Current state and implications of research on biological effects of millimeter waves: a review of the literature

Bioelectromagnetics. 1998;19(7):393-413. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1521-186x(1998)19:7<393::aid-bem1>;2-x.


In recent years, research into biological and medical effects of millimeter waves (MMW) has expanded greatly. This paper analyzes general trends in the area and briefly reviews the most significant publications, proceeding from cell-free systems, dosimetry, and spectroscopy issues through cultured cells and isolated organs to animals and humans. The studies reviewed demonstrate effects of low-intensity MMW (10 mW/cm2 and less) on cell growth and proliferation, activity of enzymes, state of cell genetic apparatus, function of excitable membranes, peripheral receptors, and other biological systems. In animals and humans, local MMW exposure stimulated tissue repair and regeneration, alleviated stress reactions, and facilitated recovery in a wide range of diseases (MMW therapy). Many reported MMW effects could not be readily explained by temperature changes during irradiation. The paper outlines some problems and uncertainties in the MMW research area, identifies tasks for future studies, and discusses possible implications for development of exposure safety criteria and guidelines.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Cell-Free System
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Electromagnetic Fields* / adverse effects
  • Enzymes / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Regeneration
  • Sepsis / therapy
  • Stress, Physiological
  • Surgical Wound Infection / therapy


  • Enzymes