EMF and RF Research Abstracts: Delving into the Science

In an era where electronic and wireless technology have become integral to our daily existence, it’s essential to recognise that every device we use, from our smartphones to Wi-Fi routers, emits varying levels of EMF and RF radiation. AV is dedicated to shedding light on this phenomenon and the scientific research surrounding it.

Welcome to our curated collection of electromagnetic fields (EMF) and radiofrequency (RF) research.

Contrary to common misconceptions, the scientific community has been diligently exploring this domain for several decades, with over 2000 papers published to date.

Here, we present a selection of the abstracts to many of these papers which hopefully offer a glimpse into the vast and intricate landscape of studies on EMF and RF.

Our goal is straightforward: to present a clear and accessible overview of the hard work and discoveries of dedicated researchers from around the globe.

By showcasing these abstracts, we aim to provide a balanced and insightful perspective on the ongoing discussions and findings in this ever-evolving field, and hopefully encourage you to conduct further exploration of the full papers.

Whether you're seeking answers, expanding your knowledge, or simply curious, we invite you to dedicate some time to this section of the website.

Knowledge is power, and we hope our collection will serve as a valuable resource.


Is the brain influenced by a phone call? An EEG study of resting wakefulness. Neurosci Res.53(3):265-270, 2005.

Curcio G, Ferrara M, Moroni F, D'Inzeo G, Bertini M, De Gennaro L.

We recorded the resting electroencephalogram of 20 healthy subjects in order to investigate the effect of electromagnetic field (EMF) exposure on EEG waking activity and its temporal development. The subjects were randomly assigned to two groups and exposed, in double-blind conditions, to a typical mobile phone signal (902.40MHz, modulated at 217Hz, with an average power of 0.25W) before or during the EEG recording session. The results show that, under real exposure as compared to baseline and sham conditions, EEG spectral power was influenced in some bins of the alpha band. This effect was greater when the EMF was on during the EEG recording session than before it. The present data lend further support to the idea that pulsed high- frequency electromagnetic fields can affect normal brain functioning, also if no conclusions can be drawn about the possible health effects.

Psychomotor performance is not influenced by brief repeated exposures to mobile phones. Bioelectromagnetics.29(3):237-241,2008.

Curcio G, Valentini E, Moroni F, Ferrara M, De Gennaro L, Bertini M

The present study investigated the presence of a cumulative effect of brief and repeated exposures to a GSM mobile phone (902.40 MHz, 217 Hz modulated; peak power of 2 W; average power of 0.25 W; SAR = 0.5 W/kg) on psychomotor functions. To this end, after each of 3 15-min exposures, both an acoustic simple reaction time task (SRTT) and a sequential finger tapping task (SFTT) were administered to 24 subjects. The present study was unable to detect the cumulative effects of brief and repeated EMF exposure on human psychomotor performance, although there was a non-statistical trend to shorter reaction times. In summary, these data show an absence of effects with these particular exposure conditions; however, possible cognitive effects induced by different signal characteristics cannot be excluded.

Acute mobile phones exposure affects frontal cortex hemodynamics as evidenced by functional near-infrared spectroscopy. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab.29(5):903-910, 2009.

Curcio G, Ferrara M, Limongi T, Tempesta D, Di Sante G, De Gennaro L, Quaresima V, Ferrari M. 

This study aimed to evaluate by functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), the effects induced by an acute exposure (40 mins) to a GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) signal emitted by a mobile phone (MP) on the oxygenation of the frontal cortex. Eleven healthy volunteers underwent two sessions (Real and Sham exposure) after a crossover, randomized, double-blind paradigm. The whole procedure lasted 60 mins: 10-mins baseline (Bsl), 40-mins (Exposure), and 10-mins recovery (Post- Exp). Together with frontal hemodynamics, heart rate, objective and subjective vigilance, and self-evaluation of subjective symptoms were also assessed. The fNIRS results showed a slight influence of the GSM signal on frontal cortex, with a linear increase in [HHb] as a function of time in the Real exposure condition (F(4,40)=2.67; P=0.04). No other measure showed any GSM exposure-dependent changes. These results suggest that fNIRS is a convenient tool for safely and noninvasively investigating the cortical activation in MP exposure experimental settings. Given the short-term effects observed in this study, the results should be confirmed on a larger sample size and using a multichannel instrument that allows the investigation of a wider portion of the frontal cortex.

Effects of continuous and pulsed 2450-MHz radiation on spontaneous lymphoblastoid transformation of human lymphocytes in vitro. Bioelectromagnetics 13(4):247-259, 1992.

