Considering the frequent use of mobile phones, we have directed attention to possible implications on cognitive functions. In this study we investigated in a rat model the long-term effects of protracted exposure to Global System for Mobile Communication-900 MHz (GSM-900) radiation. Out of a total of 56 rats, 32 were exposed for 2 h each week for 55 weeks to radio-frequency electromagnetic radiation at different SAR levels (0.6 and 60 mW/kg at the initiation of the experimental period) emitted by a (GSM-900) test phone. Sixteen animals were sham exposed and eight animals were cage controls, which never left the animal house. After this protracted exposure, GSM-900 exposed rats were compared to sham exposed controls. Effects on exploratory behaviour were evaluated in the open-field test, in which no difference was seen. Effects on cognitive functions were evaluated in the episodic-like memory test. In our study, GSM exposed rats had impaired memory for objects and their temporal order of presentation, compared to sham exposed controls (P = 0.02). Detecting the place in which an object was presented was not affected by GSM exposure. Our results suggest significantly reduced memory functions in rats after GSM microwave exposure (P = 0.02).
(c) 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.