Low-frequency pulsed electromagnetic field exposure can alter neuroprocessing in humans

J R Soc Interface. 2010 Mar 6;7(44):467-73. doi: 10.1098/rsif.2009.0205. Epub 2009 Aug 5.


Extremely low-frequency magnetic fields (from DC to 300 Hz) have been shown to affect pain sensitivity in snails, rodents and humans. Here, a functional magnetic resonance imaging study demonstrates how the neuromodulation effect of these magnetic fields influences the processing of acute thermal pain in normal volunteers. Significant interactions were found between pre- and post-exposure activation between the sham and exposed groups for the ipsilateral (right) insula, anterior cingulate and bilateral hippocampus/caudate areas. These results show, for the first time, that the neuromodulation induced by exposure to low-intensity low-frequency magnetic fields can be observed in humans using functional brain imaging and that the detection mechanism for these effects may be different from those used by animals for orientation and navigation. Magnetoreception may be more common than presently thought.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Brain / pathology
  • Brain / radiation effects
  • Electromagnetic Fields / adverse effects*
  • Environmental Exposure / analysis*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain*
  • Physical Stimulation
  • Synaptic Transmission / radiation effects*