Effects of prenatal exposure to a 50-Hz magnetic field on one-trial passive avoidance learning in 1-day-old chicks

Bioelectromagnetics. 2010 Feb;31(2):150-5. doi: 10.1002/bem.20540.


We investigated memory impairment in newly hatched chicks following in ovo exposure to a 50-Hz magnetic field (MF) of 2 mT (60 min/day) on embryonic days 12-18. Isolated and paired chicks were used to test the effect of stress during training, and memory retention was tested at 10, 30, and 120 min, following exposure to a bitter-tasting bead (100% methylanthranilate). Results showed that memory was intact at 10 min in both isolated and paired chicks with or without MF exposure. However, while isolated chicks had good memory retention levels at 30 and 120 min, those exposed to MF did not. The results suggest a potential disruption of memory formation following in ovo exposure to MF, with this effect only evident in the more stressed, isolated chicks.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Avoidance Learning / physiology*
  • Chickens
  • Electromagnetic Fields*
  • Memory / physiology
  • Memory Disorders / etiology*
  • Memory Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Physical Stimulation
  • Random Allocation
  • Social Isolation*
  • Stress, Psychological / complications
  • Stress, Psychological / physiopathology*
  • Taste Perception / physiology
  • Time Factors
  • ortho-Aminobenzoates / administration & dosage


  • ortho-Aminobenzoates
  • methyl anthranilate