Research highlight

Neuroscience: Electromagnetic radiation may influence neurodevelopment in mice

Scientific Reports

March 16, 2012

Fetal exposure to cell phone radiation may affect the neurological development and function of adult mice, a study published in Scientific Reports suggests. The authors caution that it may be difficult to translate these findings to human risks and the study highlights the need for the direct study of humans or non-human primates. To evaluate the potential effects of prenatal exposure to cell phone radiation on mice, Hugh Taylor and colleagues exposed female mice throughout pregnancy to radiation from a muted and silenced cell phone, which was positioned above the cage and placed on an active phone call for the duration of the trial. A control group of mice was kept under the same conditions but with the phone deactivated. As adults, the mice that were exposed to radiation tended to be more hyperactive and had decreased anxiety and reduced memory capacity. The authors also present evidence of changes in the neuronal circuitry in brain regions associated with these types of behaviour in the exposed mice. Rodent pregnancies last only 19 days and offspring are born with a less-developed brain than human babies, so further experiments are needed in humans or non-human primates to determine if the potential risks of exposure to radiation during pregnancy are similar. Cell phones were used in this study to mimic potential human exposure but future research should instead use standard electromagnetic field generators to more precisely define the level of exposure.

doi: 10.1038/srep00312

Return to research highlights

PrivacyMark System