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Bioelectromagnetics. 2007 Apr;28(3):208-13.

Investigation of electric current perception thresholds of different EHS groups.

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Institute of Clinical Engineering, Graz University of Technology, Inffeldgasse 18, A-8010 Graz, Austria.


An increasing number of persons with health symptoms of unclear origin take refuge in the hypothesis that they suffer from electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS). So far EHS is not an accepted diagnosis and there is no validated test to verify the proposed relationship between electromagnetic fields and symptoms. Groups reporting EHS are very heterogeneous but share a belief that they have an increased sensitivity to electromagnetic fields. It was studied to which extent a quantitative indicator for electrosensitivity, the electric current perception threshold, and its variability coefficient, depend on the recruitment strategy for self-declared hypersensitive persons. Individual electrosensitivity was investigated by provocation of the lower arms to directly coupled 50 Hz electric currents. Self-declared EHS persons were selected from members of a self aid group, from responders to a newspaper call, and from persons actively asking for investigations in their search for help. It turned out that quantitative electrosensitivity was quite different among the three groups. It is interesting that the members of the EHS self aid group exhibit a considerable overlap with general population sample. Pooled together it could be shown that hypersensitive persons as a group differ significantly from the general population sample, however with a pronounced overlap with the normal range. It can be concluded that EHS groups are very inhomogeneous and contain numerous persons with no increased ability to perceive low frequency electric or magnetic fields. This investigation shows the importance of the study design, in particular of the recruitment strategies of EHS persons for the final outcome.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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