Effects of electromagnetic fields emitted by cellular phones on the electroencephalogram during a visual working memory task

Int J Radiat Biol. 2000 Dec;76(12):1659-67. doi: 10.1080/09553000050201154.


Purpose: To examine the effects of electromagnetic fields (EMF) emitted by cellular phones on the event-related desynchronization/synchronization (ERD/ERS) responses of the 4-6, 6-8, 8-10 and 10-12Hz EEG frequency bands during cognitive processing.

Materials and methods: Twenty-four subjects performed a visual sequential letter task (n-back task) with three different working memory load conditions: zero, one and two items. All subjects performed the memory task both with and without exposure to a digital 902 MHz EMF in counterbalanced order.

Results: The presence of EMF altered the ERD/ERS responses in the 6-8 and 8-10 Hz frequency bands but only when examined as a function of memory load and depending also on whether the presented stimulus was a target or not.

Conclusions: The results suggest that the exposure to EMF modulates the responses of EEG oscillatory activity approximately 8 Hz specifically during cognitive processes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / radiation effects
  • Cognition / radiation effects*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation
  • Electroencephalography
  • Electromagnetic Fields / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory / radiation effects*
  • Telephone*
  • Time Factors