Electromagnetic Field Therapies: A Bibliography from Medline

Phil Rogers MVB MRCVS
1, Esker Lawns, Lucan, Dublin, Ireland
e-mail : philrogers@tinet.ie

9. Adverse effects of EMFs

This bibliography was aimed at finding therapeutic uses of EMF, but it returned some titles which discussed adverse effects also. Adverse effects of EMFs on pacemakers were specifically excluded. Note that EMFs can have many adverse effects. These include carcinogenesis, vaporisation, shock and death. A specific search for adverse effects of EMFs would return many more titles than are listed here:

Beniashvili DS, Bulanishvili VG, Menabde MZ, Gupta D, Anisimov VN (1993) [Modifying effect of light and EMF on development of mammary tumors induced by N-nitrosomethyl urea in female rats - Article in Russian]. Vopr Onkol 39(1-3):52-60. Ctr for Oncology Research of the Ministry of Health, Tubingen Univ, Germany. Female rats aged 1 mo and older were kept indoors in darkness, under lighting for 24 h or exposed to ordinary lighting (12 h light; 12 h darkness). 3 wk after the beginning of the experiment, they received N-nitrosomethyl urea (NMU) treatment iv at 50 mg/kg at weekly intervals, and were exposed to alternating 50 Hz (AMF) or static 0.2 oersted, (DMF) EMF radiation for 3 h, daily. Under usual lighting conditions, NMU treatment was followed by the development of mammary gland adenocarcinoma (MGA) in 31% of the animals. However, AMF or DMF treatment was followed by a shorter period of latency, without affecting MGA frequency. Constant lighting was found to stimulate a sharp increase in carcinogenesis: MGA frequency in groups receiving NMU, NMU+AMF or NMU+DMF was 57, 81 and 61%, respectively; latency period dropped by half as compared with usual lighting conditions. Conversely, the rats constantly kept in darkness revealed significant inhibition of mammary gland carcinogenesis, MGA frequency in NMU, NMU+AMF or NMU+DMF groups being 3, 4 and 2%, respectively. A blood serum: hormone assay showed constant lighting to decrease melatonin level and to increase prolactin concentration for all the modalities of carcinogenic treatment used. Constant lighting significantly promoted the effect of NMU on mammary gland carcinogenesis in rats. This effect was potentiated by additional AMF or DMF treatment. Conversely, constant darkness inhibited mammary gland carcinogenesis and mitigated the pernicious effect of low-frequency EM radiation. PMID: 8073677, UI: 94353684

Ciano M, Burlin JR, Pardoe R, Mills RL, Hentz VR (1981) High-frequency electromagnetic radiation injury to the upper extremity: local and systemic effects. Ann Plast Surg Aug;7(2):128-135. Industrial use of radiofrequency and microwave energy sources (nonionizing, high-frequency EM radiation) is a growing and widespread phenomenon, with projected risks of exposure to >20,000,000 workers in the USA. A description of the nature of this form of EM energy is given, with emphasis on the variability of energy absorption by humans. The current state of biological research is reviewed, and a summary of the known effects of radiofrequency and microwave radiation exposure on animals and humans provided. These known effects seem to be principally thermal, similar to conventional electrical burn injuries, but with some unique systemic expression. Derangements of cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, endocrine, hematological, ophthalmological, and behavioral functions are well described in animal experiments. 2 patients are presented: one a young woman exposed to a high-density radiofrequency field in an industrial setting, leading to necrosis of the entire hand and wrist as well as to a constellation of systemic effects, and one an older woman exposed to excessive microwave radiation from a malfunctioning microwave oven, leading to chronic hand pain and paresthesias resembling median nerve entrapment at the carpus. The prevalence of potential exposure in certain industries is noted and recommendations for follow-up care of workers exposed to this form of trauma are delineated. PMID: 7294659, UI: 82044434

