Effects of RF-EMF on the Human Resting-State EEG-the Inconsistencies in the Consistency. Part 1: Non-Exposure-Related Limitations of Comparability Between Studies.

PMID: 31215052 DOI: 10.1002/bem.22194


The results of studies on possible effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMFs) on human waking electroencephalography (EEG) have been quite heterogeneous. In the majority of studies, changes in the alpha-frequency range in subjects who were exposed to different signals of mobile phone-related EMF sources were observed, whereas other studies did not report any effects. In this review, possible reasons for these inconsistencies are presented and recommendations for future waking EEG studies are made. The physiological basis of underlying brain activity, and the technical requirements and framework conditions for conducting and analyzing the human resting-state EEG are discussed. Peer-reviewed articles on possible effects of EMF on waking EEG were evaluated with regard to non-exposure-related confounding factors. Recommendations derived from international guidelines on the analysis and reporting of findings are proposed to achieve comparability in future studies. In total, 22 peer-reviewed studies on possible RF-EMF effects on human resting-state EEG were analyzed. EEG power in the alpha frequency range was reported to be increased in 10, decreased in four, and not affected in eight studies. All reviewed studies differ in several ways in terms of the methodologies applied, which might contribute to different results and conclusions about the impact of EMF on human resting-state EEG. A discussion of various study protocols and different outcome parameters prevents a scientifically sound statement on the impact of RF-EMF on human brain activity in resting-state EEG. Further studies which apply comparable, standardized study protocols are recommended. Bioelectromagnetics. 2019;40:291-318. © 2019 The Authors. Bioelectromagnetics Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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