Czerska EM, Elson EC, Davis CC, Swicord ML, Czerski P, 

Normal human lymphocytes were isolated from the peripheral blood of healthy donors. One-ml samples containing (10(6)) cells in chromosome medium 1A were exposed for 5 days to conventional heating or to continuous wave (CW) or pulsed wave (PW) 2450-MHz radiation at non-heating (37 degrees C) and various heating levels (temperature increases of 0.5, 1.0, 1.5, and 2 degrees C). The pulsed exposures involved 1-microsecond pulses at pulse repetition frequencies from 100 to 1,000 pulses per second at the same average SAR levels as the CW exposures. Actual average SARs ranged to 12.3 W/kg. Following termination of the incubation period, spontaneous lymphoblastoid transformation was determined with an image analysis system. The results were compared among each of the experimental conditions and with sham-exposed cultures. At non-heating levels, CW exposure did not affect transformation. At heating levels both conventional and CW heating enhanced transformation to the same extent and correlate with the increases in incubation temperature. PW exposure enhanced transformation at non-heating levels. This finding is significant (P less than .002). At heating levels PW exposure enhanced transformation to a greater extent than did conventional or CW heating. This finding is significant at the .02 level. We conclude that PW 2450-MHz radiation acts differently on the process of lymphoblastoid transformation in vitro compared with CW 2450-MHz radiation at the same average SARs.

High frequency electromagnetic fields (GSM signals) affect gene expression levels in tumor suppressor p53-deficient embryonic stem cells. Bioelectromagnetics 25:296-307, 2004. 

Czyz J, GuanK, ZengQ, NikolovaT, MeisterA, SchönbornF, SchudererJ, KusterN, WobusAM,

Effects of electromagnetic fields (EMF) simulating exposure to the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) signals were studied using pluripotent embryonic stem (ES) cells in vitro. Wild-type ES cells and ES cells deficient for the tumor suppressor p53 were exposed to pulse modulated EMF at 1.71 GHz, lower end of the uplink band of GSM 1800, under standardized and controlled conditions, and transcripts of regulatory genes were analyzed during in vitro differentiation. Two dominant GSM modulation schemes (GSM-217 and GSM-Talk), which generate temporal changes between GSM- Basic (active during talking phases) and GSM-DTX (active during listening phases thus simulating a typical conversation), were applied to the cells at and below the basic safety limits for local exposures as defined for the general public by the International Commission on Nonionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). GSM-217 EMF induced a significant upregulation of mRNA levels of the heat shock protein, hsp70 of p53-deficient ES cells differentiating in vitro, paralleled by a low and transient increase of c-jun, c-myc, and p21 levels in p53-deficient, but not in wild-type cells. No responses were observed in either cell type after EMF exposure to GSM-Talk applied at similar slot-averaged specific absorption rates (SAR), but at lower time-averaged SAR values. Cardiac differentiation and cell cycle characteristics were not affected in embryonic stem and embryonic carcinoma cells after exposure to GSM-217 EMF signals. Our data indicate that the genetic background determines cellular responses to GSM modulated EMF.

Cytogenetic damage in human lymphocytes following GMSK phase modulated microwave exposure. Bioelectromagnetics 23:7-13, 2002. 

D'Ambrosio G, MassaR, Scarfi MR, Zeni O, 

The present study investigated, using in vitro experiments on human lymphocytes, whether exposure to a microwave frequency used for mobile communication, either unmodulated or in presence of phase only modulation, can cause modification of cell proliferation kinetics and/or genotoxic effects, by evaluating the cytokinesis block proliferation index and the micronucleus frequency. In the GSM 1800 mobile communication systems the field is both phase (Gaussian minimum shift keying, GMSK) and amplitude (time domain multiple access, TDMA) modulated. The present study investigated only the effects of phase modulation, and no amplitude modulation was applied. Human peripheral blood cultures were exposed to 1.748 GHz, either continuous wave (CW) or phase only modulated wave (GMSK), for 15 min. The maximum specific absorption rate ( 5 W/kg) was higher than that occurring in the head of mobile phone users; however, no changes were found in cell proliferation kinetics after exposure to either CW or GMSK fields. As far as genotoxicity is concerned, the micronucleus frequency result was not affected by CW exposure; however, a statistically significant micronucleus effect was found following exposure to phase modulated field. These results would suggest a genotoxic power of the phase modulation per se.

