Study type: Medical/biological study (experimental study)

Effect of a single 30 min UMTS mobile phone-like exposure on the thermal pain threshold of young healthy volunteers. med./bio.

Published in: Bioelectromagnetics 2013; 34 (7): 530-541

Aim of study (acc. to author)

To examine the effects of UMTS exposure on the thermal pain threshold in humans.

Background/further details

A group of 22 students was tested for their thermal pain threshold by heat stimulation of two fingers. Temperature was increased at a rate of 5°C per second. The probands performed the test two times, divided by one week. Hence, every proband was UMTS and sham exposed, but not aware of the order. Every proband performed 5 blocks of testing at one day of the experiment, every block consisting of 3 trials per finger: 1.) control block, 2./3.) block during the exposure/sham exposure period (at the beginning and at the end), 4.) block 30 minutes after the exposure/sham exposure period and 5.) block 60 minutes after the exposure/sham exposure period.
Before UMTS-exposure, the heat stimulation device was validated in a positive control, using another group of students, where thermal pain was induced by topical capsaicin (component of chili peppers, produces a sensation of burning on the skin) treatment.

Endpoint

Exposure

Exposure Parameters
Exposure 1: 1,947 MHz
Exposure duration: continuous for 30 minutes
  • SAR: 1.75 W/kg average over mass (1 g) (at a depth of 2 cm from the shell surface of the phantom)
  • SAR: 0.73 W/kg average over mass (10 g) (at a depth of 2 cm from the shell surface of the phantom)
  • SAR: 2.75 W/kg (at the skin of the pinna)

Exposure 1

Main characteristics
Frequency 1,947 MHz
Type
Exposure duration continuous for 30 minutes
Exposure setup
Exposure source
Setup exposure device was based on a dual-band patch antenna (31 mm diameter, 0.5 mm thick; incapsulated in a 40 mm diameter, 7 mm thick (1 mm at application side) transparent plastic capsule with styrofoam isolation) attached to a UMTS mobile phone connected by a serial cable to a personal computer and controlled by software; patch antenna was mounted on a plastic headset next to the right ear, mimicking the normal use of mobile phones
Sham exposure A sham exposure was conducted.
Parameters
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
SAR 1.75 W/kg average over mass measured 1 g at a depth of 2 cm from the shell surface of the phantom
SAR 0.73 W/kg average over mass measured 10 g at a depth of 2 cm from the shell surface of the phantom
SAR 2.75 W/kg - estimated - at the skin of the pinna

Reference articles

  • Trunk A et al. (2013): No effects of a single 3G UMTS mobile phone exposure on spontaneous EEG activity, ERP correlates, and automatic deviance detection.
  • Parazzini M et al. (2010): Absence of short-term effects of UMTS exposure on the human auditory system.
  • Stefanics G et al. (2008): Effects of twenty-minute 3G mobile phone irradiation on event related potential components and early gamma synchronization in auditory oddball paradigm.

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 exposure caused a measurable desensitization effect through significantly increasing the thermal pain threshold on the contralateral side of exposure. In parallel, the subjective pain perception increased in the block at the end of the irradiation (block 3) for the sham exposure condition. Altogether, the data indicate that the overall subjective sensitization to repeated thermal stimulation was attenuated in the UMTS exposure group.

Study character:

Study funded by

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