Study type: Medical/biological study (experimental study)

The effect of mobile phone electromagnetic fields on the alpha rhythm of human electroencephalogram med./bio.

Published in: Bioelectromagnetics 2008; 29 (1): 1-10

Aim of study (acc. to author)

The study was designed to provide a methodologically rigorous test of the hypothesis that mobile phone-exposure increases alpha wave power in the EEG, by employing similar methodologies to Curcio et al. (publication 12357 ), but with a substantially larger sample size.

Background/further details

120 subjects were tested in awake resting position.



Exposure Parameters
Exposure 1: 895 MHz
Modulation type: pulsed
Exposure duration: continuous for 30 min
  • power: 2 W peak value
  • power: 0.25 W mean
  • SAR: 0.674 W/kg maximum (10 g) (high on the cheek bone, midway between the auricle and temple)
  • SAR: 0.11 W/kg maximum (10 g) (in-line with the antenna, approx. over the temporal lobe)

General information

Participants attended two sessions one week apart with a double blind, counterbalanced (left vs. right hemisphere exposure, between subjects), crossover (sham vs. active) design.

Exposure 1

Main characteristics
Frequency 895 MHz
Exposure duration continuous for 30 min
Modulation type pulsed
Pulse width 576 µs
Duty cycle 12.5 %
Repetition frequency 217 Hz
Additional info

GSM without discontinuous transmission (DTX) and adaptive power control (APC) with frequencies of 16 and 217 Hz detected using a pick-up coil at the back of the handset [Andersen and Pedersen, 1997]

Exposure setup
Exposure source
Chamber The participants were seated in a comfortable chair, 1.5 m in front of a computer monitor.
Setup The phone was placed in a cradle over the EEG recording cap, over the right or left temporal region (each for half the subjects), comparable to normal use (in "touch" position according to FCC Guidelines, 2001).
Sham exposure A sham exposure was conducted.
Additional info The handset's audio circuitry was disabled, and padding was placed between the handset and its leather casing to avoid acoustic and thermal cues. The used type of EEG recording cap did not display any EMF pickup within the physiologically important range relevant to this study (0.5-45 Hz) [Wood et al., 2003].
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
power 2 W peak value - - -
power 0.25 W mean - - -
SAR 0.674 W/kg maximum measured 10 g high on the cheek bone, midway between the auricle and temple
SAR 0.11 W/kg maximum measured 10 g in-line with the antenna, approx. over the temporal lobe

Reference articles

Exposed system:

Methods Endpoint/measurement parameters/methodology

Investigated system:
Investigated organ system:
Time of investigation:
  • before exposure
  • during exposure
  • after exposure

Main outcome of study (acc. to author)

The study has replicated previous data of mobile phone-related increases in resting alpha wave, and thus adds strength to the argument at which there are mobile phone-related bioeffects at the low levels that mobile phones operate.
Although the functional significance of this alpha wave change cannot be determined at present, it should be pointed out that alpha wave changes of the magnitude reported in this investigation have not been found to relate to health outcomes, either positive or negative.

Study character:

Study funded by

Related articles