Electromagnetic field and Epilepsy

www.csif-cem.org le 04/06/2003

Reminder (extracts WHO N°165 revised in 2001) :

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder of which the crises are the result of electric sudden excessive disposals, generally brief, in a group of cerebral cells (neurones). These electric disposals can take place in different parties of the brain. The demonstrations clinics of the crises are therefore variable and depend on location and function of the cerebral touched cells.
Epilepsy is often but not always the result of an other cerebral disease. In the cases where we cannot identify the origin the theory the most widely accepted at the present time is than it is the result of an imbalance between chemical substances in the brain, in particular the chemical messengers known under the name of neurotransmitters.
Until 5% habitants of the globe will have maybe a crisis in their life.
Epilepsy can have physical and psychological consequences engrave, of which the dead subite, traumatisms or disturbances of the mood.
One knows that there exist the factors releasing with certain patients, for example certain effects of scintillement (music libraries, television, etc.), the hyperpnée, the hyperhydratation, the sleep lack, stress it emotional or physical. It is important to note that these factors are not the causes of epilepsy, but that they have an influence on the moment where produce themselves the crises.

Electromagnetic fields (EMF) and epilepsy.

In the causes :
It cannot be question in the state of the current scientific knowledge to imply the CEM in the causes of very epilepsy if the question remains unresolved for the cases where of the disruptions of the neurotransmitters are evoked as the can do the CEM (to see for example the chapter on the acetylcholine).

In the triggering of the crises of the studies (5,6) showed since a long time influences it magnetic fields on epilepsy and recent studies specified these data :
Etudes on the animal: Beason and al (1) showed the increase of the excitement rate of neurones aviaires in response to a signal GSM to a SAR of 0,05 w/kg (peak of 0,1 mW/cm2)
Action rediscovered equally by Zhang and coll. (29) with the rat or by Tattersall and coll. (30) or by Sidorenko and coll. (2) that characterized this activity action like epilepsy
Marino and coll (26) showed these modifications of the electric activity with the rabbit.

Action on man:
The studies having showed modifications at the level of the eeg, therefore cerebral electric activity, with the man are very numerous (7 to 25), the minimum level of exposition having showed an effect of 1,9 v/m (7) be widely under the exposition doses generated by the telephones and on the order of the one received by the riverside ones of base station. The effects on attained persons of epilepsy were equally shown (27) as well as the significant increase of the epilepsy risk with company workers of electricity (28).

Action at the level of the electric synapse (Gap junction) and modifications of the intercellular communications (3) explained by certain (4) by an internalisation of the proteines of the synapse and or by modification of the calcium intracellular level. Some authors do equally to intervene the modifications at the level of the neurotransmitters.

Conclusion :

If the comprehension of the origin of epilepsy necessitates again researches, the reasons relating to the triggering of the crises or to the favorisation of these are a lot more clear ones and the CEM, that this be in very low frequencies as the one of the electricity or in radiofrequencies such the one of the mobile communication are shown as able to release epilepsy crises.


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(3) Shcheglov VS, Alipov ED, Belyaev IY. Cell-to-cell communication in response of E. coli cells at different phases of growth to low-intensity microwaves. Biochim Biophys Acta 2002 Aug 15;1572(1):101-6
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(10) Wagner et coll. Human sleep EEG under the influence of pulsed radio frequency electromagnetic fields. Results from polysomnographies using submaximal high power flux densities. Neuropsychobiology 2000;42(4):207-12
(11) Eulitz et coll. Mobile phones modulate response patterns of human brain activity. Neuroreport 1998 Oct 5;9(14):3229-32
(13) Borberly et coll. Pulsed high-frequency electromagnetic field affects human sleep and sleep electroencephalogram. Neurosci Lett 1999 Nov 19;275(3):207-10
(14) Huber et coll. Exposure to pulsed high-frequency electromagnetic field during waking affects human sleep EEG. Neuroreport (2000) 11:3321-3325
(15) Huber et coll. Electromagnetic fields, such as those from mobil phones, alter regional blood flow and sleep and waking EEG. J. Sleep Res. (2002) 11,289-295.
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(19) Freude et coll. Microwaves Emitted by Cellular Telephones Affect Human Slow Brain Potentials. Eur J Allp Physiol (2000) 81:18-27
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(21) Lebedeva et coll. Investigation of brain potentials in sleeping humans exposed to the electromagnetic field of mobile phones. Crit Rev Biomed Eng 2001;29(1):125-33
(22) Jech et coll. Electromagnetic Field of Mobile Phones Affects Visual Event Related Potential in Patients with Narcolepsy. Bioelectromagnetics (2001) 22:519-528.
(23) Hinrikus et coll. Modulated Microwave Effects on EEG. EBEA 2001 meeting.
(24) Hinrikus et coll. Comparison of Photic and Microwave Stimulation Effects on EEG. Biological Effects of EMFs meeting (2002) Rhodes, Greece.
(25) Croft et coll. Acute mobile phone operation affects neural function in humans. Clinical Neurophysiology (2002) 113:1623-1632.
(26) Marino et coll. Consistent magnetic-field induced dynamical changes in rabbit brain activity detected by recurrence quantification analysis( small star, filled ). Brain Res 2003 Feb 28;964(2):317-26
(27) Dobson et coll. Changes in paroxysmal Brainwave patterns of epileptics by weak-field magnetic stimulation. Bioelectromagnetics 21:94-99 (2000).
(28) C. Johansen. Exposure to electromagnetic fields and risk of central nervous system disease in utility workers. Epidemiology. 2000. 11 : 539-543
(29) Zhang et coll. Extremely low frequency magnetic fields promote neurite varicosity formation and cell excitability in cultured rat chromaffin cells. Comp Biochem Physiol C Pharmacol Toxicol Endocrinol 1997 Nov;118(3):295-9

(30) Tattersall et coll. Effects of low intensity radiofrequency electromagnetic fields on electrical activity in rat hippocampal slices. Brain Research, 2001, 904: 43-53.