Idiopathic environmental intolerance attributed to electromagnetic fields physiological and psychological aspects

Detta är en avhandling från Umeå : Yrkes- och miljömedicin

Sammanfattning: This thesis aims to increase the knowledge on people with symptoms attributed to electromagnetic fields (EMF) by investigating the effects of EMF exposure and by additional description of the heterogeneous group of people reporting EMF-related symptoms.The effect of mobile phone (MP)-like radio frequency (RF) fields on symptoms, autonomic nervous system (ANS) parameters, short-term memory, and reaction time in persons with MP-related symptoms (MP participants) was investigated in a provocation study. A second provocation study investigated the effect of similar exposure on serum concentration of biomarkers in persons with atopic dermatitis.No effect of exposure was detected in either study. MP participants displayed changes in heart rate variability (HRV) during cognitive tests, but not during rest. This contrasts with earlier findings, participants with symptoms attributed to EMF sources in general (EHS participants) displayed an elevated sympathetic nervous system activity both during cognitive tests and during rest.Proposed differences between subgroups of persons with EMF-related symptoms with respect to symptoms, personality traits and stress were investigated in a questionnaire study. MP participants reported primarily symptoms from the head; EHS participants reported symptoms from many organ systems. Furthermore, EHS participants reported higher levels of anxiety, depression, stress, and exhaustion when compared with a reference group. MP participants reported higher levels of anxiety and exhaustion only.In a pilot study, 24-hour and short-term HRV were investigated in EHS participants, to examine whether the previously observed sympathovagal imbalance would still be present. There was a tendency toward increased parasympathetic activity compared with earlier recordings, and a reduction of symptoms. Twenty-four hour and short-term recordings were fairly similar for each participant; however, there were large between-subject differences.The results do not support the hypothesis of effects of MP-like RF exposure on symptoms, ANS activity, CFFT, cognitive function, or biomarkers. However, they do support the hypothesis that persons with different symptom attribution (MP and EHS) may differ also in ANS activity and psychological aspects.