Liu et al. (open source) find that electromagnetic radiation (EMR) in the wireless signal range used by our cell phones, laptops, and Wi-Fi routers can increase wakefulness in mice, but only if the signal is pulsed and at much higher levels than are present in our homes.
The steady increase of electromagnetic radiation (EMR) in the environment, particularly the wireless signal, causes serious public concern over its potential negative impact on health. However, it is challenging to examine such impact on human subjects due to associated complex issues. In this study, we establish an experimental system for the investigation of EMR impact on mice. Using this system, we uncovered a causal relationship between 2.4-GHz EMR modulated by 100-Hz square pulses and increased wakefulness in mice. This result identifies sleep alteration as a potential consequence of exposure to excessive wireless signals.Abstract
Electromagnetic radiation (EMR) in the environment has increased sharply in recent decades. The effect of environmental EMR on living organisms remains poorly characterized. Here, we report the impact of wireless-range EMR on the sleep architecture of mouse. Prolonged exposure to 2.4-GHz EMR modulated by 100-Hz square pulses at a nonthermal output level results in markedly increased time of wakefulness in mice. These mice display corresponding decreased time of nonrapid eye movement (NREM) and rapid eye movement (REM). In contrast, prolonged exposure to unmodulated 2.4-GHz EMR at the same time-averaged output level has little impact on mouse sleep. These observations identify alteration of sleep architecture in mice as a specific physiological response to prolonged wireless-range EMR exposure.The final two paragraphs of the paper make clear that the effects on mouse sleep require much higher power densities for the 2.4-GHz EMR signals than are emitted by smartphones, laptops, or Wi-Fi routers.
....the average power density at close proximity is about 0.037 W/m2 for a smartphone, 0.013 W/m2 for a laptop, and 0.13 W/m2 near the Wi-Fi router (1). These values are considerably lower than the time- and whole-body–averaged general public exposure limit of 10 W/m2 or occupational exposure limit of 50 W/m2 for 2–300 GHz suggested by International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (43). In our experiments, the measured spatial averaged power density for Conti8W is 36.80 ± 0.92 W/m2. Pulse64W is expected to have the same power density. Importantly, the effective EMR dose for inducing a biological response in mice is likely to be different from that in humans. Therefore, the relatively high EMR dose of the Pulse64W regimen that causes increased wakefulness in mice could be markedly reduced in humans. An epidemiological survey among those who work under either very high or very low doses of wireless radiation may reveal some clues.
In this study, 2.4-GHz EMR is modulated by 100-Hz square pulses, which have sharp edges and thus might have some unanticipated impact on neural activity in the brain. Additional experiments should be performed to examine whether other modulation functions such as sinusoidal modulation can induce similar increase of wakefulness in mice. In addition, other modulation frequencies such as 10 and 1,000 Hz should be investigated to answer the question of whether increased wakefulness is specific to certain modulation frequencies. Finally, both the intensity and the frequency of the carrier EMR (2.4 GHz in this study) should be scrutinized.