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Electromagn Biol Med. 2008;27(2):83-101. doi: 10.1080/15368370802088758.

The effects of low-frequency environmental-strength electromagnetic fields on brain electrical activity: a critical review of the literature.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, LSU Health Sciences Center, Shreveport, Louisiana 71130-3932, USA.


Reports dealing with the stimulus-response relationship between low-level, low-frequency electromagnetic fields (EMFs) and changes in brain electrical activity permit assessment of the hypothesis that EMFs are detected by the body via the process of sensory transduction. These reports, as well as those involving effects on brain activity observed after a fixed time of exposure, are critically reviewed here. A consistent stimulus-response relationship between EMFs and changes in brain activity has been demonstrated in animal and human subjects. The effects, which consisted of onset and offset evoked potentials, were observed under conditions permitting the inference that the fields were transduced like ordinary stimuli such as light and sound. However, unlike the changes in brain activity induced by these stimuli, the changes induced by EMFs were governed by nonlinear laws. The studies involving attempts to determine whether a period of EMF exposure caused a metabolic effect reflected in pre-exposure/post-exposure differences in brain activity were generally inconclusive.

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