EMF Health-effects Research

Regional brain heating during microwave exposure (2.06 GHz), warm-water immersion, environmental heating and exercise.

Walters TJ, Ryan KL, Belcher JC, Doyle JM, Tehrany MR, Mason PA

Bioelectromagnetics 19(6):341-53, 1998

Nonuniform heating may result from microwave (MW) irradiation of tissues and is therefore important to investigate in terms of health and safety issues.

Hypothalamic (Thyp), cortical (Tctx), tympanic (Tty), and rectal (Tre) temperatures were measured in rats exposed in the far field, k-polarization (i.e., head pointed toward the transmitter horn and E-field in vertical direction) to two power densities of 2.06 GHz irradiation.

The high-power density (HPM) was 1700 mW/cm2 [specific absorption rate (SAR): hypothalamus 1224 W/kg; cortex 493 W/kg]; the low-power density (LPM) was 170 mW/cm2 (SAR: hypothalamus 122.4 W/kg; cortex 49.3 W/kg).

The increase (rate-of-rise, in degrees C/s) in Thyp was significantly greater than those in Tctx or Tre when rats were exposed to HPM. LPM produced more homogeneous heating. Quantitatively similar results were observed whether rats were implanted with probes in two brain sites or a single probe in one or the other of the two sites. The qualitative difference between regional brain heating was maintained during unrestrained exposure to HPM in the h-polarization (i.e., body parallel to magnetic field).

To compare the temperature changes during MW irradiation with those produced by other modalities of heating, rats were immersed in warm water (44 degrees C, WWI); exposed to a warm ambient environment (50 degrees C, WSED); or exercised on a treadmill (17 m/min 8% grade) in a warm ambient environment (35 degrees C, WEX). WWI produced uniform heating in the regions measured.

Similar rates-of-rise occurred among regions following WSED or WEX, thus maintaining the pre-existing gradient between Thyp and Tctx

These data indicate that HPM produced a 2--2.5-fold difference in the rate-of-heating within brain regions that were separated by only a few millimeters. In contrast, more homogeneous heating was recorded during LPM or nonmicrowave modalities of heating.

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