A team of independent scientists at the University of Essex tested 44 people who had previously reported symptoms or sensitivity to mobile phone technology, and 114 people who had not reported any health effects (controls), at a specially-designed laboratory.
The three-year study found that physiological measures such as heart rate, blood pressure and skin conductance were not affected by whether the mast was switched on or off, and did not detect any significant effects in either sensitive or control participants between GSM (conventional) exposure and no exposure.
When both sensitive and control participants were exposed to a 3G (UMTS) signal, neither the physiological measures nor the number of reported symptoms increased. However, the sensitive group did report increased levels of arousal when exposed to 3G, but further analysis suggested that this was related to the fact that a higher proportion of sensitive people received the UMTS signal during their first 50-minute testing session. All other measures did not differ between the 3G and the sham conditions.
All participants were tested in several different sessions. In open provocation tests, when both participant and experimenter knew whether the signal was on or off, sensitive individuals reported lower levels of well-being and more symptoms when the signal was on. This confirmed that the laboratory conditions did not prevent them from experiencing typical symptoms in response to mobile phone masts.
However, when tests were carried out under double-blind conditions, where neither experimenter nor participant knew whether the signal was on or off, the number of symptoms reported was not related to whether the mast was on or off. Two of the 44 sensitive individuals correctly judged whether the mast was on or off in all six tests, compared with five out of 114 control participants. This proportion is what is expected by chance and was not increased in the sensitive group.
The study found that, compared with controls, sensitive individuals reported more symptoms and greater severity of symptoms, as well as higher skin conductance (which is a good measure of physiological response to environmental stressors), regardless of whether the signal was on or off. Hence, the range of symptoms and physiological response does not appear to be related to the presence of either GSM or 3G signals.
Principal investigator Professor Elaine Fox explained: ‘It is clear that sensitive individuals are suffering real symptoms and often have a poor quality of life. It is now important to determine what other factors could be causing these symptoms, so appropriate research studies and treatment strategies can be developed.’
The results are consistent with the only other published large-scale study of the effects of short-term exposure to mobile phone masts with sensitive individuals (published in Environmental Health Perspectives by Regel et al, 2006).
Dr James Rubin, of the Mobile Phones Research Unit at Kings College London, who has reviewed 31 blind and double-blind studies carried out under controlled laboratory conditions, said: ‘The Essex study is one of the largest and most detailed of these experiments and its findings, that mobile phone signals are not responsible for the symptoms that some people describe, are in line with those from most other previous experiments. This should be reassuring news for anyone who is concerned about the possible short-term health effects of masts.’
The multi-disciplinary scientific research team at Essex included cognitive psychologists, electronic and biomedical engineers and a medical doctor. Testing took place in the Electromagnetics and Health Laboratory at the University’s Colchester campus. The exposure system was provided by Red-M, and the accuracy of both the exposure system and the testing environment was confirmed by the National Physical Laboratory.
The study was funded by the Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research (MTHR) programme (www.mthr.org.uk). The results are published online today by the journal Environmental Health Perspectives (www.ehponline.org).
The Essex research team is now undertaking an MTHR-funded study into the short-term health effects of exposure to TETRA mobile radio masts, which are used for the emergency services’ communications systems.
Sarah Mills | alfa
Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung
Scientists reveal source of human heartbeat in 3-D
07.08.2017 | University of Manchester
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
23.08.2017 | Life Sciences
23.08.2017 | Life Sciences
23.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy