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Idiopathic environmental intolerance attributed to electromagnetic fields: physiological and psychological aspects
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Occupational and Enviromental Medicine.
2008 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis aims to increase the knowledge on people with symptoms attributed to electromagnetic fields (EMF) by investigating the effects of EMF exposure and by additional description of the heterogeneous group of people reporting EMF-related symptoms.

The effect of mobile phone (MP)-like radio frequency (RF) fields on symptoms, autonomic nervous system (ANS) parameters, short-term memory, and reaction time in persons with MP-related symptoms (MP participants) was investigated in a provocation study. A second provocation study investigated the effect of similar exposure on serum concentration of biomarkers in persons with atopic dermatitis.

No effect of exposure was detected in either study. MP participants displayed changes in heart rate variability (HRV) during cognitive tests, but not during rest. This contrasts with earlier findings, participants with symptoms attributed to EMF sources in general (EHS participants) displayed an elevated sympathetic nervous system activity both during cognitive tests and during rest.

Proposed differences between subgroups of persons with EMF-related symptoms with respect to symptoms, personality traits and stress were investigated in a questionnaire study. MP participants reported primarily symptoms from the head; EHS participants reported symptoms from many organ systems. Furthermore, EHS participants reported higher levels of anxiety, depression, stress, and exhaustion when compared with a reference group. MP participants reported higher levels of anxiety and exhaustion only.

In a pilot study, 24-hour and short-term HRV were investigated in EHS participants, to examine whether the previously observed sympathovagal imbalance would still be present. There was a tendency toward increased parasympathetic activity compared with earlier recordings, and a reduction of symptoms. Twenty-four hour and short-term recordings were fairly similar for each participant; however, there were large between-subject differences.

The results do not support the hypothesis of effects of MP-like RF exposure on symptoms, ANS activity, CFFT, cognitive function, or biomarkers. However, they do support the hypothesis that persons with different symptom attribution (MP and EHS) may differ also in ANS activity and psychological aspects.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Yrkes- och miljömedicin , 2008. , 60 p.
Series
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 1221
Keyword [en]
electrical hypersensitivity, EHS, mobile phone, MP, heart rate variability, HRV, provocation study, radiofrequency field
Research subject
Occupational and Environmental Medicine
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-1886ISBN: 978-91-7263-677-3 OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-1886DiVA: diva2:142316
Public defence
2008-11-07, sal 933, plan 9, Tandläkarhögskolan, by 1D, NUS, Umeå, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Available from: 2008-10-20 Created: 2008-10-20 Last updated: 2010-01-18Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Psychophysiological tests and provocation of subjects with mobile phone related symptoms.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Psychophysiological tests and provocation of subjects with mobile phone related symptoms.
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2006 (English)In: Bioelectromagnetics, ISSN 0197-8462, Vol. 27, no 3, 204-214 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Keyword
Adult, Aged, Cellular Phone, Cognition/*radiation effects, Cognition Disorders/*diagnosis/*etiology/physiopathology, Female, Humans, Male, Microwaves/*adverse effects, Middle Aged, Neuropsychological Tests, Psychophysiologic Disorders/*diagnosis/*etiology/physiopathology, Questionnaires, Risk Assessment/methods, Risk Factors
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-5995 (URN)16304699 (PubMedID)
Available from: 2007-12-07 Created: 2007-12-07 Last updated: 2012-02-20Bibliographically approved
2. No effect of mobile phone-like RF exposure on patients with atopic dermatitis.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>No effect of mobile phone-like RF exposure on patients with atopic dermatitis.
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2008 (English)In: Bioelectromagnetics, ISSN 1521-186X, Vol. 29, no 5, 353-362 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study investigates the effect of exposure to a mobile phone-like radiofrequency (RF) electromagnetic field on people with atopic dermatitis (AD). Fifteen subjects with AD were recruited and matched with 15 controls without AD. The subjects were exposed for 30 min to an RF field at 1 W/kg via an indoor base station antenna attached to a 900 MHz GSM mobile phone. Blood samples for ELISA analysis of the concentration of substance P (SP), tumor necrosis factor receptor 1 (TNF R1), and brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in serum were drawn before and after the provocation (exposure/sham). Baseline heart rate and heart rate variability, local blood flow, and electrodermal activity were also recorded. No significant differences between the subject groups were found for baseline neurophysiological data. The cases displayed a serum concentration of TNF R1 significantly higher than the control subjects and a significantly lower serum concentration of BDNF in the baseline condition. For SP there was no difference between groups. However, no effects related to RF exposure condition were encountered for any of the measured substances. As to symptoms, a possible correlation with exposure could not be evaluated, due to too few symptom reports. The result of the study does not support the hypothesis of an effect of mobile phone-like RF exposure on serum levels of SP, TNF R1, and BDNF in persons with AD.

Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-20585 (URN)10.1002/bem.20402 (DOI)18240288 (PubMedID)
Available from: 2009-03-23 Created: 2009-03-23 Last updated: 2011-08-29
3. Symptoms, personality traits, and stress in people with mobile phone-related symptoms and electromagnetic hypersensitivity
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Symptoms, personality traits, and stress in people with mobile phone-related symptoms and electromagnetic hypersensitivity
2010 (English)In: Journal of Psychosomatic Research, ISSN 0022-3999, E-ISSN 1879-1360, Vol. 68, no 1, 37-45 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Some people report symptoms that they associate with electromagnetic field (EMF) exposure. These symptoms may be related to specific EMF sources or to electrical equipment in general (perceived electromagnetic hypersensitivity, EHS). Research and clinical observations suggest a difference between mobile phone (MP)-related symptoms and EHS with respect to symptom prevalence, psychological factors, and health prognosis. This study assessed prevalence of EMF-related and EMF-nonrelated symptoms, anxiety, depression, somatization, exhaustion, and stress in people with MP-related symptoms or EHS versus a population-based sample and a control sample without EMF-related symptoms.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2010
Keyword
Anxiety, Environmental illness, Environmental intolerance, Symptomatology, Stress
National Category
Environmental Health and Occupational Health
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-30423 (URN)10.1016/j.jpsychores.2009.06.009 (DOI)000273028700006 ()
Available from: 2009-12-22 Created: 2009-12-22 Last updated: 2011-10-26Bibliographically approved
4. Heart rate variability in persons with perceived electromagnetic hypersensitivity: short-term and follow-up of 24-h recordings
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Heart rate variability in persons with perceived electromagnetic hypersensitivity: short-term and follow-up of 24-h recordings
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Manuscript (Other academic)
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-3558 (URN)
Available from: 2008-10-20 Created: 2008-10-20 Last updated: 2010-01-13Bibliographically approved

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