David Ironside 18/9/14


One of the most compelling modern scientific debates concerns the potential health risks
from our ever increasing exposure to the pulsed radiofrequency electromagnetic fields
(RF-EMF) from cell phones, cordless phones, Wifi, cell towers etc. This invisible
technology has been classified a Class 2B Carcinogen by the WHO’s International Agency
for Research in Cancer (IARC) in 2011.

The non-thermal radiation used by modern devices was found to be biologically active and a
possible cancer-causing agent. There remain many questions such as the mechanism for how
this radiation interacts with biological processes and what exposure level constitutes a health

For many people around the world who suffer from electrohypersensitivity, exposure levels
and duration of exposure can be very limited before a variety of symptoms manifest. These
include headaches, lethargy, dizziness, lack of concentration, pain, insomnia, depression and

- In Sweden electrohypersensitivity is an officially fully recognized functional impairment
with an estimated 2.6 -3.2% of the population suffering from it.
-In Austria an estimated 3.5% of the population.
-In California the prevalence of self-reported sensitivity was 3.2%.

With similar figures in other countries, there is a significant number of the population that
has adverse physical reactions to even small amounts of exposure to low intensity
radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF). The question of how some people could
have such an adverse reaction to these fields is the subject of this paper.

Olle Johansson PhD and Mary Redmayne PhD hypothesise that these fields may have a
serious impact on the myelin which surrounds nerves.

The human nervous system works by generating electrical signals and chemicals. But, as
with household wiring, the human electrical system needs insulating. This fatty insulation is
called myelin. Its importance lies in the fact that it allows the nervous system to send
messages within the brain and around the body quickly. It develops as a spiral wrap around
nerves, growing thicker and more effective with age. If there is a deterioration or
demyelination around the nerves a variety of symptoms are experienced. Many of which are
very similar to those suffered by persons with the functional impairment

This review examines whether there may be a connection between symptoms reported after
exposure to RF-EMF (chronic and acute non-thermal exposure) and compromised myelin
integrity. Is there any evidence to suggest it, and is the hypothesis reasonable? These are
important questions because lack of myelin is critical in many diseases, including multiple
sclerosis (MS).

Johansson and Redmayne firstly review the normal course of myelin’s development over the
life span. They then review animal studies examining effects of RF-EMF on myelin
sheathing, and epidemiological research examining multiple sclerosis with relation to RF-
EMF exposure. A comparison of reported electrohypersensitivity symptoms and those of
demyelination follow, along with a discussion and conclusions.

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Link to paper