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3336976 Electromagnetic Radiation and Epilepsy | Radio Frequency | Epilepsy

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  Electromagnetic Radiation and Epilepsy 1 Electromagnetic Radiation and Epilepsy Andy Davidson, Tetrawatch  Abstract People report adverse health symptoms which they attribute to the radiation ofmicrowave signals from mobile phone and TETRA masts. The validity of suchreports cannot be safely rejected, either on the grounds of current safetycompliance, nor on the grounds that such symptoms cannot be replicated inlaboratory experiments in search of a simplified mechanism.Biological effects caused by such electromagnetic fields (EMF) are widely attestedby research, but there is lack of clarity about how this occurs and why certainindividuals should be more susceptible than others. In the case of electricalhypersensitivity, and in the particular, though more rare, case of exacerbated orinstigated epilepsy, there are two candidate mediating factors: (i) the direct effectsof coherent frequencies, and (ii) disruption of the nitric oxide synthesis process.This paper takes the second, and examines how the potential causal link is borneout by both likely and observed subject outcomes, and by observed EMF/nitricoxide synthase interactions. There is sufficient suspicion that a mechanism lieshere to help validate the personal reports, and therefore action should be taken toverify that operation of such EMF sources is not the cause, rather than requiringthe affected person to prove that it is.There have been many reports from people living in proximity to mobile phone andTETRA masts, of adverse health effects. One of these effects is increased incidence ofepileptic seizures, and indeed onset of epilepsy. Many of these effects relate to whathas come to be referred to as electrical hypersensitivity or EHS. These medicalreports largely go uninvestigated, for two reasons:1.   the symptoms are wide ranging, from headaches and nausea to sleepdisturbances and nosebleeds, but are categorised as common and minorcomplaints2.   there is no laboratory confirmed conclusion as to precisely why or how sucheffects should be induced at such low signal energies.On the first count, the complaints may appear to be minor, since many of us haveone or another of them from time to time. This ignores that they may be unusual tothe people concerned, or correlate to the onset of a transmitter’s operation, or relateto particular signal levels (Oberfeld et   al. , 1998; Santini et   al. ,2002; Navarro et   al., 2003) or cease when operation is suspended. It also ignores the manner in whichthey suddenly become chronic and persistent for the people concerned, and theresultant effect on well-being.  Electromagnetic Radiation and Epilepsy 2 On the second count, there has been a widely held presumption that the mechanismmight be simple and single-stranded. If this were so, the cause might be isolated, it isargued, and a direct cause and effect be demonstrated in vitro , and that this shouldbe easily replicated. Primary refutations of this approach include (i) the complexelectromagnetic environment caused even by a single transmission base stationwithin the natural electromagnetic environment (Silk, 2004), (ii) the effects on thewhole body, or significant parts of the body ( eg Hyland, 2003; Silk, 1999), and (iii)lag effects, where separate results from different effects from common causes haveseparate onsets, but combine under exposure times longer than laboratory exposuretests.Much has been written about the difficulties of in vivo laboratory set-ups to test thevalidity of claims to EHS, even though the manifestation of EHS is itself irrefutable.Nonetheless, the symptoms are separated from the attributed electromagnetic causeby reviewers not least because either a mechanism is not apparent and there is noassured laboratory-replicability. In the case of epilepsy, once it was realised thatlight-pulse frequency from flashbulbs, disco strobes, television or video games couldinduce seizures, this was accepted, warnings made mandatory, and advice given.We now know better why the effect occurs, and in particular that frequency is acentral factor. Taking reports seriously Technology has raced ahead in recent decades, providing much opportunity forpeople to resist, either because they feel they cannot keep up, because it is becomingtoo complicated, or because its novel nature might not be all good. Communicationstechnology has been adopted enthusiastically by most people, with its obviousadvantages. Disadvantages are mostly reported as being cost, manners/etiquette,over-independence by youngsters, bullying, commercial advantage being taken byoperator companies, the unsightly physical appearance of masts etc. It is nottherefore immediately apparent quite why a Luddite tendency should emerge,based on grounds of fears of endangerment to health. And yet the primary reasonfor not listening and responding to very ordinary people who report adverse healthreactions when masts become operational near their homes, is that it must be someform of induced hysteria generated by fear of new technology. This would appear tobe poor scientific justification for a lack of intervention or even scientific curiosity. Are reports of increased or induced epileptic seizures in some way psychosomatic? The obvious answer would have to be no, especially in cases of children unaware ofthe issues or even of the presence of roof-top antennae. For this reason alone, thereports must be given due attention.Perhaps the causality is only partly to do with the operation of base stations?Perhaps some other environmental factor comes into play when they areintroduced? The most curious aspect of the whole issue of these adverse healthreactions is that there is no epidemiological investigation done in the UK at all.  