Mobile phone emission modulates event-related desynchronization of α rhythms and cognitive-motor performance in healthy humans

Clin Neurophysiol. 2012 Jan;123(1):121-8. doi: 10.1016/j.clinph.2011.06.019. Epub 2011 Aug 27.


Objectives: It has been shown that electromagnetic fields of Global System for Mobile Communications phone (GSM-EMFs) affect human brain rhythms (Vecchio et al., 2007, 2010), but it is not yet clear whether these effects are related to alterations of cognitive functions.

Methods: Eleven healthy adults underwent two electroencephalographic (EEG) sessions separated by 1 week, following a cross-over, placebo-controlled, double-blind paradigm. In both sessions, they performed a visual go/no-go task before real exposure to GSM-EMFs or after a sham condition with no EMF exposure. In the GSM real session, temporal cortex was continuously exposed to GSM-EMFs for 45 min. In the sham session, the subjects were not aware that the EMFs had been switched off for the duration of the experiment. In the go/no-go task, a central fixation stimulus was followed by a green (50% of probability) or red visual stimulus. Subjects had to press the mouse button after the green stimuli (go trials). With reference to a baseline period, power decrease of low- (about 8-10 Hz) and high-frequency (about 10-12 Hz) alpha rhythms indexed the cortical activity.

Results: It was found less power decrease of widely distributed high-frequency alpha rhythms and faster reaction time to go stimuli in the post- than pre-exposure period of the GSM session. No effect was found in the sham session.

Conclusions: These results suggest that the peak amplitude of alpha ERD and the reaction time to the go stimuli are modulated by the effect of the GSM-EMFs on the cortical activity.

Significance: Exposure to GSM-EMFs for 45 min may enhance human cortical neural efficiency and simple cognitive-motor processes in healthy adults.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alpha Rhythm / physiology*
  • Cell Phone*
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Electroencephalography Phase Synchronization / physiology*
  • Electromagnetic Fields / adverse effects*
  • Evoked Potentials*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Young Adult