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Bioelectromagnetics. 2003 May;24(4):223-30.

1439 MHz pulsed TDMA fields affect performance of rats in a T-maze task only when body temperature is elevated.

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Department of Surgical Oncology, Graduate School of Medicine, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan.


This study sought to clarify the effects of exposure to electromagnetic waves (EMW) used in cellular phones on learning and memory processes. Sprague-Dawley rats were exposed for either 1 h daily for 4 days or for 4 weeks to a pulsed 1439 MHz time division multiple access (TDMA) field in a carousel type exposure system. At the brain, average specific absorption rate (SAR) was 7.5 W/kg, and the whole body average SAR was 1.7 W/kg. Other subjects were exposed at the brain average SAR of 25 W/kg and the whole body average SAR of 5.7 W/kg for 45 min daily for 4 days. Learning and memory were evaluated by reversal learning in a food rewarded T-maze, in which rats learned the location of food (right or left) by using environmental cues. The animals exposed to EMW with the brain average SAR of 25 W/kg for 4 days showed statistically significant decreases in the transition in number of correct choices in the reversal task, compared to sham exposed or cage control animals. However, rats exposed to the brain average SAR of 7.5 W/kg for either 4 days or for 4 weeks showed no T-maze performance impairments. Intraperitoneal temperatures, as measured by a fiber optic thermometer, increased in the rats exposed to the brain average SAR of 25 W/kg but remained the same for the brain average SAR of 7.5 W/kg. The SAR of a standard cellular phone is restricted to a maximum of 2 W/kg averaged over 10 g tissue. These results suggest that the exposure to a TDMA field at levels about four times stronger than emitted by cellular phones does not affect the learning and memory processes when there are no thermal effects.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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