Research Highlights

doi:10.1038/nindia.2018.79 Published online 25 June 2018

3G mobile phone, wi-fi frequencies damage rat brains

While there is no conclusive evidence yet on the health effects of electromagnetic radiation (EMR) from mobile phones, a study on rats has revealed brain damage when the rodents were exposed to frequencies emitted by 3G phones and wi-fi1.

Researchers at Banaras Hindu University (BHU) in Varanasi , Uttar Pradesh, report that EMR at the frequency of 2450 MHz – emitted by 3G mobile phones and wi-fi – damage the hippocampus, a part of the brain associated with memory, emotions, and motivation.

The study aimed at evaluating the effects of discrete frequencies of EMR on cognitive behaviour and associated patho-physiological mechanisms. The researchers exposed male rats to EMR in the frequencies of 900, 1800 and 2450 MHz daily for one hour for 28 consecutive days. They then evaluated their cognitive behaviour every week using the standard "Y-maze" test.

“Animals exposed to EMR-2450MHz exhibited significant cognitive deficit, loss of mitochondrial function and integrity," they report. There was a decrease in levels of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter, and increase in activity of the enzyme acetyl cholinesterase, indicating impairment of "cholinergic system" that contributes to memory.

"Therefore, exposure of EMR-2450 in rats caused cognitive deficit with concomitant loss in mitochondrial function leading to cognitive impairment," the researchers say. "In contrast, EMR-900 MHz and 1800 MHz did not show any change."


References

1. Gupta, S. K. et al. Electromagnetic radiation 2450 MHz exposure causes cognition deficit with mitochondrial dysfunction and activation of intrinsic pathway of apoptosis in rats.  J. Biosci. 43, 263-276 (2018) doi: 10.1007/s12038-018-9744-7