health-effects Research

Temporal bisection in rats: the effects of high-peak-power pulsed microwave irradiation

Raslear TG, Akyel Y, Bates F, Belt M, Lu ST

Bioelectromagnetics 14(5):459-478, 1993

The effects of high-peak-power, pulsed microwaves on a time perception and discrimination task were studied in rats. Exposures were performed with the TEMPO exposure system, which produces an 80 nanosecond pulse with peak-power levels in excess of 700 megawatts.

The ability to expose animals to such fields within a controlled environment is unique. As determined by calorimetry, a maximal, whole-body-averaged, specific-absorption rate of 0.072 W/kg was produced. Thus exposures were well below a recommended SAR limit of 0.4 W/kg.

Power levels of transmitted microwaves were varied over a 50 dB range to obtain ascending and descending dose-response functions for each of the behavioral measures. Measures of time perception, response bias, and total trials did not change with power level.

Dose-response effects were observed for discriminability (ability to distinguish between durations), session time, and trial completions (null responses, failures to respond on a trial). Covarying sound and X-ray exposures produced by TEMPO did not reliably correlate with the observed microwave effects.

The observation of repeatable dose-response effects on discriminability and null responses indicates that the microwave exposures were affecting cognitive function in the rats, particularly the decision-making process.

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