Mobile phone emission increases inter-hemispheric functional coupling of electroencephalographic alpha rhythms in epileptic patients

Fabrizio Vecchio, Mario Tombini, Paola Buffo, Giovanni Assenza, Giovanni Pellegrino, Antonella Benvenga, Claudio Babiloni, Paolo Maria Rossini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

It has been reported that GSM electromagnetic fields (GSM-EMFs) of mobile phones modulate - after a prolonged exposure - inter-hemispheric synchronization of temporal and frontal resting electroencephalographic (EEG) rhythms in normal young and elderly subjects (Vecchio et al., 2007, 2010). Here we tested the hypothesis that this can be even more evident in epileptic patients, who typically suffer from abnormal mechanisms governing synchronization of rhythmic firing of cortical neurons. Eyes-closed resting EEG data were recorded in ten patients affected by focal epilepsy in real and sham exposure conditions. These data were compared with those obtained from 15 age-matched normal subjects of the previous reference studies. The GSM device was turned on (45. min) in the "GSM" condition and was turned off (45. min) in the other condition ("sham"). The mobile phone was always positioned on the left side in both patients and control subjects. Spectral coherence evaluated the inter-hemispheric synchronization of EEG rhythms at the following frequency bands: delta (about 2-4. Hz), theta (about 4-6. Hz), alpha1 (about 6-8. Hz), alpha2 (about 8-10. Hz), and alpha3 (about 10-12. Hz). The effects on the patients were investigated comparing the inter-hemispheric EEG coherence in the epileptic patients with the control group of subjects evaluated in the previous reference studies. Compared with the control subjects, epileptic patients showed a statistically significant higher inter-hemispheric coherence of temporal and frontal alpha rhythms (about 8-12. Hz) in the GSM than "Sham" condition. These results suggest that GSM-EMFs of mobile phone may affect inter-hemispheric synchronization of the dominant (alpha) EEG rhythms in epileptic patients. If confirmed by future studies on a larger group of epilepsy patients, the modulation of the inter-hemispheric alpha coherence due to the GSM-EMFs could have clinical implications and be related to changes in cognitive-motor function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)164-171
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Psychophysiology
Volume84
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2012

Keywords

  • EEG alpha rhythms
  • Epilepsy
  • Functional coupling
  • Mobile phone emission
  • Spectral coherence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology

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