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Bioelectromagnetics. 2009 Oct;30(7):556-63. doi: 10.1002/bem.20504.

Short-term exposure to mobile phone base station signals does not affect cognitive functioning or physiological measures in individuals who report sensitivity to electromagnetic fields and controls.

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Rosemead School of Psychology, Biola University, La Mirada, California, USA.


Individuals who report sensitivity to electromagnetic fields often report cognitive impairments that they believe are due to exposure to mobile phone technology. Previous research in this area has revealed mixed results, however, with the majority of research only testing control individuals. Two studies using control and self-reported sensitive participants found inconsistent effects of mobile phone base stations on cognitive functioning. The aim of the present study was to clarify whether short-term (50 min) exposure at 10 mW/m(2) to typical Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM) and Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) base station signals affects attention, memory, and physiological endpoints in sensitive and control participants. Data from 44 sensitive and 44 matched-control participants who performed the digit symbol substitution task (DSST), digit span task (DS), and a mental arithmetic task (MA), while being exposed to GSM, UMTS, and sham signals under double-blind conditions were analyzed. Overall, cognitive functioning was not affected by short-term exposure to either GSM or UMTS signals in the current study. Nor did exposure affect the physiological measurements of blood volume pulse (BVP), heart rate (HR), and skin conductance (SC) that were taken while participants performed the cognitive tasks.

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