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Int J Cell Biol. 2012;2012:683897. Epub 2012 Sep 9.

Electromagnetic fields, oxidative stress, and neurodegeneration.

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1
Unit of Radiation Biology and Human Health, ENEA-Casaccia, Rome 00123, Italy.

Abstract

Electromagnetic fields (EMFs) originating both from both natural and manmade sources permeate our environment. As people are continuously exposed to EMFs in everyday life, it is a matter of great debate whether they can be harmful to human health. On the basis of two decades of epidemiological studies, an increased risk for childhood leukemia associated with Extremely Low Frequency fields has been consistently assessed, inducing the International Agency for Research on Cancer to insert them in the 2B section of carcinogens in 2001. EMFs interaction with biological systems may cause oxidative stress under certain circumstances. Since free radicals are essential for brain physiological processes and pathological degeneration, research focusing on the possible influence of the EMFs-driven oxidative stress is still in progress, especially in the light of recent studies suggesting that EMFs may contribute to the etiology of neurodegenerative disorders. This review synthesizes the emerging evidences about this topic, highlighting the wide data uncertainty that still characterizes the EMFs effect on oxidative stress modulation, as both pro-oxidant and neuroprotective effects have been documented. Care should be taken to avoid methodological limitations and to determine the patho-physiological relevance of any alteration found in EMFs-exposed biological system.

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