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Medical/biological study (experimental study)

Effects of 2G and 3G mobile phones on performance and electrophysiology in adolescents, young adults and older adults.

Published in: Clin Neurophysiol 2011; 122 (11): 2203-2216

Aim of study (acc. to author)

To examine electrophysiological, sensory and cognitive processes in adolescents, young adults and older adults, when exposed to a radiofrequency field.
Background/further details: 41 adolescents (13-15 years), 42 adults (19-40 years), and 20 elderly (55-70 years) were tested. Each participant received sham exposure, 2nd generation (2G) GSM, and 3rd generation (3G) W-CDMA exposures, separated by at least four days.

Endpoint

Exposure

Exposure Parameters
Exposure 1: 894.6 MHz
Modulation type: pulsed
Exposure duration: continuous for 55 min
Exposure 2: 1,900 MHz
Exposure duration: continuous for 55 min
  • power: 125 mW average over time
  • SAR: 1.7 W/kg peak value (10 g)
General information
During all experiments 50 dB white noise was produced to have a constant noise level.
Exposure 1
Main characteristics
Frequency 894.6 MHz
Type
Exposure duration continuous for 55 min
Additional info 2G mobile phone
Modulation
Modulation type pulsed
Repetition frequency 217 Hz
Exposure setup
Exposure source
  • Nokia 6110 handset
Chamber electromagnetic and sound shielded room; subjects were seated in a chair with their eyes approximately 60 cm from the centre of a computer screen
Setup 2G handset was placed in a cradle on one side of the head and the 3G handset on the other side, both in "touch" position; speaker was removed from the phone
Sham exposure A sham exposure was conducted.
Parameters
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
power 2 W peak value - - -
power 250 mW mean - - -
SAR 0.7 W/kg peak value measured and calculated 10 g -
Exposure 2
Main characteristics
Frequency 1,900 MHz
Type
Exposure duration continuous for 55 min
Additional info 3G mobile phone
Exposure setup
Exposure source
Chamber electromagnetic and sound shielded room; subjects were seated in a chair with their eyes approximately 60 cm from the centre of a computer screen
Setup 3G handset was placed in a cradle on one side of the head and the 2G handset on the other side, both in "touch" position; speaker was removed from the phone; metalic handset with shape and size of a typical mobile phone handset; monopole antenna inside the handset fed by an external RF source suppling a W-CDMA signal
Sham exposure A sham exposure was conducted.
Parameters
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
power 125 mW average over time - - -
SAR 1.7 W/kg peak value measured and calculated 10 g -
Exposed system:

Methods Endpoint/measurement parameters/methodology

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

Main outcome of study (acc. to author)

Oddball task: Cognition: Neither the accuracy nor the reaction time differed between the sham exposed, 2G or 3G group. No age dependent effects were found. Electrophysiology: An augmented N100 amplitude was observed in the 2G condition compared to the sham condition (independent of age group). No other differences in the amplitudes and latencies in the EEG were observed between 2G, 3G and sham exposure.
N-back task: Cognition: The accuracy in the adolescents was significant worse in the 3G exposed group than in the sham exposed group, but not in the other age groups. No differences between sham exposure and 2G exposure occurred. Electrophysiology: Delayed ERD/ERS responses of the alpha wave power were found in both 3G and 2G conditions compared to the sham condition (independent of age group).
The authors conclude that this study provides support for an effect of radiofrequency exposure on human cognitive function and on electrophysiological processes.
Study character:

Study funded by

  • National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), Australia
  • GSM Association, UK/Ireland

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