Study type: Medical/biological study (experimental study)

Mobile phone exposure and spatial memory med./bio.

Published in: Bioelectromagnetics 2009; 30 (1): 59-65

Aim of study (acc. to author)

To investigate the effects of a 2.5 h exposure to radiofrequency fields typical of that emitted from GSM mobile phones on spatial memory performance in subjects with and without self-reported symptoms attributed to mobile phone use.

Background/further details

19 non-symptomatic subjects (7 females) and 23 symptomatic subjects (14 females) were examined during an exposure and a sham exposure condition.



Exposure Parameters
Exposure 1: 884 MHz
Modulation type: pulsed
Exposure duration: continuous for 2.5 h
  • SAR: 1.4 W/kg average over time (10 g) (peak spatial)
  • SAR: 1.95 W/kg peak value (10 g) (non-DTX)
  • SAR: 0.23 W/kg peak value (10 g) (DTX)

General information

Each participant attended a total of three sessions, i.e., habituation, followed by RF or sham exposure in a balanced block design.

Exposure 1

Main characteristics
Frequency 884 MHz
Exposure duration continuous for 2.5 h
Modulation type pulsed
Additional info

random temporal changes between GSM non-DTX and DTX modes with average durations of 11 s and 5 s, respectively

Exposure setup
Exposure source
Chamber The setup was designed to maximize exposure of the brain tissue in the left hemisphere that is exposed during actual usage of GSM phones [Hillert et al., 2008].
Setup A patch antenna on the left side of the head simultaneously applied all possible exposure footprints of mobile phones [Kuster et al., 2004].
Sham exposure A sham exposure was conducted.
Additional info A ceramic plate was attached to the left ear lobe for heating.
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
SAR 1.4 W/kg average over time - 10 g peak spatial
SAR 1.95 W/kg peak value - 10 g non-DTX
SAR 0.23 W/kg peak value - 10 g DTX

Reference articles

  • Hillert L et al. (2008): The effects of 884 MHz GSM wireless communication signals on headache and other symptoms: an experimental provocation study
  • Kuster N et al. (2004): Guidance for exposure design of human studies addressing health risk evaluations of mobile phones

Exposed system:

Methods Endpoint/measurement parameters/methodology

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

Main outcome of study (acc. to author)

Before the exposure there was no difference in performance between groups. After the exposure the symptomatic group improved in performance (shorter distance traveled) while there was no such effect in the non-symptomatic group.
The authors suggested that radiofrequency exposure contributes to a biological arousal improving attention in the symptomatic group and thereby contributing to the improved performance.

Study character:

Study funded by

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