Fedorowski A, Steciwko A (1997) [Electrosmog as a health risk factor: sources of artificial EMFs, evaluation of health risk, prevention methods - Article in Polish]. Med Pr 48(5):507-519. Zakladu Medycyny Rodzinnej, Akademii Medycznej we Wroclawiu. In recent years we have seen how EM radiation enters our daily life. The strength of man-made EMF is often far above the natural level and this finding has encouraged a large group of researchers to investigate its possible health effect. Non-ionizing radiation and extremely low-frequency electric and magnetic fields have been the subject of intensive theoretical and experimental works since Adey published his observations concerning non-linear and non-thermal biological effects. At the same time, epidemiology suggested that EMF generates various diseases including leukemia and brain tumors. Possible mechanisms of EMF interactions with living matter remain unknown although theoretical models have been proposed by many authors. In vitro and in vivo studies as well as epidemiological data have not provided ground for decisive conclusions. Nevertheless, the relationship between EMFs and biological effects seems to be most likely. Any international standards for safety limits have not as yet been established and regulations in this regard vary in different countries. However, occupational and residential exposure to EMF can be efficiently measured using an appropriate equipment and such measurements should become a standard procedure wherever electrosmog is suspected to be a pathogenic factor. PMID: 9501333, UI: 98161953

Gorbunova AV, Petrova NV, Portugalov VV, Sudakov SK (1981) [Acute experimental emotional stress in rabbits in a modulated EMF - Article in Russian]. Izv Akad Nauk SSSR [Biol] Sep;5:774-780. PMID: 7197697, UI: 82053833

Harland JD, Liburdy RP (1997) Environmental magnetic fields inhibit the antiproliferative action of tamoxifen and melatonin in a human breast cancer cell line. Bioelectromagnetics 18(8):555-562. Life Science Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, Univ of California at Berkeley 94720, USA. We reported earlier that environmental-level magnetic fields (1.2 uT [12 mGauss], 60 Hz) block the growth inhibition of the hormone melatonin (10(-9) M) on MCF-7 human breast cancer cells in vitro. We now report that the same 1.2 uT, 60 Hz magnetic fields significantly block the growth inhibitory action of pharmacological levels of tamoxifen (10(-7) M). In biophysical studies we have taken advantage of Faraday's Law of Current Induction and tested whether the 1.2 uT magnetic field or the associated induced electric field is responsible for this field effect on melatonin and tamoxifen. We see that the magnetic field component is associated with the field blocking effect on melatonin and tamoxifen function. To our knowledge the tamoxifen studies represent the first experimental evidence for an environmental-level magnetic field modification of drug interaction with human breast cancer cells. Together, these findings provide support to the theory that environmental-level magnetic fields can act to modify the action of a drug or hormone on regulation of cell proliferation. Melatonin and tamoxifen may act through different biological pathways to down-regulate cell growth, and further studies are required to identify a specific biological site of interaction for the 1.2 uT magnetic field. PMID: 9383244, UI: 98043592

Iasnetsov VV, Krylova IN, Popov VM (1996) [The nootropic correction of disorders in learning and memory processes induced by extreme exposures - Article in Russian]. Eksp Klin Farmakol May;59(3):20-23. Rat experiments showed that low-intensity EMF (12.6 cm, 2375 MHz, power density 1 mW/cm2), motion sickness, and electroconvulsive shock provoked retrograde amnesia in passive avoidance test. Oxyracetam (100 mg/kg, ip), aniracetam (50 mg/kg, ip), nooglutil (50 mg/kg, ip), meclofenoxate (50 mg/kg, ip), pyracetam (200 mg/kg, ip), and GABA (200 mg/kg, ip) prevented the memory-impairing effect of all these extreme factors. In contrast, N-acetylglycinamide, semax, and other nootropic drugs were effective only under one or two extreme conditions. PMID: 8974577, UI: 97006758

