Study type: Epidemiological study (observational study)

Memory performance, wireless communication and exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields: A prospective cohort study in adolescents. epidem.

Published in: Environ Int 2015; 85: 343-351

Aim of study (acc. to author)

A prospective cohort study was conducted in Switzerland to investigate whether memory performance in adolescents is affected by cumulative exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields from wireless communication devices.

Further details

Memory performance was assessed with a standardized, computerized cognitive test battery (Intelligenz-Struktur-Test 2000R).
Further results of the HERMES (Health Effects Related to Mobile phonE use in adolescentS) study are published on behavioral problems and concentration capacity by Roser et al. (2016), on well-being in relation to fixed site transmitters by Schoeni et al. (2016) and on subjective symptoms associated with mobile phone use Schoeni et al. (2016).

Endpoint/type of risk estimation

Type of risk estimation:

Exposure

Assessment

Exposure groups

Group Description
Reference group 1 self-reported duration data traffic on mobile phone (min/day): ≤ median (low)
Group 2 self-reported duration data traffic on mobile phone (min/day): > 50th - ≤ 75th percentile (medium)
Group 3 self-reported duration data traffic on mobile phone (min/day): > 75th percentile (high)
Reference group 4 self-reported duration cordless phone calls (min/day): ≤ median (low)
Group 5 self-reported duration cordless phone calls (min/day): > 50th - ≤ 75th percentile (medium)
Group 6 self-reported duration cordless phone calls (min/day): > 75th percentile (high)
Reference group 7 self-reported duration mobile phone calls (min/day): ≤ median (low)
Group 8 self-reported duration mobile phone calls (min/day): > 50th - ≤ 75th percentile (medium)
Group 9 self-reported duration mobile phone calls (min/day): > 75th percentile (high)
Reference group 10 operator data- based volume data traffic on mobile phone (MB/day): ≤ median (low)
Group 11 operator data- based volume data traffic on mobile phone (MB/day): > 50th - ≤ 75th percentile (medium)
Group 12 operator data- based volume data traffic on mobile phone (MB/day): > 75th percentile (high)
Reference group 13 operator data- based duration mobile phone calls (min/day): ≤ median (low)
Group 14 operator data- based duration mobile phone calls (min/day): > 50th - ≤ 75th percentile (medium)
Group 15 operator data- based duration mobile phone calls (min/day): > 75th percentile (high)

Population

Study size

Type Value
Participants 439
Participation rate 19 %
Evaluable 425
Statistical analysis method: ( adjustment: )

Conclusion (acc. to author)

Cumulative exposure over one year was related to a decrease in figural memory performance in relation to various radiofrequency electromagnetic field dose measures. No association was observed for verbal memory performance.
The authors concluded that a change in memory performance over one year was negatively associated with cumulative duration of mobile phone and cordless phone use and more strongly with radiofrequency electromagnetic field dose. This may indicate that exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields affects memory performance.

Study funded by

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