High-frequency electromagnetic fields can negatively affect the development of memory performance of certain brain regions exposed during cell phone use. These are the results of a study of almost 700 young people in Switzerland. The study, conducted by the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH), will be published on Thursday, July 1
The rapid development of information and communication technologies (ICT) is accompanied by an increase in exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) in daily life. The most relevant source of brain exposure is the use of a cell phone near the head. Several studies have been performed to identify possible health effects of RF-EMF, although the results are not clear.
Research by scientists from the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) investigated the relationship between RF exposure -EMF of wireless communication devices and memory performance in adolescents. The study follows a report in the scientific journal Environment International from 2015 with twice the sample size and recent information on the absorption of RF-EMF in brains of adolescents during various types of wireless communication devices use. These are the world's first epidemiological studies to estimate the cumulative RF-EMF brain dose in adolescents.
Media Use and Brain Burden in Young Adults
The study published on July 19, 2018 found these cumulative A HF-EMF brain burden of mobile phone use over a year may adversely affect the development of figurative memory adolescents, confirming earlier results published in 2015. The figural memory is mainly in the right brain and in connection with RF-EMF was more pronounced in adolescents with the mobile phone on the right side of the head. "This may indicate that RF-EMF actually absorbed by the brain is responsible for the observed associations." said Martin Röösli, Head of Environmental Impact and Health at Swiss TPH
Other aspects of wireless communication, such as sending text messages, playing games or surfing the Internet, cause only low levels of RF-EMF exposure to the brain and were not associated with it the development of memory. "A unique feature of this study is the use of objectively collected mobile phone user data from mobile operators." said Roosli. He emphasized that further research is needed to rule out the influence of other factors. "For example, the study outcomes may have been influenced by puberty, which affects both cell phone use and the participant's cognitive and behavioral state."
Data from the Health Effects Study on Mobile Phones in Adolescents (HERMES) examined the relationship between exposure to RF-EMF and the memory development of nearly 700 adolescents over the course of a year. Participants aged 12 to 17 years were recruited in the urban and rural areas of German-speaking Switzerland from grade 7 to grade 9
Minimization of the risk of RF-EMF exposure
The Potential Impact RF EMF exposure to the brain is a relatively new field of scientific investigation. "It is not yet clear how RF-EMF could possibly affect brain processes or how relevant our results are in the long term," Röösli said. "Potential risks to the brain can be minimized by using headphones or the speaker while talking on the phone, especially when the network quality is low and the mobile is working at peak performance."
The exposure of European children to electromagnetic fields is below the limits
Foerster M., Thielens A., Joseph W., Eeftens M., Röösli M. (2018) A prospective cohort study on the memory performance of adolescents and the individual brain dose of microwave radiation from wireless communication. Environmental Health Perspectives . Draft (to be released on Monday, July 23)
Schoeni A., Roser K., Röösli M. (2015) Memory Performance, Wireless Communication and Exposure to High Frequency Electromagnetic Fields: A Prospective Cohort Study among Adolescents. Environment International. Volume 85. Pages 343-351. DOI: 10.1016 / j.envint.2015.09.025