Electromagnetic fields and EEG spiking rate in patients with focal epilepsy

Giuseppe Curcio, Edoardo Mazzucchi, Giacomo Della Marca, Catello Vollono, Paolo Maria Rossini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objective: Despite the increase in mobile telephone technology use and possible effects on brain excitability, no studies have investigated the impact of GSM like (Global System for Mobile Communications) signal on the ongoing spiking activity in human epileptic patients. Methods: Brain electrical (electroencephalogram, EEG) activity of 12 patients with focal epilepsy has been recorded under both Real and Sham exposure following a double-blind, crossover, counterbalanced design: before the exposure (pre-exposure/baseline session), during the Real or Sham 45. min exposure (during-exposure session), and after the exposure (post-exposure session). As dependent variables both spiking activity (spikes count) and EEG quantitative indices (spectral power and coherence data) have been considered. Results: Spiking activity tended to be lower under Real than under Sham exposure. EEG spectral content analysis indicated a significant increase of Gamma band under Real exposure, mainly evident in Parieto-occipital and Temporal areas. Connectivity data indicated increased interhemispheric (left temporal to right frontal Regions of Interest, ROIs) instantaneous coherence, in the Beta frequency band during-exposure with respect to baseline session. No significant modification of lagged coherence was observed. Conclusions: Acute GSM exposure in epileptic patients slightly influences their EEG properties, without reaching any clinical relevance. Significance: No signs were found of an increased risk of incoming seizures for these patients as a consequence of using mobile phones.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)659-666
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Neurophysiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2015


  • EEG
  • Epilepsy
  • Health effects
  • Mobile phones
  • Radiofrequency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Sensory Systems
  • Medicine(all)

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