For years I have heard anecdotal stories about some people who sensed electromagnetic fields and were bothered by them. Many considered such stories a little woo-woo....but now comes this study on rats that was based on people with nerve injuries, who have weird sensations and pain from electromagnetic fields of power lines, cell towers, and cell phones on roam. The nerve injured rats had pain from electromagnetic fields similar to what people with nerve-injuries (such as post amputation) report. From Science Daily:
For years, retired Maj. David Underwood has noticed that whenever he drove under power lines and around other electromagnetic fields, he would feel a buzz in what remained of his arm. When traveling by car through Texas' open spaces, the buzz often became more powerful. "When roaming on a cellphone in the car kicked in, the pain almost felt like having my arm blown off again," said Underwood, an Iraq War veteran who was injured by an improvised explosive device (IED). His injuries have resulted in 35 surgeries and the amputation of his left arm.... "I didn't notice the power lines, cellphones on roam or other electromagnetic fields until I first felt them in my arm."
Until a recent study led by researchers at The University of Texas at Dallas was published online last month in PLOS ONE, there was no scientific evidence to back up the anecdotal stories of people, such as Underwood, who reported aberrant sensations and neuropathic pain around cellphone towers and other technology that produce radio-frequency electromagnetic fields.
"Our study provides evidence, for the first time, that subjects exposed to cellphone towers at low, regular levels can actually perceive pain," said Dr. Mario Romero-Ortega, senior author of the study and an associate professor of bioengineering in the University's Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science. "Our study also points to a specific nerve pathway that may contribute to our main finding."
This is one of the first studies to look at the effects of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) in a nerve-injury model, said Romero-Ortega....There are nearly 2 million amputees in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and many suffer from chronic pain. After interacting with Underwood, Romero-Ortega decided to study the phenomena that Underwood described.
The team hypothesized that the formation of neuromas -- inflamed peripheral nerve bundles that often form due to injury -- created an environment that may be sensitive to EMF-tissue interactions. To test this, the team randomly assigned 20 rats into two groups -- one receiving a nerve injury that simulated amputation, and the other group receiving a sham treatment. Researchers then exposed the subjects to a radiofrequency electromagnetic antenna for 10 minutes, once per week for eight weeks. The antenna delivered a power density equal to that measured at 39 meters from a local cellphone tower -- a power density that a person might encounter outside of occupational settings.
Researchers found that by the fourth week, 88 percent of subjects in the nerve-injured group demonstrated a behavioral pain response, while only one subject in the sham group exhibited pain at a single time point, and that was during the first week. After growth of neuroma and resection -- the typical treatment in humans with neuromas who are experiencing pain -- the pain responses persisted.
"Many believe that a neuroma has to be present in order to evoke pain. Our model found that electromagnetic fields evoked pain that is perceived before neuroma formation; subjects felt pain almost immediately," Romero-Ortega said....Romero-Ortega said since the research produced pain responses similar to those in anecdotal reports and a specific human case, the results "are very likely" generalizable to humans.
"There are commercially available products to block radio frequency electromagnetic energy. There are people who live in caves because they report to be hypersensitive to radiomagnetism, yet the rest of the world uses cellphones and does not have a problem. The polarization may allow people to disregard the complaints of the few as psychosomatic," he said. "In our study, the subjects with nerve injury were not capable of complex psychosomatic behavior. Their pain was a direct response to human-made radiofrequency electromagnetic energy."
At one point in the study, members of the research group showed Underwood video of subjects in the experiment and their response to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields. "It was exactly the same type of movements I would have around cellphones on roam, power lines and other electromagnetic fields," said Underwood, who has served on congressional medical committees and been exposed to some of the best doctors in the world.