Study type: Medical/biological study (experimental study)

Effects of exposure to 50 Hz magnetic field of 1mT on the performance of detour learning task by chicks. med./bio.

Published in: Brain Res Bull 2007; 74 (1-3): 178-182

Aim of study (acc. to author)

To study the effects of exposure to an extremely low frequency magnetic field on learning and memory in chicks.

Background/further details

Detour behaviour is the ability of an animal to reach a stimulus (goal) when there is an obstacle between the subject and the stimulus. Detour learning in chicks has been used as a functional test for the development of nervous system.
Since the sensitive phase for spatial memory development is around post hatch day 11, 32 chicks were exposed to 50 Hz magnetic fields before and after day 11 (for about 7 days, from day 9 until day 14 post hatch) and the detour learning task was performed (daily). 32 chicks were divided into 4 groups: 1) exposure group (20 h/day); 2) sham exposure; 3) exposure group (50 min/day); 4) sham exposure.



Exposure Parameters
Exposure 1: 50 Hz
Exposure duration: 20 h/day or 50 min/day for 6 days

General information

chickens were treated in four groups: 1) EMF exposure for 20 h/day 2) sham exposure for 20 h/day 3) EMF exposure for 50 min/day 4) sham exposure for 50 min/day

Exposure 1

Main characteristics
Frequency 50 Hz
Exposure duration 20 h/day or 50 min/day for 6 days
Exposure setup
Exposure source
Setup coil consisting of a 70 cm x 40 cm x 43 cm plastic frame and 4 layers of 250 turns each; 60 cm x 30 cm x 43 cm exposure area inside the coil; chickens placed in a 50 cm x 25 cm x 25 cm wooden box in the exposure area
Sham exposure A sham exposure was conducted.
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
magnetic flux density 1 mT - - - -

Reference articles

  • Lei Y et al. (2005): Effects of extremely low-frequency electromagnetic fields on morphine-induced conditioned place preferences in rats.

Exposed system:

Methods Endpoint/measurement parameters/methodology

Investigated system:
Time of investigation:
  • during exposure

Main outcome of study (acc. to author)

The data showed that 20 h/day exposure to a low frequency magnetic field induced a significant impairment in detour learning (the chicks needed more time to learn the task than the controls) but 50 min/day exposure had no effect.
The data provide the evidence of possible cognitive and biological effects of exposure to extremely low frequency magnetic fields.

Study character:

Study funded by

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