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Phys Med Biol. 2003 Oct 7;48(19):3143-55.

The relationship of temperature rise to specific absorption rate and current in the human leg for exposure to electromagnetic radiation in the high frequency band.

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National Radiological Protection Board, Chilton, Didcot, Oxfordshire OX11 0RQ, UK.


Of the biological effects of human exposure to radiofrequency and microwave radiation, the best-established are those due to elevation of tissue temperature. To prevent harmful levels of heating, restrictions have been proposed on the specific absorption rate (SAR). However, the relationship between SAR and temperature rise is not an invariant, since not only the heat capacity but also the efficiency of heat dissipation varies between different tissues and exposure scenarios. For small enough SAR, the relationship is linear and may be characterized by a 'heating factor' deltaT/SAR. Under whole-body irradiation the SAR may be particularly high in the ankles due to the concentration of current flowing through a relatively small cross-sectional area. In a previous paper, the author has presented calculations of the SAR distribution in a human leg in the high frequency (HF) band. In this paper, the heating factor for this situation is derived using a finite element approximation of the Pennes bioheat equation. The sensitivity of the results to different blood perfusion rates is investigated, and a simple local thermoregulatory model is applied. Both time-dependent and steady-state solutions are considered. Results confirm the appropriateness of the ICNIRP reference level of 100 mA on current through the leg, but suggest that at higher currents significant thermoregulatory adjustments to muscle blood flow will occur.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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