EMF Health-effects Research

No effect of an UMTS mobile phone-like electromagnetic field of 1.97 GHz on human attention and reaction time.

Unterlechner M, Sauter C, Schmid G, Zeitlhofer J

Bioelectromagnetics. Oct 23; 2007

[Epub ahead of print]  

Several studies in the past reported influences of electromagnetic emissions of GSM phones on reaction time in humans. However, there are currently only a few studies available dealing with possible effects of the electromagnetic fields emitted by UMTS mobile phones.

In our study, 40 healthy volunteers (20 female, 20 male), aged 26.0 years (range 21-30 years) underwent four different computer tests measuring reaction time and attention under three different UMTS mobile phone-like exposure conditions (two exposure levels plus sham exposure).

Exposure of the subjects was accomplished by small helical antennas operated close to the head and fed by a generic signal representing the emissions of a UMTS mobile phone under constant receiving conditions as well as under a condition of strongly varying transmit power.

In the high exposure condition the resulting peak spatial average exposure of the test subjects in the cortex of the left temporal lobe of the brain was 0.63 W/kg (min. 0.25 W/kg, max. 1.49 W/kg) in terms of 1 g averaged SAR and 0.37 W/kg (min. 0.16 W/kg, max. 0.84 W/kg) in terms of 10 g averaged SAR, respectively.

Low exposure condition was one-tenth of high exposure and sham was at least 50 dB below low exposure.

Statistical analysis of the obtained test parameters showed that exposure to the generic UMTS signal had no statistically significant immediate effect on attention or reaction. Therefore, this study does not provide any evidence that exposure of UMTS mobiles interferes with attention under short-term exposure conditions.

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