Purpose: To compare the effects of repeated exposure to extremely low frequency-modulated microwaves (ELF-MW) on cortical and hypothalamic electroencephalograms (EEG).
Materials and methods: In 10 freely moving rats with carbon electrodes implanted into the cortex and dorsomedial hypothalamus, averaged frequency spectra (0.5-30 Hz) of the EEG were studied for five consecutive days either under sham exposures (five rats) or under mixed sham/MW-exposures (five rats). The rats were exposed to ELF-MW (915 MHz, 20-ms pulse duration, approximately 0.3 mW/cm(2), 4 Hz) intermittently (1-min 'On', 1-min 'Off') for 10 min (specific absorption rate, SAR, approximately 0.7 mW/g on average) several times per day, with 10-min pre- and post-exposure periods.
Results: In baseline EEG, the activities of 3.2-6.0 Hz and 17.8-30.5 Hz dominated in the cortex and of 6.0-17.8 Hz in the hypothalamus. This cortical-hypothalamic imbalance was relatively stable at sham-exposures and insensitive to ELF-MW in all frequency ranges but one. ELF-MW increased the beta(2) (17.8-30.5 Hz) level in the hypothalamus to a greater extent than in the cortex, causing significant diminishing of the initial EEG bias between them. Moreover, a cumulative phenomenon under repeated exposures to ELF-MW was revealed.
Conclusions: These results are in line with evidence that repeated low-level exposure to ELF-MW affects brain functioning and provide an additional approach when analysing underlying mechanisms.