Liburdy RP, Sloma TR, Sokolic R, Yaswen P (1993) ELF magnetic fields, breast cancer, and melatonin: 60 Hz fields block melatonin's oncostatic action on ER+ breast cancer cell proliferation. J Pineal Res Mar;14(2):89-97. Dept of Cell and Molecular Biology, Life Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley Lab, UC Berkeley, CA 94720. In this study we investigated whether a 60 Hz magnetic field can act at the cellular level to influence the growth of human estrogen-dependent breast cancer cells. Our experimental design assessed cell proliferation of a human breast cancer cell line, MCF-7, in the absence or the presence of melatonin which inhibits growth at a physiological concentration of 10(-9) M. In 3 experiments, continuous exposure to average sinusoidal 60 Hz magnetic fields of 1.90+0.01, 2.40+0.70, and 2.53+0.50 mG, or simultaneous exposure in matched incubators to average 60 Hz magnetic fields of 10.4+2.12, 11.95+2.73, and 11.95+3.28 mG, respectively, had no effect on cell proliferation in the absence of melatonin. When MCF-7 cells were cultured in the presence of 10(-9) M melatonin, an 18% inhibition of growth was seen for cells in a 2.40+0.70 mG field. This effect was blocked by a 60 Hz magnetic field of 11.95+2.75 mG. In a second experiment, a 27% inhibition of MCF-7 cell growth was seen for cells in a 2.53+0.50 mG magnetic field, and this was blocked by a 60 Hz magnetic field of 11.95+3.28 mG. This is the first evidence that ELF frequency magnetic fields can act at the cellular levels to enhance breast cancer cell proliferation by blocking melatonin's natural oncostatic action. There also seems to be a dose threshold between 2 and 12 mG. The mechanism(s) of action is unknown and may involve modulation of signal transduction events associated with melatonin's regulation of cell growth. PMID: 8320637, UI: 93308620

Otto W, Hempel WE, Wagner CU, Best A (1982) [Various periodical and aperiodical variations of heart infarct mortality in the DRG - Article in German]. Z Gesamte Inn Med Nov 15;37(22):756-763. In a survey of 66900 cases of death from ischaemic heart disease increased geomagnetic field, and increased geomagnetic storms were positively and significantly related to death from ischaemic heart disease. PMID: 6892183, UI: 83251281

Pautrizel R, Mattern P, Priore A, Pautrizel AN, Capbern A, Baltz T (1978) [Importance of immunological mechanism in the curing of experimental trypanosomiasis by physical stimulation - Article in French]. C R Acad Sci Hebd Seances Acad Sci D May 22;286(20):1487-1490. Cure of Trypanosoma equiperdum infected mice after treatment with combined EM waves and a magnetic field is probably linked with the immune state of the host. A severe depression of the immune system suppresses the ability of the animals to eliminate the parasites after physical stimulation. PMID: 97013, UI: 78213347

Reiser H, Dimpfel W, Schober F (1995) The influence of EMFs on human brain activity. Eur J Med Res Oct 16;1(1):27-32. Pro Science Private Research Institute GmbH, Linden, Germany. Possible effects of EMFs on human brain activity were studied. In a single-blind, cross-over-designed and placebo-controlled study 36 volunteers were exposed firstly to an EMF originating form a MediLine "MEGA-WAVE 150/1" therapy instrument and secondly to a field originating from a mobile, digital telephone as used for wireless telecommunication. All volunteers also underwent a control experiment with no field exposure. Application of the MEGA-WAVE instrument caused an increase in EEG power in the frequency bands Alpha2, Beta1 and Beta2 during and after field exposure. Operation of the mobile telephone caused an increase in the same frequency bands with a delay of approximately 15 m after exposure. Publication Types: Clinical trial PMID: 9392690, UI: 98055843

Stix G (1990) Field effects: A health worry for electric blanket makers. Sci Am Dec;263(6):122-123. PMID: 2270457, UI: 91102512

Syromiatnikov IuP, Kolesnikova AV, Roshchin VA (1990) [Occupational health issues in the technologic application of direct magnetic fields in the production of transistors - Article in Russian]. Gig Tr Prof Zabol 4:8-11. During the working shift, female transistor equipment assemblers were affected by periodic multiple short-term impulses of direct magnetic field (DMF) which was locally confined to the hand (with the field tension 35 kA/m at the finger-tips and 15 kA/m at the wrist). Local prenosologic manifestations were found in females of up to 35 yr with 1-10 yr of length of work, which proved blood circulation vegetative disorders in upper extremities (arteriole-capillary vasoneurosis). A study of morbidity with temporary disability was made (at 100 cases/yr ratio), which showed markedly higher morbidity rate as compared to the sample group. The difference in morbidity rate between these two groups was accounted for by hypertensive vegetovascular disorders and 1-2 stages of HD. The data received necessitates the earliest norming of localized (limited to the hand) direct magnetic field influence. PMID: 2165462, UI: 90330191