Electromagnetic Radiation and Epilepsy 3 There is no other response than that attribution to base station must be false. Worse,the single most common premise, that base stations operate well withininternational guidelines for exposure, completely ignores the now well-known factthat the guidelines 1 expressly relate only to acute short-term effects of heating by theradiation, and neither to chronic exposure nor non-thermal biological effects. Theguidelines explain that at the time of their devising, there was insufficient researchmaterial upon which to construct practical exposure levels for protection frompotential longer-term, low-level influences on biological functions. Nevertheless,such effects are well-attested and expressed as such in the UK government’s ownadvice from the Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones and Health (IEGMP,2000; committee chaired by Sir William Stewart, updated and reiterated NRPB, January 2005).It is therefore entirely reasonable to take correlations of reported effects andattributed sources from base stations, where there is a common theme (such as EHSsymptoms or epilepsy) and to investigate them thoroughly.Returning to the fundamental question: can exposure to low level EMF haveimplications for epileptic seizures? Possible causal relations How can electromagnetic fields (EMF) from mobile phone or TETRA base stationsimpact on the human body? This is a vital question, and several routes can bereasonably pursued:1.   Since currents can be induced in the body by external varying fields, and sincethe body is both conductive and employs DC and AC currents at minute levelsfor its messaging, direct electrical interference may occur ( eg Becker, 1985 & 1990;Lai, 1994).2.   The human body has evolved to utilise a number of frequencies key to itsoperations, such as ‘brain waves’ (which in fact permeate the body), pulse rate etc. It is possible that induced currents at particular frequencies presentsignificant influences, including issues of entrainment, whereby biologicalfrequencies ‘lock on’ to external drivers. (Brain entrainment happens internallybetween neurons, but is used via acoustic coupling — of binaural beats — fortherapy or meditation.)3.   Since everything with bounded mass has its own natural or harmonic resonancefrequency relating to its dimension, incident frequencies may cause resonance atatomic level, or ionic, molecular, cellular, organ, cavity ( eg skull, eye sockets,heart chamber), extension ( eg limbs) or whole body levels ( eg Silk, 1999; Brueland Kjaer, 1982).  1   ie , from the International Commission of Non-ionising Radiation Protection – ICNIRP  Electromagnetic Radiation and Epilepsy 4 4.   Since resonance with biological processes naturally depends on interference withthe body’s active whole-body processes, investigation of the whole person ismore likely to yield meaningful results than isolated tissue/culture samples,therefore ambivalent results from the latter may not be informative (Hyland,2003).5.   Nonetheless, understanding ionic resonance and its role in chemical progressionis an important factor, in the context of geomagnetic fields (Becker, 1990 citingBlackman and Liboff, and Adey).6.   The body contains many bioelectronic features, since by nature it operates and ismaintained by subtle and complex circuits ( eg Oschmann, 2000; Becker, 1989).The electronic properties of cell walls and cellular structures, thesemiconductance of neuronal epithelial cells, the growth-guiding piezo-electriceffect of bone, the DC and AC pathways of the nervous system, semiconductancein DNA and electrical frequency maintenance by the brain, whilst they cannot beconstrued as constituting a radio receiver, nonetheless imply acute sensitivity toexternal EMFs, and these may interact in ways novel to the normal operation ofbiochemical and physiological functions (Williams, 2002).7.   The body contains crystalline structures, including calcite and magnetite, whichmay produce piezo-electric effects under external fields (Baconnier et   al., 2002;Lang, 2003; Kirschvink, 1989, 1992).This subtlety does make the scenario appear quite complex, and indeed it is.Nonetheless, any view of the body as a purely chemical entity, or even one in whichthe electrical activity is a minority influence, would be quite incorrect. Muchresearch has demonstrated, not all conclusively, that chemical processes regulatedby electrical stimulus are indeed disrupted by EMFs, and that these can occur moststrongly within power and frequency ‘windows’, ie , outside certain ranges, theeffects are less evident or absent. What has attracted most attention is the idea thatEMFs may cause, promote or lead to such serious diseases cancer or motor neuronedisease. These are not dealt with here, but introduced to compare how littleattention has been paid to ‘less important’ outcomes such as EHS and epilepsy.It may well be that directly induced currents and consequent electrical interferenceare a primary cause of epileptic seizures in some people, especially where thefrequency of the imposed signal corresponds to trigger frequencies for theindividual’s epileptic characteristics. Perhaps this occurs via the hippocampus.Mobile phone radiation, especially GSM and TETRA have come into question here,since both employ time division signal structures (TDMA) that give rise to extremelylow frequency pulse rates in both handsets and base stations. It is important to asserthere that any argument that TETRA base stations, for example, do not pulse arepurely semantic. The signal envelope (shape) is clearly modulated at 70.6Hz with0.9Hz repetitions, and this signal is visible under simple signal rectification with aresonant circuit that is not highly tuned. GSM base stations (including DECT –digitally enhanced cordless telephones) similarly employ extremely low frequencypulse and frame rates.
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