eesti teaduste
akadeemia kirjastus
Estonian Journal of Engineering

Effect of modulated microwave radiation on electroencephalographic rhythms and cognitive processes; pp. 91–106

Full article in PDF format | doi: 10.3176/eng.2008.2.01

Hiie Hinrikus, Maie Bachmann, Jaanus Lass, Viiu Tuulik

This paper is a review of the studies performed on microwave effects on resting electroencephalography (EEG) and visual memory and information processing during the last ten years. Some earlier results, obtained at the Biomedical Engineering Centre of the Tallinn University of Technology are reevaluated and generalized. Microwave radiation of 450 MHz, modulated at 7, 14, 21, 40, 70, 217 and 1000 Hz was applied. The calculated spatial peak SAR, averaged over 1 g, was 0.303 W/kg. The developed new methods of EEG analysis can detect small changes in the EEG signals caused by microwave exposure. Microwave exposure causes most remarkable increase in the EEG alpha power (reported also by other authors) and smaller increase in the beta power, detected by sensitive methods. The obtained results showed that the effect of microwave radiation depends on the modulation frequency and, consequently, has non-thermal origin. Sensitivity to microwave esposure is individual, the rate of the subjects significantly affected was 13–30% for different groups. The physiological adaptation of the brain compensates and even overcompensates the effect of the microwave exposure. The results confirm that the microwave effect is not linearly related to the intensity of the applied field. The changes in human performance of visual memory tasks and visual information processing are small, but statistically significant (p < 0.05).

  1. Cook, C. M., Saucier, D. M., Thomas, A. W. and Prato, F. S. Exposure to ELF magnetic and ELF-modulated radiofrequency fields: the time course of physiological and cognitive effects observed in recent studies (2001–2005). Bioelectromagnetics, 2006, 27, 613–627.

  2. Reiser, H., Dimpfel, W. and Schober, F. The influence of electromagnetic fields on human brain activity. Eur. J. Med. Res., 1995, 1, 27–32.

  3. Mann, K. and Roschke, J. Effects of pulsed high-frequency electromagnetic fields on human sleep. Neuropsychobiology, 1996, 33, 41–47.

  4. Borbely, A. A., Huber, R., Graf, T., Fuchs, B., Gallmann, E. and Achermann, P. Pulsed high-frequency electromagnetic field affects human sleep and sleep electroencephalogram. Neurosci. Lett., 1999, 275, 207–210.

  5. Huber, R., Graf, T., Cote, K. A., Wittmann, L., Gallmann, E., Matter, D., Schuderer, J., Kuster, N., Borbely, A. A. and Achermann, P. Exposure to pulsed high-frequency electro­magnetic field during waking affects human sleep EEG. NeuroReport, 2000, 11, 3321–3325.

  6. Krause, C. M., Sillanmäki, L., Koivisto, M., Häggqvist, A., Saarela, C., Revonsuo, A., Laine, M. and Hämäläinen, H. Effects of electromagnetic field emitted by cellular phones on the EEG during a memory task. NeuroReport, 2000, 11, 761–764.

  7. Lass, J., Tuulik, V., Ferenets, R., Riisalo, R. and Hinrikus, H. Effects of 7 Hz-modulated 450 MHz electromagnetic radiation on human performance in visual memory tasks. Int. J. Radiation Biol., 2002, 78, 937–944.

  8. Hinrikus, H., Parts, M., Lass, J. and Tuulik, V. Changes in human EEG caused by low-level modulated electromagnetic radiation stimulation. Bioelectromagnetics, 2004, 25, 431–440.

  9. Curcio, G., Ferrara, M., Moroni, F., D’Inzeo, G., Bertini, M. and De Gennaro, L. Is the brain influenced by a phone call? An EEG study of resting wakefulness. Neurosci. Res., 2005, 53, 265–270.

10. Huber, R., Treyer, V., Borbely, A. A., Schuderer, J., Gottselig, J. M., Landolt, H. P., Werth, E., Berthold, T., Kuster, N., Buck, A. and Achermann, P. Electromagnetic fields, such as those from mobile phones, alter regional cerebral blood flow and sleep and waking EEG. J. Sleep Res., 2002, 11, 289–295.

11. Krause, C. M., Sillanmäki, L., Koivisto, M., Häggqvist, A., Saarela, C, Revonsuo, A., Laine, M. and Hämäläinen, H. Effects of electromagnetic fields emitted by cellular phones on the electroencephalogram during a visual working memory task. Int. J. Radiation Biol., 2000, 76, 1659–1667.

12. Krause, C. M., Haarala, C., Sillanmaki, L., Koivisto, M., Alanko, K., Revonsuo, A., Laine, M. and Hamalainen, H. Effects of electromagnetic field emitted by cellular phones on the EEG during an auditory memory task: a double blind replication study. Bioelectromagnetics, 2004, 25, 33–40.

