Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Systematic review on the health effects of exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields from mobile phone base stations

Martin Röösli, Patrizia Frei, Evelyn Mohler & Kerstin Hug

Volume 88, Number 12, December 2010, 887-896F

Table 1. Overview of randomized human laboratory trials included in a systematic review of studies of MPBS exposure and self-reported non-specific symptoms conducted before March 2009

Reference Study design Study population Inclusion/exclusion criteria Outcome Exposure assessment Statistical model/covariables Results (exposure versus sham/control)
Regel 200617 Crossover 33 with EHS
Mean age: 38 years
Female: 58%
Inclusion: 20–60 years of age, right-handed, BMI between 19 and 30 kg/m2
Exclusion: medical problems, implants, drug consumption
Questionnaires: CDdiff,a CDpost,a Bulpittb 3 45-minute sessions with exposure to:
(a) sham conditions
(b) UMTS (2 140 MHz), 1 V/m
(c) UMTS (2 140 MHz), 10 V/m
Randomized, counter-balanced
Mixed linear models; circadian rhythm, smoking, exposure order, age, sex, BMI, caffeine intake, medication, menstruation-related complaints, sleep quality, and having a cold No exposure–outcome association:
CDdiff (P = 0.95)
CDpost (P = 0.96)
Bulpitt (P = 0.65)
84 without EHS
Mean age: 38 years
Female: 51%
No exposure–outcome association:
CDdiff (P = 0.95)
CDpost (P = 0.89)
Bulpitt (P = 0.92)
Eltiti 200718 Crossover 44 with EHS
Mean age: 46.1 years
Female: 42.9%
Exclusion: brain injury, epilepsy, claustrophobia, pacemaker, mental disease, psychoactive medication within 4 months before testing Rating of 6 items on a visual analogue scale every 5 minutes: anxiety, tension, arousal, relaxation, discomfort, fatigue 3 50-minute sessions with exposure to:
(a) sham conditions
(b) UMTS at 2020 MHz
(c) GSM 900 and 1880 MHz combined; E-field: 2 V/m
Randomized, not counter-balanced
ANOVA; condition, groupc GSM: anxiety (P = 0.06); tension (P = 0.09); arousal (P = 0.03); inverse of relaxation (P = 0.46); total number of symptoms (P = 0.49); symptom score (P = 0.81)c
UMTS: anxiety (P = 0.005); tension (P = 0.004); arousal (P = 0.001); inverse of relaxation (P = 0.03); total number of symptoms (P = 0.10); symptom score (P = 0.12)c
115 without EHS
Mean: 54.5 years
Female: 42.5%
GSM: anxiety (P = 0.53); tension (P = 0.47); arousal (P = 0.83); inverse of relaxation (P = 0.25); total number of symptoms (P = 0.96); symptom score (P = 0.49)c
UMTS: anxiety (P = 0.04); tension (P = 0.11); arousal (P = 0.46); inverse of relaxation (P = 0.04); total number of symptoms (P = 0.41); symptom score (P = 0.87)c
Riddervold 200819 Crossover 40 healthy adolescents
Age range: 15–16 years
Female: 58%
Exclusion: pregnancy, medical history of head injuries and/or neurological or psychiatric diseases, illiteracy 11 symptoms on a visual analogue scale: Primary outcome: change in headache during session,
Secondary outcome: change in concentration difficulties during session
4 45-minute sessions with exposure to:
(a) sham conditions
(b) continuous wave at 2140 MHz
(c) UMTS signal at 2140 MHz
(d) UMTS signal at 2140 MHz with all control features
E-field: 0.9–2.2 V/m
Randomized, counterbalanced
Only exposure (UMTS with all control features) was considered. Standard crossover analysis technique based on Wilcoxon test; order of exposure Concentration: no change (P = 0.88)
Headache: trend of increase (P = 0.09)d
40 healthy adults
Age range: 25–40 years
Female: 40%
Concentration: increase (P = 0.048)
Headache: trend of increase (P = 0.15)d
Furubayashi 200920 Crossover 11 females with EHS
Mean age: 37 years,
43 female controls
Mean age: 38 years
Inclusion: 20–60 years
Exclusion: Living too far from Tokyo, myocardial infarction, epilepsy, brain injury, pacemakers, hearing aids, pregnancy, medical treatment for psychiatric disorders
POMS questionnaire21: Change of 6 scales during session: tension-anxiety, depression, anger-hostility, vigour, fatigue and confusion. Discomfort was assessed every 5 minutes during exposure 4 30-minute sessions with W-CDMA exposure to:
(a) continuous wave at 2 140 MHz
(b) intermittent signal (turned on/off every 5 minutes),
(c) sham with noise
(d) sham without noise.
E-field: 10 V/m at subject’s head Randomized, counter-balanced
ANOVA; condition, sequence, group, time (before–after) (for discomfort: condition, group) Effect of condition:
Tension–anxiety (P = 0.60)
Depression (P = 0.78)
Anger-hostility (P = 0.47)
Vigour (P = 0.96)
Fatigue (P = 0.41)
Confusion (P = 0.77)
Discomfort (P = 0.86)

ANOVA, analysis of variance; BMI, body mass index; CDdiff, change of current disposition during exposure; CDpost, current disposition after exposure; EHS, electromagnetic hypersensitivity; GSM, Global System for Mobile Communications; MHz, megahertz; MPBS, mobile phone base station; POMS, Profile of Mood States; UMTS, Universal Mobile Telecommunications System; V/m, volts per metre; W-CDMA, Wideband Code Division Multiple Access.

a As measured by the short Questionnaire on Current Disposition.22

b Adapted Bulpitt symptom score as measured by a questionnaire developed to estimate quality of life during trials of an antihypertensive drug treatment.23

c P-values calculated from F and t values. Relevant P-value for significance after Bonferroni correction: P < 0.003.

d Pooled analyses of headache for adolescents and adults resulted in a significant change during exposure (P = 0.027).

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