Reduced exposure to microwave radiation by rats: frequency specific effects. Prog Clin Biol Res. 257:289-308, 1988.

D'Andrea JA, DeWitt JR, Portuguez LM, Gandhi OP.

Previous research has shown that SAR "hotspots" are induced within the laboratory rat and that the resulting thermal hotspots are not entirely dissipated by bloodflow. Two experiments were conducted to determine if hotspot formation in the body and tail of the rat, which is radiation frequency specific, would have behavioral consequences. In the first experiment rats were placed in a plexiglas cage one side of which, when occupied by the rat, commenced microwave radiation exposure; occupancy of the other side terminated exposure. Groups of rats were tested during a baseline period to determine the naturally preferred side of the cage. Subsequent exposure to 360-MHz, 700-MHz or 2450-MHz microwave radiation was made contingent on preferred-side occupancy. A significant reduction in occupancy of the preferred side of the cage, and hence, microwaves subsequently occurred. Reduced exposure to 360-MHz and 2450-MHz microwaves at 1, 2, 6 and 10 W/kg were significantly different from 700-MHz microwaves. In the second experiment semi-chronic exposures revealed the threshold for reduced exposure of 2450-MHz microwaves to be located between whole-body SAR's of 2.1 and 2.8 W/kg.

Rhesus monkey behavior during exposure to high-peak-power 5.62-GHz microwave pulses. Bioelectromagnetics 15(2):163-176, 1994. 

D'Andrea JA, Thomas A, Hatcher DJ, 

Limits on the exposure to high-peak-power, short-duration microwave pulses have only recently been adopted. Additional data, however, are needed to understand the effects that may be produced by exposure to high-peak-power pulsed microwaves. Four male rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) were trained on an operant task for food pellet reward to investigate the behavioral effects of very high-peak-power 5.62 GHz microwaves. The operant task required monkeys to pull one plastic lever on a variable interval schedule (VI-25 s) and then respond to color signals and pull a second lever to obtain food. The monkeys were conditioned to perform a color discrimination task using one of three colors displayed by a fiber-optic cable. A red signal was the discriminative stimulus for responding on the first lever. A response on the second lever when a green signal was presented (1 s duration) delivered a food pellet. If a response on the second lever was made in the presence of a white signal, a 30-s timeout occurred. While performing the behavioral task, the monkeys were exposed to microwave pulses produced by either a military radar (FPS-26A) operating at 5.62 GHz or the same radar coupled to a Stanford linear energy doubler (SLED) pulse-forming device (ITT-2972) that enhanced peak power by a factor of nine by adding a high power pulse to the radar pulse. The effects of both types of pulses were compared to sham exposure. Peak field power densities tested were 518, 1270, and 2520 W/cm2 for SLED pulses and 56, 128, and 277 W/cm2 for the radar pulses. The microwave pulses (radar or SLED) were delivered at 100 pps (2.8 microseconds radar pulse duration; approximately 50 ns SLED pulse duration) for 20 min and produced averaged whole-body SARs of 2, 4, or 6 W/kg. Compared to sham exposures, significant alterations of lever responding, reaction time, and earned food pellets occurred during microwave exposure at 4 and 6 W/kg but not at 2 W/kg. There were no differences between radar or SLED pulses in producing behavioral effects.

The effect of electromagnetic radiation in the mobile phone range on the behaviour of the rat. Metab Brain Dis. 24(4):629-641, 2009 

Daniels WM, Pitout IL, Afullo TJ, Mabandla MV. 

Electromagnetic radiation (EMR) is emitted from electromagnetic fields that surround power lines, household appliances and mobile phones. Research has shown that there are connections between EMR exposure and cancer and also that exposure to EMR may result in structural damage to neurons. In a study by Salford et al. (Environ Health Perspect 111:881-883, 2003) the authors demonstrated the presence of strongly stained areas in the brains of rats that were exposed to mobile phone EMR. These darker neurons were particularly prevalent in the hippocampal area of the brain. The aim of our study was to further investigate the effects of EMR. Since the hippocampus is involved in learning and memory and emotional states, we hypothesised that EMR will have a negative impact on the subject's mood and ability to learn. We subsequently performed behavioural, histological and biochemical tests on exposed and unexposed male and female rats to determine the effects of EMR on learning and memory, emotional states and corticosterone levels. We found no significant differences in the spatial memory test, and morphological assessment of the brain also yielded non-significant differences between the groups. However, in some exposed animals there were decreased locomotor activity, increased grooming and a tendency of increased basal corticosterone levels. These findings suggested that EMR exposure may lead to abnormal brain functioning.

