Non-thermal effects of EMF upon the mammalian brain: The Lund experience

Leif G. Salford, Henrietta Nittby, Arne Brun, Gustav Grafström, Jacob L. Eberhardt, Lars Malmgren, Bertil R.R. Persson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (SciVal)


The environment in which biology exists has dramatically changed during the last decades. Life was formed during billions of years, exposed to, and shaped by the original physical forces such as gravitation, cosmic irradiation and the terrestrial magnetism. The existing organisms are created to function in harmony with these forces. However, in the late 19th century mankind introduced the use of electricity and during the very last decades, microwaves of the modern communication society spread around the world. Today one third of the world's population is owner of the microwave-producing mobile phones. The question is: to what extent are living organisms affected by these ubiquitous radio frequency fields? Since 1988 our group has studied the effects upon the mammalian blood-brain barrier (BBB) by non-thermal radio frequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF). These have been revealed to cause significantly increased leakage of albumin through the BBB of exposed rats as compared to non-exposed animals-in a total series of about two thousand animals. One remarkable observation is the fact that the lowest energy levels give rise to the most pronounced albumin leakage. If mobile communication, even at extremely low energy levels, causes the users' own albumin to leak out through the BBB, also other unwanted and toxic molecules in the blood, may leak into the brain tissue and concentrate in and damage the neurons and glial cells of the brain. In later studies we have shown that a 2-h exposure to GSM 915 MHz at non-thermal levels, gives rise to significant neuronal damage, seen 28 and 50 days after the exposure. In our continued research, the non-thermal effects (histology, memory functions) of long-term exposure for 13 months are studied as well as the effects of short term GSM 1,800 MHz upon gene expression. Most of our findings support that living organisms are affected by the non-thermal radio frequency fields. Studies from other laboratories in some cases find effects, while in other cases effects are not seen. Our conclusion is that all researchers involved in this field have the obligation to intensify this research in order to reduce, or avoid, the possible negative effects of the man made microwaves!

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)493-500
Number of pages8
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2007 Dec 1


  • Albumin
  • Blood-brain barrier
  • Mobile phones
  • Neurons
  • Radio frequency Electromagnetic fields
  • Rats


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