Extremely low frequency electromagnetic field (ELF-EMF) reduces oxidative stress and improves functional and psychological status in ischemic stroke patients

Bioelectromagnetics. 2017 Jul;38(5):386-396. doi: 10.1002/bem.22055. Epub 2017 Apr 21.


As a result of ischaemia/reperfusion, massive generation of reactive oxygen species occurs, followed by decreased activity of antioxidant enzymes. Extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields (ELF-EMF) can modulate oxidative stress, but there are no clinical antioxidant studies in brain stroke patients. The aim of our study was to investigate the effect of ELF-EMF on clinical and antioxidant status in post-stroke patients. Fifty-seven patients were divided into two groups: ELF-EMF and non-ELF-EMF. Both groups underwent the same 4-week rehabilitation program. Additionally, the ELF-EMF group was exposed to an ELF-EMF field of 40 Hz, 7 mT for 15 min/day for 4 weeks (5 days a week). The activity of catalase and superoxide dismutase was measured in hemolysates, and total antioxidant status (TAS) determined in plasma. Functional status was assessed before and after the series of treatments using Activities of Daily Living (ADL), Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), and Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS). Applied ELF-EMF significantly increased enzymatic antioxidant activity; however, TAS levels did not change in either group. Results show that ELF-EMF induced a significant improvement in functional (ADL) and mental (MMSE, GDS) status. Clinical parameters had positive correlation with the level of enzymatic antioxidant protection. Bioelectromagnetics. 38:386-396, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Keywords: antioxidant enzymes; cognitive function; magnetotherapy; rehabilitation; stroke.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Brain Ischemia / complications*
  • Catalase / metabolism
  • Depression / complications
  • Depression / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Field Therapy
  • Male
  • Oxidative Stress / radiation effects*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism*
  • Recovery of Function / radiation effects*
  • Stroke / complications
  • Stroke / physiopathology*
  • Stroke / psychology*
  • Stroke / therapy
  • Superoxide Dismutase / metabolism


  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Catalase
  • Superoxide Dismutase