Transgenic nematodes as biomonitors of microwave-induced stress. Mutat Res 399:55-64, 1998. 

Daniells, C, Duce, I, Thomas, D, Sewell, P, Tattersall, J, de Pomerai, D, 

Transgenic nematodes (Caenorhabditis elegans strain PC72), carrying a stress-inducible reporter gene (Escherichia coli beta-galactosidase) under the control of a C. elegans hsp16 heat-shock promoter, have been used to monitor toxicant responses both in water and soil. Because these transgenic nematodes respond both to heat and toxic chemicals by synthesising an easily detectable reporter product, they afford a useful preliminary screen for stress responses (whether thermal or non-thermal) induced by microwave radiation or other electromagnetic fields. We have used a transverse electromagnetic (TEM) cell fed from one end by a source and terminated at the other end by a matched load. Most studies were conducted using a frequency of 750 MHz, at a nominal power setting of 27 dBm. The TEM cell was held in an incubator at 25 degrees C inside a shielded room; corresponding controls were shielded and placed in the same 25 degrees C incubator; additional baseline controls were held at 15 degrees C (worm growth temperature). Stress responses were measured in terms of beta-galactosidase (reporter) induction above control levels. The time-course of response to continuous microwave radiation showed significant differences from 25 degrees C controls both at 2 and 16 h, but not at 4 or 8 h. Using a 5 x 5 multiwell plate array exposed for 2 h, the 25 microwaved samples showed highly significant responses compared with a similar control array. The wells most strongly affected were those in the rows closest to the source, whereas the most distant row did not rise above control levels, suggesting a shadow effect. These differential responses are difficult to reconcile with general heating effects, although localised power absorption affords a possible explanation. Experiments in which the frequency and/or power settings were varied suggested a greater response at 21 than at 27 dBm, both at 750 and 300 MHz, although extremely variable responses were observed at 24 dBm and 750 MHz. Thus, lower power levels tended, if anything, to induce larger responses (with the above-mentioned exception), which is opposite to the trend anticipated for any simple heating effect. These results are reproducible and data acquisition is both rapid and simple. The evidence accrued to date suggests that microwave radiation causes measurable stress to transgenic nematodes, presumably reflecting increased levels of protein damage within cells (the common signal thought to trigger hsp gene induction). The response levels observed are comparable to those observed with moderate concentrations (ppm) of metal ions such as Zn2+ and Cu2+. We conclude that this approach deserves further and more detailed investigation, but that it has already demonstrated clear biological effects of microwave radiation in terms of the activation of cellular stress responses (hsp gene induction).

Do mobile phone base stations affect sleep of residents? Results from an experimental double-blind sham-controlled field study. Am J Hum Biol. 22(5):613-618, 2010. 

Danker-Hopfe H, Dorn H, Bornkessel C, Sauter C. 

OBJECTIVES: The aim of the present double-blind, sham-controlled, balanced randomized cross-over study was to disentangle effects of electromagnetic fields (EMF) and non-EMF effects of mobile phone base stations on objective and subjective sleep quality. METHODS: In total 397 residents aged 18-81 years (50.9% female) from 10 German sites, where no mobile phone service was available, were exposed to sham and GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications, 900 MHz and 1,800 MHz) base station signals by an experimental base station while their sleep was monitored at their homes during 12 nights. Participants were randomly exposed to real (GSM) or sham exposure for five nights each. Individual measurement of EMF exposure, questionnaires on sleep disorders, overall sleep quality, attitude towards mobile communication, and on subjective sleep quality (morning and evening protocols) as well as objective sleep data (frontal EEG and EOG recordings) were gathered. RESULTS: Analysis of the subjective and objective sleep data did not reveal any significant differences between the real and sham condition. During sham exposure nights, objective and subjective sleep efficiency, wake after sleep onset, and subjective sleep latency were significantly worse in participants with concerns about possible health risks resulting from base stations than in participants who were not concerned. CONCLUSIONS: The study did not provide any evidence for short-term physiological effects of EMF emitted by mobile phone base stations on objective and subjective sleep quality. However, the results indicate that mobile phone base stations as such (not the electromagnetic fields) may have a significant negative impact on sleep quality.

A study on the effect of prolonged mobile phone use on pure tone audiometry thresholds of medical students of Sikkim. J Postgrad Med. 63(4):221-225, 2017. 

Das S, Chakraborty S, Mahanta B. 

