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Electromagn Biol Med. 2009;28(3):250-74. doi: 10.3109/15368370902918912.

The effects of mobile-phone electromagnetic fields on brain electrical activity: a critical analysis of the literature.

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


We analyzed the reports in which human brain electrical activity was compared between the presence and absence of radio-frequency and low-frequency electromagnetic fields (EMFs) from mobile phones, or between pre- and post-exposure to the EMFs. Of 55 reports, 37 claimed and 18 denied an EMF-induced effect on either the baseline electro encephalogram (EEG), or on cognitive processing of visual or auditory stimuli as reflected in changes in event-related potentials. The positive reports did not adequately consider the family-wise error rate, the presence of spike artifacts in the EEG, or the confounding role of the two different EMFs. The negative reports contained neither positive controls nor power analyses. Almost all reports were based on the incorrect assumption that the brain was in equilibrium with its surroundings. Overall, the doubt regarding the existence of reproducible mobile-phone EMFs on brain activity created by the reports appeared to legitimate the knowledge claims of the mobile-phone industry. However, it funded, partly or wholly, at least 87% of the reports. From an analysis of their cognitive framework, the common use of disclaimers, the absence of information concerning conflicts of interest, and the industry's donations to the principal EMF journal, we inferred that the doubt was manufactured by the industry. The crucial scientific question of the pathophysiology of mobile-phone EMFs as reflected in measurements of brain electrical activity remains unanswered, and essentially unaddressed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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