Study type: Medical/biological study (observational study)

Is newborn melatonin production influenced by magnetic fields produced by incubators? med./bio.

Published in: Early Hum Dev 2012; 88 (8): 707-710

Aim of study (acc. to author)

To assess melatonin production in a group of newborns exposed to electromagnetic fields within incubators.

Background/further details

The study group consisted of 28 babies who had spent at least 48 h in incubators. 6-hydroxymelatoninsulfate (6-OHMS) urine excretion (normalized to creatinine) was measured at the end of their stay in the incubators and 48 h later when they have been in cribs where electromagnetic fields were below the detectable limit.
The control group consisted of 27 babies who were not exposed to electromagnetic fields. Two urine samples were collected (taken 48 h apart from each other).



Exposure Parameters
Exposure 1: 50 Hz

Exposure 1

Main characteristics
Frequency 50 Hz
Exposure setup
Exposure source
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
magnetic flux density 0.458 µT - measured - center of the matress (at minimum engine power)
magnetic flux density 0.45 µT - measured - periphery of the matress (at minimum engine power)
magnetic flux density 8.84 µT - measured - center of the matress (at maximum engine power)
magnetic flux density 0.97 µT - measured - periphery of the matress (at maximum engine power)

Reference articles

  • Bellieni CV et al. (2003): Increasing the engine-mattress distance in neonatal incubators: A way to decrease exposure of infants to electromagnetic fields.

Exposed system:

Methods Endpoint/measurement parameters/methodology

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

Main outcome of study (acc. to author)

Mean 6-hydroxymelatoninsulfate values were increased 48 h after the exposed babies were removed from the incubators and put into the cribs. In the control group, mean 6-hydroxymelatoninsulfate values were not significantly different in the first and in the second sample and similar to the first value of the exposed babies in the incubator.
The authors conclude that the transient increase in melatonin production after removing newborns from incubators demonstrates a possible influence of electromagnetic fields on melatonin production in newborns.

Study character:

Study funded by

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