INTRODUCTION: Mobile phones have become indispensable for daily activities, and people are exposed to them from an early age. There is, however, concern about the harmful effect of the electromagnetic radiation emitted from the mobile phones.OBJECTIVE: The objective of the study was to study the effect of mobile phone on average pure tone audiometry (PTA) threshold of the person and to study the changes in the pure tone threshold at high frequencies such as 2 kHz, 4 kHz, and 8 kHz among the students with prolonged exposure to mobile phones.METHODOLOGY: A cross- sectional study was conducted among the medical students who have been using mobile phones for the past 5 years. The effect of mobile phones on the PTA threshold in the exposed ear and the nonexposed ear was assessed.RESULTS: The study shows that there is a significant difference in average air conduction (AC) and bone conduction (BC) hearing threshold among the exposed and the nonexposed ears (P < 0.05). A significant rise of both AC and BC threshold at individual frequencies between the exposed and the nonexposed ear is also noted in this study.CONCLUSION: The study conducted shows changes in the hearing threshold of the exposed ear when compared with the nonexposed ear. There are however lot of unanswered questions which provide an interesting avenue for further research. Till concrete evidence is available the only feasible way to control its exposure is to limit the duration of usage of mobile phones.

Effect of mobile phone exposure on apoptotic glial cells and status of oxidative stress in rat brain. Electromagn Biol Med. 28(4):342-354, 2009.

Dasdag S, Akdag MZ, Ulukaya E, Uzunlar AK, Ocak AR.

The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of mobile phone exposure on glial cells in brain. The study carried out on 31 Wistar Albino adult male rats. The rat heads in a carousel exposed to 900 MHz microwave. For the study group (n:14), rats exposed to the radiation 2 h per day (7 days in a week) for 10 months. For the sham group (n:7), rats were placed into the carousel and the same procedure was applied except that the generator was turned off. For the cage control (n:10), nothing applied to rats in this group. In this study, rats were euthanized after 10 months of exposure periods and brains were removed. Brain tissues were immunohistochemically stained for the active (cleaved) caspase-3, which is a well-known apoptosis marker, and p53. The expression of the proteins was evaluated by a semi-quantitative scoring system. However, total antioxidative capacity (TAC), catalase, total oxidant status (TOS), and oxidative stress index were measured in rat brain. Final score for apoptosis in the exposed group was significantly lower than the sham (p < 0.001) and the cage control groups (p < 0.01). p53 was not significantly changed by the exposure (p > 0.05). The total antioxidant capacity and catalase in the experimental group was found higher than that in the sham group (p < 0.001, p < 0.05). In terms of the TOS and oxidative stress index, there was no statistically significant difference between exposure and sham groups (p > 0.05). In conclusion, the final score for apoptosis, total antioxidant capacity and catalase in rat brain might be altered by 900 MHz radiation produced by a generator to represent exposure of global systems for mobile communication (GSM) cellular phones.

Effect of 900 MHz radio frequency radiation on beta amyloid protein, protein carbonyl, and malondialdehyde in the brain. Electromagn Biol Med. 31(1):67-74, 2012. 

Dasdag S, Akdag MZ, Kizil G, Kizil M, Cakir DU, Yokus B. 

Recently, many studies have been carried out in relation to 900 MHz radiofrequency radiation (RF) emitted from a mobile phone on the brain. However, there is little data concerning possible mechanisms between long-term exposure of RF radiation and biomolecules in brain. Therefore, we aimed to investigate long-term effects of 900 MHz radiofrequency radiation on beta amyloid protein, protein carbonyl, and malondialdehyde in the rat brain. The study was carried out on 17 Wistar Albino adult male rats. The rat heads in a carousel were exposed to 900 MHz radiofrequency radiation emitted from a generator, simulating mobile phones. For the study group (n: 10), rats were exposed to the radiation 2 h per day (7 days a week) for 10 months. For the sham group (n: 7), rats were placed into the carousel and the same procedure was applied except that the generator was turned off. In this study, rats were euthanized after 10 months of exposure and their brains were removed. Beta amyloid protein, protein carbonyl, and malondialdehyde levels were found to be higher in the brain of rats exposed to 900 MHz radiofrequency radiation. However, only the increase of protein carbonyl in the brain of rats exposed to 900 MHz radiofrequency radiation was found to be statistically significant (p<0.001). In conclusion, 900 MHz radiation emitted from mobile/cellular phones can be an agent to alter some biomolecules such as protein. However, further studies are necessary.