13. Wagner, P., Roschke, J., Mann, K., Hiller, W. and Frank, C. Human sleep under the influence of pulsed radiofrequency electromagnetic fields: a polysomnographic study using standardized conditions. Bioelectromagnetics, 1998, 19, 199–202.
3.0.CO;2-X" target=_blankdoi:10.1002/(SICI)1521-186X(1998)19:3<199::AID-BEM8>3.0.CO;2-X

14. Hietanen, M., Kovala, T. and Hamalainen, A. M. Human brain activity during exposure to radiofrequency fields emitted by cellular phones. Scand. J. Work Environm. Health, 2000, 26, 87–92.

15. Krause, C. M., Bjornberg, C. H., Pesonen, M., Hulten, A., Liesivuori, T., Koivisto, M., Revon­suo, A., Laine, M. and Hamalainen, H. Mobile phone effects on children’s event-related oscillatory EEG during an auditory memory task. Int. J. Radiation Biol., 2006, 82, 443–450.

16. Huber, R., Treyer, V., Schuderer, J., Berthold, T., Buck, A., Kuster, N., Landolt, H. P. and Achermann, P. Exposure to pulse-modulated radio frequency electromagnetic fields affects regional cerebral blood flow. Europ. J. Neurosci., 2005, 21, 1000–1006.

17. Loughran, S. P., Wood, A. W., Barton, J. M., Croft, R. J., Thompson, B. and Stough, C. The effect of electromagnetic fields emitted by mobile phones on human sleep. NeuroReport, 2005, 28,1973–1976.

18. Hinrikus, H., Bachmann, M., Kalda, J., Sakki, M., Lass, J. and Tomson, R. Methods of electro­encephalographic signal analysis for detection of small hidden changes. Nonlinear Biomed. Physics, 2007, 1(9), 28 July 2007. content/1/1/9

19. Bachmann, M., Kalda, J., Lass, J., Tuulik, V., Sakki, M. and Hinrikus, H. Non-linear analysis of the electroencephalogram for detecting effects of low-level electromagnetic fields. Med. Biol. Eng. Comput., 2005, 43, 142–149.

20. Bachmann, M., Lass, J., Kalda, J., Säkki, M., Tomson, R., Tuulik, V. and Hinrikus, H. Integra­tion of differences in EEG analysis reveals changes in human EEG caused by microwave. In Proc. 28th Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. New York, 2006, 1597–1600.

21. Rubljova, J., Bachmann, M., Lass, J., Tomson, R., Tuulik, V. and Hinrikus, H. Adaptation of human brain bioelectrical activity to modulated 450 MHz microwave. In Proc. 29th Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. Lyon, 2007, 4747–4750.

22. Rodina, A., Lass, J., Riipulk, J., Bachmann, T. and Hinrikus, H. Study of effects of low micro­wave field by method of face masking. Bioelectromagnetics, 2005, 26, 571–577.

23. Hinrikus, H., Bachmann, M., Lass, J., Tomson, R. and.Tuulik, V. Effect of 7, 14 and 21 Hz modulated 450 MHz microwave radiation on human electroencephalographic rhythms. Int. J. Radiation Biol., 2008, 84, 69–79.

24. Lass, J., Hinrikus, H., Bachmann, M. and Tuulik, V. Microwave radiation has modulation frequency dependent stimulating effect on human EEG rhythms. In Proc. 26th Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. San Francisco, 2004, 4225–4228.

25. Hinrikus, H., Lass, J. and Tuulik, V. Interaction of low-level microwave radiation with nervous system – a quasi-thermal effect? Proc. Estonian Acad. Sci. Eng., 2004, 10, 82–94.

26. Hinrikus, H., Bachmann, M., Tomson, R. and Lass, J. Non-thermal effect of microwave radiation on human brain. Environmentalist, 2005, 25, 187–194.

27. Lass, J., Riipulk, J. and Hinrikus, H. The sensitivity of living tissue to microwave field. In Proc. 20th Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. Hong Kong, 1998, vol. 20, 3249–3252.

28. Bachmann, M., Säkki, M., Kalda, J., Lass, J., Tuulik, V. and Hinrikus, H. Effect of 450 MHz microwave modulated with 217 Hz on human EEG in rest. Environmentalist, 2005, 25, 165–171.

29. Bachmann, M., Kalda, J., Säkki, M., Tomson, R., Lass, J., Tuulik, V. and Hinrikus, H. Individual changes in human EEG caused by 450 MHz microwave modulated at 40 and 70 Hz. Environmentalist, 2007, 27, 511–517.

30. Hinrikus, H., Bachmann, M., Lass, J., Karai, D. and Tuulik, V. Effect of low frequency modulated microwave exposure on human EEG: individual sensitivity, Bioelectro­magnetics. Forthcoming.

31. Tomson, R., Hinrikus, H., Bachmann, M., Lass, J. and Tuulik, V. Effect of modulated 450 MHz microwave on human EEG at different field power densities. IFMBE Proc., 2007, 16, 210–213.

32. Cullen, M. R. The workers with multiple chemical sensitivities: an overview. Occupat. Medicine, 1987, 2, 655–661.

33. Rangaswamy, M., Porjesz, B., Chorlian, D. B., Wang, K., Jones, K. A., Bauer, L. O., Rohrbaugh, J., O’Connor, S. J., Kuperman, S., Reich, T. and Begleiter, H. Beta power in the EEG of alcoholics. Biol. Psychiatry, 2002, 52, 831–842.

Back to Issue