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Mobile phones modulate response patterns of human brain activity

Eulitz, Carsten1,3; Ullsperger, Peter2; Freude, Gabriele2; Elbert, Thomas1


MOBILE phones emit a pulsed high-frequency electromagnetic field (PEMF) which may penetrate the scalp and the skull. Increasingly, there is an interest in the interaction of this pulsed microwave radiation with the human brain. Our investigations show that these electromagnetic fields alter distinct aspects of the brain's electrical response to acoustic stimuli. More precisely, our results demonstrate that aspects of the induced but not the evoked brain activity during PEMF exposure can be different from those not influenced by PEMF radiation. This effect appears in higher frequency bands when subjects process task-relevant target stimuli but was not present for irrelevant standard stimuli. As the induced brain activity in higher frequency bands has been proposed to be a correlate of coherent high-frequency neuronal activity, PEMF exposure may provide means to systematically alter the pattern fluctuations in neural mass activity.

1Department of Psychology, PF 5560-D25, University of Konstanz, Universitätsstrasse 10, D-78434 Konstanz

2Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Berlin, Germany

3Corresponding Author: Carsten Eulitz

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: The authors thank S. Eggert and I. Ruppe for providing the equipment and supervising the PEMF exposure and Mrs W. Dehoff for technical assistance. Research was supported by grants of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft to C.E. The authors thank Dr W. Ray for helpful comments.

Received 12 July 1998; accepted 22 July 1998

© 1998 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins